NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Conversations set to continue today regarding new legislation that could raise the speed limit in Tennessee.
Lawmakers will hear arguments on raising the speed limit on some roadways from 70 to 75 mph, and though just a 5 mph increase, some fear it could be deadly.
Sen. Janice Bowling (R—Tullahoma) and Rep. Todd Warner (R—Chapel Hill) have introduced legislation that would allow for the higher speed limit on “controlled-access state and interstate highways with four or more lanes.”
Though the legislation has stalled to becoming law at least until 2024 after being deferred in the Senate, AAA is wasting no time in pushing back and according to their survey, they say drivers would agree.
According to a 2022 Traffic Safety Survey conducted by AAA, 57% of residents are very concerned about speeding drivers when it comes to keeping roadways safe.
Spokesperson with AAA Megan Cooper says the data proves to be more deadly.
“Based on AAA research and other traffic safety organizations, research showing, as you increase those speed limits, you also see an increase in fatalities rates, and when those crashes do occur, a lot of times they are more severe,” Cooper said.
According to the 2022 Traffic Safety Survey by AAA, residents drive over the speed limits for three different reasons:
- 69% said it was to keep up with the flow of traffic
- 36% said it was because there wasn’t much traffic on the the road
- 35% said they don’t consider driving a few miles over as speeding
Despite what’s currently law, data from AAA said more than half of drivers already feel comfortable going five miles per hour over the speed limit.
In fact, 53% were ok with it, 23% were ok with driving 10 mph over, and 13% only felt comfortable driving the posted limit.
Despite comfort levels with driving over the speed limit, Cooper said speed has a direct impact with crash severity.
“If you take a lot at your occupant protection systems like your seatbelt, airbags, those are all designed and tested, given a rate of speed, so when you start travelling at the higher rates of speed, it can actually make some of those systems less effective,” Cooper said.
After being put off by the Senate, the proposal is set to be discussed by a the House Transportation Subcommittee Wednesday afternoon for further consideration ahead of 2024.
Hundreds of bills will be up for debate during the 113th General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers shared their thoughts on some of the major issues up for discussion at this year’s legislative session.
You can also find daily coverage from the session here.