Gov. Rick Snyder is letting Michigan drivers go a little faster. Snyder signed a package of bills Thursday that could, among other things, raise the speed limit on certain roads to 75-miles per hour.
The legislation also calls for lower speed limits on certain gravel roads and allows school district superintendents to adjust when speed zones are in effect around the schools.
Speed limits increases on certain freeways will only happen after a speed safety study is done by the Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
Former state representative and bill sponsor Bradford Jacobson (R-Oxford) said, “There’s a variety of different things and overall we’re trying to encourage the use of scientific method rather than emotional method for setting the speed limits.”
Jeff Cranson is the director of communications for MDOT. He says, although they likely will not be finished with the studies for several months, there are some areas that look ripe for a speed limit increase.
“The most logical candidates - and by no means have any decisions been made yet - are largely, you know, the rural, rural roads up north,” he said. “North of the population centers where the heaviest traffic is.”
Cranson said the department remained neutral while the legislation was making its way through the Legislature. Going forward, he said, safety is its number one concern.
“We have a towards-zero deaths goal,” he said. “Which sounds lofty and ambitious, but we have a lot of people really dedicated to having a road system that someday doesn’t allow for people dying in traffic crashes.”