A bill being considered in the Missouri State Legislature would drop the speed limit for heavy trucks from 70 mph to 65 on rural interstates and highways, leaving the limit at 70 for other vehicles.
The bill also would charge truckers caught going over 70 mph an additional $1,000 fine and it would require trucks above 24,000 pounds to drive in the right-hand lane except in some cases, including emergency situations.
The bill was introduced by state Sen. Ken Jacob of Columbia and was heard by the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday. The committee did not vote on the bill.
Another committee member, Bill Kenney of Lee's Summit, said the bill should not single out trucks. Another bill, sponsored by Betty Sims of Ladue, would lower the speed limit from 70 to 65 mph for all vehicles.
Sims told the committee that Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics show that in 1996, the year the speed limit was raised to 70, there were 47 more deaths on rural highways. The number of deaths has increased by about 10 each year since then. However, the Missouri Department of Transportation has said it believes the higher numbers are caused by motorists who drink and drive, who don't fasten their seat belts or who drive too fast for road conditions.
For more information, visit the Missouri General Assembly web site at www.moga.state.mo.us.
The bill number for Jacob's bill is SB841; for Sims' bill it's SB792.