An Iowa Senate subcommittee put the brakes on a bill that would have increased the speed limit on certain highways in the state. Republican Sen. Mike Klimesh and Democrat Sen. Tony Bisignano essentially killed the bill.
Klimesh said at the end of the meeting he had concerns with the self-imposed limits for the motor truck industry that are self-governed.
“I hadn’t contemplated motor truck and the speed differential,” he said. “I know it’s funnel week and we’re really short on time.”
Klimesh said he wouldn’t move the bill along and would rather leave it sit where it is.
Much of the testimony was against the bill. A pair of state troopers warned the subcommittee against passage of the bill.
Captain Troy Bailey said in 2021, the state saw its highest number of fatalities since 2016. Bailey said speed is the No. 1 contributing factor for crashes in Iowa.
“In the last two years, we’ve seen a significant increase in egregious traffic violations,” he said. “We don’t want to look at this as an increase in speed as even more incentive for people to speed out there. We want the opposite effect of that.”
Bailey warned about giving drivers an inch, cautioning they will take a mile.
“We don’t want to see people continuing to creep up that speed on interstate systems,” he said.
Iowa State Patrol has a goal of cutting traffic fatalities below 300. There were 354 fatalities in 2021. State Patrol also wrote 1,205 citations for drivers going over 100 miles an hour.
Bisignano noted the natural inclination drivers have of driving at speeds higher than the posted speed limit. He predicted giving drivers a higher limit would not stop drivers from going five miles over the speed limit.
“It’s the way it works,” he said. “Fines hurt some people, fines don’t hurt other people, as you know. I think 70 plus the five – we’re all doing fine out there. If you want to be Montana, then have the guts to propose that we don’t have speed limits on the interstates and have them done with. But if we go to 75 today, there will be some legislators that figure out why not 80 later. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a bad bill that shouldn’t go anywhere.”
Republican Sen. Carrie Koelker said she would support moving the bill with an amendment if Klimesh wanted in an effort to continue the conversation, despite what she called “outrageous” fines in the bill.
The bill failed to make it out of the subcommittee.