Republican Lawmaker Proposes Increasing Speed Limit To 70 MPH


A day after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law raising the state’s speed limit, Rep. Paul Tittl, R-Manitowac, has proposed doing the same thing here.

Once Illlinois’ law takes effect, all of Wisconsin’s neighbors will have speed limits of 70 miles per hour. Tittl says it’s time for Wisconsin to join them. He says his bill will help the economy and help commuters: “It’s allowing the people that are working to get home faster to spend more time with their families.”

Tittl says he recently drove exactly 65 on the Interstate to see what would happen. “And I was the absolute slowest person on the road,” he says. “I did not pass anyone. And there was hundreds of people that went past me.”

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Thirty-seven states have approved speed limits of 70 miles per hour or faster since the national speed limit was repealed in the mid-’90s. It’s happened over the objections of the insurance industry.

“There’s no question that this is politically popular, but there is always a safety tradeoff,” says Russ Rader, the spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a group funded entirely by automobile insurance companies.

Rader says today’s vehicles are safer than ever, but “that hasn’t abolished the laws of physics.”

“When you have higher speeds, it increases the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver detects an emergency until he or she can react,” says Rader. “It increases stopping distance, and it increases crash energy exponentially.”

Tittl says he expects bipartisan support for his bill in the legislature, and while he has the backing of Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told the Associated Press that “there are no plans to tackle the speed limit proposal any time soon.”

It’s unclear where Gov. Scott Walker stands on the issue. Walker’s office says the governor will evaluate the bill “if and when it gets to his desk.”

Check out an interactive map of speed limits across the country here.