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Ohio bill seeks new freeway speed limit, rule change for left lane

Will raising the speed limit on the Ohio Turnpike and all other portions of the state’s interstate freeways reduce the rate of truck accidents and car crashes or increase them?

That clearly depends on who you ask.

“Where I’m from, it’s 75 on the interstate,” says a Kentucky driver who is regularly on Ohio roads. “I feel it’s pretty safe.”

An Ohio resident interviewed for a story on potential changes to state traffic laws countered that, “When you give it 70, people are going to be going 75 or 80.” His stated view: “That’s going to be kind of dangerous, I think.”

The discussion has picked up recently, given Ohio House Bill 395, which seeks two changes to Ohio law: an increase of the speed limit on all interstates to 70 miles per hour for all vehicles, coupled with a bar on motorists using the extreme left lane at all except when passing or exiting.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon). It had its first hearing earlier this week. The prospective legislation has a long way to go to be enacted as law, needing first to pass a floor vote in the Ohio House of Representatives following its survival out of committee. None of that is guaranteed.

The bill calls for a ticket to be issued to any driver who simply occupies the leftmost lane without an intent to either pass another vehicle or exit the freeway.

It would apply to all vehicles, providing for “70 miles per hour at all times on all portions of freeways that are part of the interstate system.”

Source: NBC, “Stop-hogging-the-passing-lane bill gets first hearing” Marshall McPeek, Jan. 31, 2012