Last year, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 242, which directed highway officials to study the possibility of raising the speed limits on the state’s primary highway network, about 6,300 miles worth of roads. Specifically, the proposal was to consider increasing speed limits on rural two-lane highways (which amount to 5,300 miles, roughly) to 65 mpg.
Last week, the Arkansas Highway Commission released their findings, which point to such an increase being unwise.
Officials from the Arkansas highway department estimated that the proposed increase in speed limits would result in a 28% increase in traffic fatalities something in direct opposition to the Highway Department’s work to reduce the number of such fatalities 14% by 2010.
addition, highway officials referred to experiments done by the federal Department of Energy, which showed that fuel efficiency gets worse when drivers speed up to the tune of 7% per each 5mph over 60 miles an hour.
Currently in Arkansas, there are 754 miles of interstate highways and freeways with speed limits for cars ranging from 60 mph in urban areas, to 65 in suburban areas to 70mph in rural areas, while trucks have speed limits of 65 mph in rural areas. As well the state has 284 miles of rural, multilane, divided non-interstate highways with current speed limits of 65 mph.