April 7, 2015

WTOP: Maryland legislature considers increasing highway speed limits

Maryland drivers could travel a little faster on some state highways under a bill making its way through the General Assembly.

The legislation would allow Maryland’s speed limit on highways to be increased from 65 mph to 70 mph.

Even if the legislation makes it to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for his signature, the speed limit change isn’t mandatory. There would have to be a request to raise the speed limit on a particular stretch of highway, and then there would be a state analysis, says David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration.

“It will be a case-by-case basis when we get an inquiry” and Buck says. “Safety’s gotta be our top priority.”

Buck says the roads most likely to see the increase in speed limit are those with the a current speed limit of 60 or 65 miles per hour, typically in rural areas.

Buck says the highway administration would look at crash history, distance between exits and road features.

“So we’d look at it very carefully before raising it” to 70 miles per hour, he says.

The House version of the bill has been referred to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The Senate version has been referred to the House and was heard in the Environment and Transportation Committee on March 26.