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Maryland Autobahn? House Votes to Increase Speed Limits on Interstates

Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow speed limits on interstate to increase to 70 mph.

Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow speed limits on interstate to increase to 70 mph. File|Patch
Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow speed limits on interstate to increase to 70 mph. File|Patch

Drivers could step on the gas just a bit under a bill approved by the Maryland House that would raise the speed limit on expressways and Interstate highways from 65 to 70 mph.

The bill unanimously passed in the Maryland House, and now goes to the Senate, reports The Baltimore Sun. The change would apply to parts of the federal interstate highway system and limited-access highways such as the Intercounty Connector.

It’s not a done deal that the bill will win passage.

Last year, a bill unanimously passed the House last year that would have allowed a 70 mile per hour speed limit on Maryland interstates, says the Carroll County Times. However, the bill never got a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings, which is the next stop for this year’s bill.

Currently, 38 states have speed limits of 70 miles per hour on some portion of their roadway systems, the Times says.

The Maryland Department of Transportation says that speed limits have little effect on how fast most people drive. So it suggests limits at or below the speed at which 85 percent of motorists drive on any given road.

Pete Grosso February 22, 2014 at 08:10 AM
I couldn't agree more about raising the limit especially on the ICC. I don't take it often, but when I do, there's usually a toll cop every few camera/toll sites and even 60 is a joke on that road. As far as camping out in the left lane, nothing is more irritation than to get stuck behind some minivan cruising at 50 in the lady lane. Half the reason the 2 lane highways like the B/W Parkway are always bumper to bumper. The right lane usually moves at a snails pace while the left is for Nascar drivers, one of the problems our 2 lane highways have. It's so nice south of here, set the cruise at 75, stay in the middle lane, gas mileage isn't any worse, so long as you keep a constant pace and you make good time.
mngordo February 22, 2014 at 09:45 AM
The speed limit in and around Baltimore is not the problem; for some strange reason a vast majority of Baltimore's drivers never had much interest in learning how to drive, nor do they know how to concentrate on their driving when operating a motor vehicle, nor even being concerned about driving with some measure of skill. We are new to the Baltimore area (a very nice place to live), but driving here is a terrifying experience. My overall criticism is that too many Baltimore drivers think that the car drives itself...so they talk on the phone, text, eat, watch their GPS, comb hair, and generally pay little attention to driving. I won't comment on their decision-making while driving but suffice it to say they haven't a clue. Such inattention on the road, any road, at any speed, is a prescription for disaster and disaster occurs all too frequently here. Just check the number of marks on the concrete dividers on the interstates. I'd guess that the auto body repair business is one of Baltimore's largest industries. 'Nuff said.
John Smith February 22, 2014 at 09:51 AM
We need a Interstate Highway to Ocean City so I can get there faster.
Kat February 22, 2014 at 09:58 AM
I'm from Germany, and driving here drives me crazy (excuse the pun!) - not only are the speed limits ridiculous, but like other people said, it's the other drivers that are such a nuisance!! Nobody seems to know that there are indicators to let other drivers know when you are planning to change lanes, people don't understand the concept of driving fast in the left lane and slow in the right, they don't plan ahead and make lane changes at the last second without any consideration for anyone else etc. Don't even get me started!!! That along with the deplorable state of the roads - I feel like I'm in a third-world country half the time! - makes driving in this country a very unpleasant experience. I'm sure it's not all coming up roses in Germany (actually, most Autobahns do have speed limits these days, at least in parts), but at least people know how to drive. Probably also because you have to go through a long training process in order to obtain a license, unlike here.
John Gochnauer February 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM
Come on, the speed limit on I-83 N is 65 (north of Warren Road) now and drivers are going 70+. What's it going to be if they increase the limit to 70: 80? 85? There's enough crashes now (with people trapped ). How many are going to be killed or maimed with the limit at 70? How much leeway is the MSP going to give drivers?
Pam Hamburg February 22, 2014 at 10:13 AM
Raise it to 70 mph. Start ticketing slow drivers who deliberately hog the left lane. I've been behind them. They have plenty of chances to move over, but they don't. I always try to hang out in the middle lane if there is one. I always move over as soon as it's safe to do so if someone comes up on me. Another pet peeve of mine is two big rigs having a 'drag race' and hogging both lanes.
Captain Cook February 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM
The MD State Police - not all but most - are so stupid. They arrest bikers who record their inept work, the pull over CT resdients and ticket them for not having a MD sticker (on CT plates) NEVER enforce the speed or other infractions etc. They can't think independently and hate lawful gun owners. The could learn from the NYSP, CT SP and even Ohio.
