NC Senate overwhelmingly approves 75 mph speed limit

bsiceloff@newsobserver.comApril 11, 2013 

— The Senate made fast work this week of Sen. Neal Hunt’s proposal to raise the top speed limit on North Carolina highways to 75 mph.

If the House agrees, the higher speeds will be allowed on expressways where state Department of Transportation engineers agree that it is a good idea. North Carolina would become only the second state on the East Coast, after Maine, and the 17th in the country to let some drivers go 75 mph.

Hunt, a Republican from Raleigh, filed his proposal April 2. It zoomed through a committee Wednesday and the full Senate on Thursday without debate.

“It’s a reasonable idea to let the professionals decide if traffic can move a little faster than we let it go now,” Hunt said Thursday. “It’s not mandatory, but if DOT thinks it’s appropriate to go that fast, then it’s OK with me.”

Sen. Dan Blue, a Democrat from Raleigh, cast the only dissenting vote. He told the Associated Press later that he just wanted to know more about how DOT would decide which roads qualify for faster speeds than 70 mph, the current maximum.

Hunt, 70, knows what it’s like to go faster than DOT thinks is appropriate.

His driving record includes five speeding convictions in five different counties between 1988 and 1998. A legal limit of 75 mph would have helped him in a couple of cases, but officers clocked him driving a little faster than that on three occasions.

“Be sure to point out that I haven’t had a speeding ticket in 14 years,” Hunt said.

Asked whether he was driving more slowly these days – or just lucky, he chuckled and said: “No comment.”

Researcher Teresa Leonard contributed.

Siceloff: 919-829-4527 or blogs.newsobserver.com/crosstown or twitter.com/Road_Worrier/

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