The Lima News
Business leaders are fond of saying, ďTime is money.Ē Given that, just how much time will be saved when Ohioís new 70 mph speed limit begins in early July?
Try 40 seconds for every 10 miles.
Thatís the difference between driving 10 miles at 65 mph (which takes 9 minutes and 14 seconds) and doing the same at 70 mph.
Legislators and Ohioís chief executive think those 40 seconds are worthwhile, as Gov. John Kasich signed his name last week on the bill raising the speed limit. Never mind that neither party knew exactly what highways will be affected, or that statistics show Ohio roads will now be more dangerous.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that the Ohio Turnpike has seen an average of 20 more accidents a month since its speed limit went from 65 to 70 mile in April 2011.
Its findings are backed up by studies done by the American Journal of Public Health and the Transportation Research Board. The Journal of Health found fatal crashes increased nearly 16 percent on rural interstates that raised the speed limit to 65 after the 55-mph national limit was repealed in 1995. In 2006, the Transportation Research Board found increasing the speed limit from 55 to 65 increased the probability of a fatal crash by 24 percent, and bumping the speed limit from 65 to 75 increased the likelihood by 12 percent.
The increased speed limit likely will happen on stretches of highway between major metropolitan areas, such as Interstate 75 between Toledo and Dayton, and U.S. 33 from the Indiana border to Columbus. Thatís just a guess, though, since neither Kasich nor the legislature required specifics before passing the measure. The Ohio Department of Transportation will determine highway speed limits sometime within the next three months.
Putting safety behind speed and making laws without all the facts seems like a poor way to conduct business. Then again, letís not forget that old caveat: Time is money.