Pam Hamburg February 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM
Agree 110% Cap'n! I'm a rider also.
Eastsider February 22, 2014 at 11:06 AM
On the conversation of the ICC why do they even need officers to patrol for speeding. All they need to do is check the time you enter and exit the ICC through EPASS and calculate your speed and mail you a speeding ticket.
Mark February 22, 2014 at 11:10 AM
Roads in Maryland are in the worst condition. I recently returned from a trip down North Carolina and everyone in the left lane also known as the fast/passing lane would get over immediately when they saw someone coming...however on Maryland no one will get over even if you tail them for miles(idiots) no one will use their blinker (even dumber) Maryland is among the worst drivers anywhere.
Mark February 22, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Here is how drivers in Maryland operate: 1. Under no circumstances should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, or the space will be filled in by somebody else putting you in an even more dangerous situation. 2. Turn signals will give away your next move. 3. Crossing two or more lanes in a single lane-change is considered going with the flow. 4. Speed limits are arbitrary figures, given only as suggestions. 5. Parallel parking must be accomplished in under 1.5 seconds, even if you are parking a full size truck in a space the size of a Prius. 6. Chance encounters with idiots are usually best ended a “you’re Number 1” sign. Very similar to getting the last word in. AND ALWAYS FOLLOW RULE #7: 7. Never get in the way of an older car that needs extensive bodywork.
Kyle Dinardi February 22, 2014 at 11:26 AM
I just hope they increase the speed limits on 495 and 270. 55 mph is ridiculous for such a huge road.
Chuck Burton February 22, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Professional politicians buy votes by making laws and regulations that please certain members of their constituencies. The more laws and regulations we have, the more likely it is that people will disobey them, whether inadvertently or deliberately, especially if they sometimes conflict with one another, or seem to. This breeds a certain disrespect for law in general. It also requires more police to attempt to enforce the plethora of laws. Many of these officers are working the easy to see minor violations, while letting more major violations pass. Put the blame where it really lies, on professional politicians doing whatever they think is necessary to gain or keep their positions at the public teat.
Sir February 22, 2014 at 11:47 AM
There should be no speed limit on interstates. Police should ticket on reckless driving.
Michael Ernest February 22, 2014 at 12:04 PM
A few times a year I travel to Ohio and use I-70 and I-68 in MD and the level of traffic should not be a problem for raising the speed limit in remote areas. WV and now Ohio have 70 mph interstate highways and it would be hoped that PA follows suit. That extra 5 mph would reduce the time it takes for such a 500 mile trip. I already observed shorter drive time with the higher Ohio speed limit on I-70 and I-79. The current speed limits are already reduced when the interstates go through cities and towns like Cumberland. I generally fine that MD already exhibits the most speed limit enforcement of any of the 3 other states I pass through.
John Gochnauer February 22, 2014 at 12:13 PM
If you people think only about TIME, check out the PI's, PI Rescues that occur WEEKLY on I-83 between I-695 and Timoniun Rd. and around Belfast Road. Think about the TIME spent in BACKUPS because of these accidents. Both the fire stations at Texas and Lutherville would have a reduced call volumn if both MD AND PA drivers were more alert. Time is only one factor, think about your well being.
Michael Ernest February 22, 2014 at 12:18 PM
The argument concerning the 1970's lowering of speed limits to cut petroleum usage is not valid now as more fuel efficient vehicles are being manufactured and the vehicles are generally more aerodynamic contributing to better performance. Furthermore, I do not think that fuel consumption would be that much different between 65 and 70 mph limits. There is always going to be cell phone using ignoring the law, as well as other distractions-what does that have to do with increasing the speed limit from 65 to 70?
Martin Layman February 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM
They need to spend some of the lottery or casino money to fix the roads before they raise the speed limits. Maryland drivers don't drive now like they have any common sense, they do seventy at the least already. Maryland drivers came in second to DC as the worst drivers in the US. Is raising the speed limit an answer? No the answer is widening the roads so they can accommodate the flow of traffic and better road design, properly banked turns, you are just going to kill more people if you raise the speed limit. I may be wrong but at 65 people already go 75 so at 40 they will got 80+. The roads and driving skills are the problem. Youth goes fast and elderly go slow for the most part. Better roads then raise the speed limits. Classes for those who do not maintain a safe following distance. Ticket those who go too slow as well as those that go too fast. IQ Test wight he driving test wouldn't hurt either. And by the way stop taxing the life out of us !!!
Mike February 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM
