Drivers divided over 70 mph speed limit

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Some parts of Virginia's interstates could soon see higher speed limits. That's one of the proposals Governor McDonnell laid out in his State of the Commonwealth speech last night.

Along a stretch of I-64 in Goochland County near Oilville, drivers say the speed limit is little more than a suggestion.

"They fly through here. Because there's not a lot of people and not a lot of cars and stuff, so they just fly right on through here," said driver Victoria Klein.

Sections of interstate like this could be candidates to see a speed limit increase from 65 miles per hour to 70 under McDonnell's proposal. The idea would be to improve traffic flow in rural parts of the state. Truck drivers like Juantez Bush couldn't agree more.

"65 gets a little boring for us," said Bush, "so we kind of crank it up a little bit, and we get tickets like that."

Bush drives all over the South, and says nearby states already embrace the 70 mile per hour limit.

"When you're coming into Virginia, you got to bring it down because you might have the cruise set, and if you're riding it when you cross into Virginia and not thinking about it, next thing you know there's a State trooper behind you."

But some drivers see increased speed as a potential threat to safety.

"I wonder if those people who do go well over the speed limit now might go even faster, and crashes would become that much worse," said driver Patrick Boyle.

The plans being talked about would only affect major interstates in Virginia: I-95, 64, 77, and 81. State police declined to comment on the possible changes. Drivers, on the other hand, were not shy about their opinions.

"I'd have to say I don't support it," said Patrick Boyle.

Juantez Bush disagreed, saying "Go for it. If that's what they can do, go for it. Yeah."

The speed limit increase isn't the only change Governor McDonnell is pushing for on the highways. He stands by his pledge to reopen the rest areas that were shut down last summer. So far, neither proposal has made it in front of the General Assembly.

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