Ohio will end its split speed limit for cars and heavy trucks as part of a $9.2 billion, two-year transportation budget signed into law this week by Gov. Ted Strickland.

The higher speed limit was added in the Senate after the transportation budget passed the House, reported the . The final version signed by the governor will allow trucks now limited to 55 mph to travel 65 mph on limited-access interstates.

Supporters of the change say having all vehicles traveling at uniform speeds is safer.

"The only speed limit policy that makes sense is to have all vehicles traveling at the same speed. It is a welcome change in Ohio that is long overdue," said Todd Spencer, executive vice-president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

Ohio has been one of just 11 states with lower speeds for trucks than for passenger vehicles on freeways, and only six states have truck speed limits lower than 65 mph - Michigan, Illinois, California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, notes the Blade.

Trucks have been able to travel at 65 mph on the Ohio Turnpike since 2004. Published reports seem to differ on what difference that has made in safety. Sen. Steve Buehrer cited recent testimony from George Distel, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, about the success the turnpike has had increasing the speed limit to 65 mph for trucks.

"Initially there were some concerns about what that would do, but I think the experience has been positive," Buehrer told OOIDA's Land Line magazine. "It's probably time to do that on the interstates here in Ohio."

But the Toledo Blade quotes Lt. Tony Bradshaw of the Ohio Highway Patrol saying, "We do continue to have concerns because of a comprehensive study that was conducted on the Ohio Turnpike when speeds were increased. The study showed that trucks involved in crashes increased."

Larry Davis, executive director of the Ohio Trucking Association, Told the Blade that more attention should be placed on the actual number of accidents rather than the percentages, which are statistically much smaller on the free parallel routes because of higher traffic volume.

The new law also increases fees for vehicle titles and tags.

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