By on April 7, 2011

The top legal speed in the state of Kansas is one signature away from becoming 75 MPH. State legislators on Friday gave final approval to a bill raising the limit from 70 to 75 MPH. If approved by Governor Sam Brownback (R), Kansas would join a dozen other states that have already made the move. Only Texas and Utah have a higher, 80 MPH limit.

State Representative Marvin Kleeb (R-Overland Park) argued that the increase was justified because Kansas had the lowest limit of any western state (aside from the coast). Vacationers would be attracted to the friendlier driving atmosphere, spurring economic development, Kleeb argued in a January hearing. The legislation specifies that speeding tickets issued on freeways with the new limit would not be reported to insurance companies unless the police officer indicated the driver’s speed exceeded 85 MPH. The Kansas Department of Transportation estimated that pasting “75” over existing 70 MPH speed limit signs would cost no more than $25,000.

When Congress repealed the 55 MPH national maximum speed limit in 1995, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety predicted thousands of additional lives would be lost each year. The opposite has occurred. Despite states raising limits far beyond the double nickel, the US Department of Transportation announced Friday that road fatalities in 2010 fell to the lowest level since 1949 when systematic records were first kept. Fatalities dropped three percent from 2009 levels to 32,788 killed with 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

The speed limit increase was added to a catch-all piece of legislation containing several provisions of interest to motorists. The bill also requires that drivers renewing their vehicle registration sign a statement affirming that they will maintain insurance on the car. Motorcyclists will also be allowed to drive through a red light that refuses to change to green “within a reasonable time.” Often, signals that are activated by pavement sensors fail to detect motorcycles and stay red. A provision also prohibits municipalities from imposing “court costs” to bulk up revenue from seatbelt tickets which are set by state law at $10.

A copy of the final legislation raising the speed limit is available in an 85k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File House Bill 2192 Conference Report (Kansas Legislature, 4/6/2011)


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27 Comments on “Kansas Legislature Approves 75 MPH Speed Limit...”

  • avatar

    “Vacationers would be attracted to the friendlier driving atmosphere, spurring economic development”

    Seriously? Vacationers do anything but pass thru Kansas on their way to somewhere else?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Well even driving through they have to buy gas and food usually.  I’m taking a trip “back East” to my Midwestern birthplace this summer from Gallup, NM.  Now I’m going to go through Texas (their speed limits are higher in most places anyway) but if I was making a different trip and had the option of going through Kansas or a state with lower limits, I might just pick Kansas.

    • 0 avatar

      Living in Chicago means I haven’t gone through Kansas for ten years, now.  When will Iowa go to 75, and more importantly when will Nebraska go to 90?
      But seriously, Nebraska is my favorite ‘drive through’ state between New York and San Francisco.

      • 0 avatar
        Diesel Fuel Only

        I’ve always wanted to go through Nebraska because it’s the route of the original transcontinental railroad, and because I’ve always wanted to see the state capitol building in Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar

      I once drove through Nebraska in my callow youth and 85 mph felt slow. I think your suggestion of 90 is sensible.

  • avatar

    Some, like us, once stayed overnight in Hays! Smack-dab halfway between St. Louis and Colorado Springs.

    • 0 avatar

      Also, Wakeeney is mileage-wise halfway between KC and Denver.  I recommend staying at the Wakeeney KOA if anyone is making vacation plans.

    • 0 avatar

      Some, like me, once stayed overnight in Russell! Almost smack-dab in the middle of the state. Scary flat, too. If I went out west again, I’d take US 36 or 24 just for something different.

    • 0 avatar

      You don’t know what flat means until you take U.S. 56 west of Great Bend. I did that on a motorcycle in the summer heat and it felt like I wasn’t going anywhere.
      That said, I think Kansas is cool and would consider a vacation there, maybe in the Flint Hills…

    • 0 avatar

      And you don’t know what flat is until you’ve driven the Trans-Canada highway between Moose Jaw and Regina, Saskatchewan.

    • 0 avatar

      86er, why is that strangely tempting?

    • 0 avatar

      God, I don’t know.  After the winter we’ve had I don’t know anyone who wants to live here anymore, let alone visit.

      I was loathe to chime in and reinforce the stereotype of Sask. as flat (it’s half-forest and has the highest point between Newfoundland and the Rockies) but I just couldn’t resist.  This part of the province is so flat, perspective is distorted.  I live in a small town about 15 minutes from Regina and their downtown buildings look like they could be a few blocks away.  When I used to work in one of those downtown buildings I once marvelled at watching a plane taxi from the runway which looked like it was pretty much adjacent to an office tower a block from mine (airport is actually 2 or 3 miles from where I was).

      Huh?  What?  Tangential?  What’s that mean?  Oh.  Yes, well, Kansas, 75 mph speed limit, yes, all well and good.  It’s about that here too.

