Missouri lawmakers to consider raising speed limit

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BELTON, Mo. — As Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City Wednesday, one of many issues they are expected to consider is raising the state’s speed limit.

Along Interstate 49 here, the speed limit is 70 miles an hour, but that could jump up to 75 if this proposal becomes law.

A southwest Missouri lawmaker wants drivers in the Show-Me State to be able to go faster on rural highways. Rep. Mike Kelley from Lamar, further south on I-49, wants to raise the speed limit to 75 miles an hour on 4-lane highways away from the cities.

Currently Missouri’s speed limit is 70 miles an hour. But you won’t find any highways posted at 70 in Kansas City, St. Louis or other large cities. The proposal would keep the urban area speed limit at 65. Many drivers say they see vehicles already speeding faster than 5 miles more than the posted limit of 70.

“I go to Dallas because I have relatives there,” explained Jean Lininger of Raymore. “Everybody goes to 75 anyway when they get down south. They really do.”

The change would match Missouri with Kansas, which raised it’s rural highway speed limit to 75 in 2011.

The Missouri Highway Patrol declined to comment on this legislative issue, saying it’s job is to enforce whatever laws are approved. But one trooper told me safety is always a concern with increased speed. He says the faster traffic travels, the more horrible any crash is likely to be.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says since the Sunflower State increased it’s speed limit to 75, there have been fewer traffic deaths, dropping from 430 in 2010, the last full year of the 70 mile an hour limit, to 405 in 2012.

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