While John G's point (about considering overall well being an overall time spent on the road) is true, his post reveals an implicit problem with the thinking of many: that slower=safer. Sillier still is the thinking that disregards the overall optimization problem, ironic given John's other points about the big picture. Failing to consider the overall, why not cut speed to 5 mph? Boneheads would then clamor for 4 mph, to make it safer. Further still, the problem is not speed, the problem is lousy driving and the laws and institutions and culture that fail to enforce better driving. Speed-based enforcement is mind-numbingly easy and generates plenty of fines. Enforcing good driving is more work and generates fewer fines. Not hard to see what the real goals are, and why we have what we do.
Blvd Bruce February 22, 2014 at 03:49 PM
It's about time they raise the limit. Just my opinion.
Steven Spiegel February 22, 2014 at 04:52 PM
I believe that half the drivers in MD should be called in to be retested . I drive about 60 in a 50mph zone and 75 to 80mph in the 65 mph limits . The Main problem I find in this State is that most people have no Idea what the hell the far left lane is for . I believe that television commercials need to be made to explain to people to pass and then get the hell out of the fast lane . Believe it or not a lot of our back ups would be a thing of the past if only people would do that and also learn not to bottle neck . I also believe MD Drivers are some of the worst in the country. They just don't give courtesy to other drivers .
Dennis Gilpin February 22, 2014 at 08:10 PM
I agree with all who say there is a real problem with people not moving over. For some reason they are obvious to the backup they are causing, These people should be ticketed once and after the second offense made to go to a driving school , conducted by the state police. If the speed is increased. it will probably lead to more fatal accidents as " I am sure," there will be many pushing it to 80 plus. I am also convinced there will still be idiots texting and driving at these speeds and following too close. The beltways are backed up because people do not know how to merge and that reasoning is backed up by all the accidents at the off ramps. They are building more housing developments but the roads are not being built to handle it.
VisciousInMD February 22, 2014 at 09:05 PM
What everyone complaining about slow drivers in the left passing lane is failing to understand, is that currently, it's perfectly legal to be such an idiot. Check the map: http://jalopnik.com/5501615/left+lane-passing-laws-a-state+by+state-map Maryland, you see, for all of its smugness, is probably the worst state in the union when it comes to this sort of thing. We need the legislators in Annapolis to fix this first. Then we should have a public education program and retestingn when people get their licenses renewed as well as PSAs on TV and radio...
VisciousInMD February 22, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Brook, please cut it out with your false assertions. I drive on the autobahns of Germany every summer, especially between Frankfurt and Munich. They DO NOT have more enforcement and patrolling that we do. Quite the contrary. What they DO have is less volume, more driver discipline regarding staying out of the passing lane, and consistent of speeds. Hardly ever see fuddy-duddies that drive 50 in the left lane while everyone else is trying to get by... To those that think 70 is too fast, please, take a bus or call a cab or something...
Robin L. Brodkin February 23, 2014 at 06:32 AM
Right now people drive 70-80 with a 65 MPH. Make it 70 & they'll drive 80-90. This does include the gas saved and lives that'll be lost with the increased speed limit. Leave well enough alone!!
skip hall February 23, 2014 at 09:46 AM
Having lived in Texas until recently, I can say that a higher speed limit is long overdue in Maryland. From central Texas to San Antonio the speed limit is 85mph, accidents are almost unheard of on that route, people tend to pay more attention to what they are doing at that speed and the stats prove it.IT would be nice to see Maryland go back to the pre gas crises speed limits
Buck Harmon February 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Solutions are very rare, that's the reason that the cycle of playing with speed limits will continue...no big deal either way..
Chuck Burton February 23, 2014 at 10:32 AM
When legislators consider distracted driving accidents caused by texting, etc., they should also consider those caused by people fiddling with GPS, and such. There is a law against video screens in the driver's view, but informational screens, common on most modern cars, get a pass. Yet these can be a distraction, too, and often require fiddling with buttons, etc. to operate. We badly need the vehicles that drive themselves automatically to our destinations while we sit back, look at the scenery and get fat on munchies.
Steven Spiegel February 23, 2014 at 06:02 PM
I also drove on the Autobahn at age 18 when I drove a 5 ton wreaker and I drove there for 3 years . I didn't see but 2 or 3 accidents the whole time I was there and I see that on any given day here . I think education is more important . If we educate the American Citizens like they did the Germans we could have what they have HWY's with no speed limit . I believe they should have public awareness commercials to educate the masses on proper driving educate.
Blvd Bruce February 23, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Your right. I still see too many people texting and talking on the phone. As far as I know, this law is not, nor ever will be enforced. And I see too many clueless drivers doing stupid stuff.

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