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Iowa House Speaker Wants To Raise Speed Limit

November 15, 1999

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Iowa's House Speaker wants to raise the speed limits on Iowa's four-lane highways from the current 65 mph to 70 mph to match surrounding states. But the governor's office is against it.

Two years ago, Iowa lawmakers voted down a measure that would have raised the speed limit. But House Speaker Brent Siegrist believes that because of the turnover in the Legislature since then, it has to change. He also notes that two neighboring states, Nebraska and Missouri, have raised their speed limits since then.
"Iowa is one of the few states that have held on to the lower speed limits after restrictions were eased a few years ago," Siegrist said. "We've got a lot of wide-open stretches of interstate and four-lane highways where drivers could go faster without compromising safety."
But Gov. Tom Vilsack doesn't agree. He says insurance studies show that the number and severity of accidents increases as the speed limit goes up. Statistics compiled by the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau indicate the death rate increases in states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher.
Siegrist, however, says the "de facto" speed limit is already higher, with people typically driving 70 to 75 mph.

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