  • avatar

    Fellow ethanol haters beware! Kansas doesn’t require retailers to inform the public of ethanol concentrations up to 10%.

    Some ethanol whores in Nebraska’s legislature tried to cram this one thru; citing that,” Kansas does it.Why can’t we?”

  • avatar

    Based on my visit to Kansas in 2009, people are already driving 75 mph on limited access highways. The law is just catching up to the behavior. For that matter, here in Pennsylvania most people drive between 70-75 mph, even though the speed limit is 65 mph.

    • 0 avatar

      And people will ADJUST to the new speed limits.

      The majority of drivers go between 5-10 mph above the speed limit b/c they think the cops won’t stop them and just go after the drivers who exceed the speed limit by over 10 mph.

      This is probably fine out in the western states with great expanses of highways with relatively low traffic but wouldn’t be so good in areas with higher density of traffic; people trying to do 80-85 mph mixed in wth people doing 55-60 mph.

      Anyway, I don’t know what the point was in bringing up the lower fatalities stat b/c we don’t know how much of that is based on just how much safer autos are today.

      • 0 avatar

        There is no proof that people automatically drive 10 mph over the speed limit. The only reason people believe that is because speed limits have been underposted for so long (the interstate highway system was designed to enable a 1956 car to travel safely at 75-80 mph).  The law is just catching up to the speeds at which people travel in the real world. Any increase in speeds over the years has more to do with the increased capability of vehicles, along with improved control of noise, vibration and harshness, which lessen the sensation of speed.

        The fatality rate has been dropping for years – even after we abolished the national 65-mph speed limit in late 1994, and many states immediately began raising their limits. Which was the exact opposite outcome predicted by opponents of that move. So it is relevant.

      • 0 avatar

        Not true. In my work travels I have driven all over the West. Most people drive around 70-75 regardless of whether the speed limit is 65, 70, or 75. I’ve even driven in the 80mph part of Utah, and most folks were driving… 75.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      There is no proof that people automatically drive 10 mph over the speed limit.

      Absolutely.  Even though I am a speed demon/hooligan by birth I usually only drove my 1982 Chevy Celebrity about 5mph over the 55mph limit.  Why?  Because the Iron Duke ran out of steam above that and the handling got really squirrelly.  My fiances 2005 Pontiac Vibe at 65mph is as relaxed as the Celebrity was at 25mph.  Cars have become more competent.

  • avatar

    Is the World’s Largest Prairie Dog tourist attraction still out there? That was always a landmark when traversing the 424 miles across the state. “Oh, it’s about an hour east of the World’s Largest Prairie Dog.”
    Getting motorists to swear they’ll buy car insurance would be great. Even better would be requiring the insurance companies to report when people cancel, but they (the insurance companies) don’t want to do that.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the worlds largest prairie dog is still there.  I was on a trip from Kansas City to Denver last year and stopped by the groundhog tourist trap.  And how sad it was to see how the animals were treated there.  They had a 5 legged calf and a 6 legged cow.  The 6 legged cow should have been put down as it was basically a full size cow, with its fetal twins legs hanging out of its side; it was a terrible site to see.  And the poor bobcats, wolves, donkeys and other big cats locked in tiny concrete cages barely big enough to turn around in or even lay down.  The pond was a hole in the ground with a garden house filling it’s filthy banks with water.  There are tons of groundhogs running all around the place too. And all the owner could talk about was how it cost him $40,000.00 a year to feed all his animals.  He was talking about closing the attraction, and I hope he did.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought most states required showing proof of insurance in order to renew registration?  Of course, what happens is that people buy the insurance on the monthly payment plan and get the card to renew their registration and then stop paying after the first payment.  I still think this system is better than simply swearing that you will buy insurance.

      IMO, license plates should be seized when a car is no longer insured.

  • avatar

    I worked two jobs for two years in order to escape from Kansas. 56 is even worse than 54.
    And the looks you get when you pull into that gas station in Liberal at 2AM in a lowered Eagle Talon. You think the hills have eyes? :shudder
    Don’t miss it at all. (Though I’d be morbidly curious to see what Greensburg looks like after that tornado wiped it off the map a couple years back. Been through there dozens of time. I think there was a car dealership there with a P51 Mustang in a garage out back. I wonder if it survived…)

  • avatar

    The motorcycle/red-light law should be passed nationally.  I can’t count how many times I’ve had to wave up a car stopped behind me at a red light so that they could trigger the light sensor allowing me to proceed through the intersection.

    Sometimes law makers do make good laws…….

    • 0 avatar

      When stuck at a light, put your kickstand down for a few seconds, about 6″ inside the nearest wire. Contrary to popular myth, most signal sensors are not triggered by weight. They’re triggered by sensing conductive metal inside a magnetic field. Putting down the stand will often be enough to get the system to sense your presence.

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