By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The Department of Transportation could raise the limit to 75 on a road if it’s deemed safe and reasonable and traffic and engineering allow it.
Supporters of the change say motorists are already driving above 70 mph and should be allowed to do so on open roads without getting a ticket. Detractors warn higher speed limits will lead to more traffic collisions and casualties.
The bill would go to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk if the House passes it without changes.
Tarboro Police chief, Damon Williams said he is against it. William's department patrols a short stretch on U.S. 64 Bypass which speed limit is 70 mile per hour.
"As a law enforcement officer, it's never a good idea to increase speed limit," he said. "when speed is increase you increase the possibility of greater damage upon accident and increase the likely hood of fatality. It just not a good idea.
"The average person is already driving about nine miles over the speed limit. Therefore when you increase the speed limit they will go nine mile over. My endorsement is to not raise the speed limit."
Edgecombe County residents have mixed views about the bill.
"It's not going to bother me one way or the other," said Devitta Randolph. "I'm going to drive the speed limit no matter what it is."
Quantelles Anthony said, "It has it pros and cons. It may be good for experience drivers and it may not be good for inexperience drivers."
The bill lost some of it gas Wednesday after it was pushed back to Thursday's floor session after about a 10 minute debate. No explanation for the move was provided. The proposal was scheduled to be voted on Wednesday.
"Life is fast enough," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.
Glazier said he feared traffic fatalities would jump as younger, inexperienced drivers and older drivers with slower reflexes tried to negotiate the higher speeds. That, in turn, could lead to higher auto insurance rates for North Carolina drivers, he said.
Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick, said DOT studies have determined that 75 mph a "safe and reasonable limit," and he predicted traffic engineers would find "very few areas" where a higher limit would be appropriate.
"We're trying to get politics out of transportation," said Rep. Dana Bumgardner, R-Gaston. He urged passage of the bill, saying DOT engineers have the expertise to determine what roads are safe for a 75 mph limit.
Information from this story was obtained from WRAL-TV and The Associated Press