Vote Expected on Raising Speed Limit to 70 MPH

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CLEVELAND-- Getting from point “a” to point “b” in Ohio may become a little easier for drivers. The State Senate will soon decide on whether or not to raise the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on rural stretches of highways, including  I-90 and I-71 in Northeast Ohio.

Kreigh Spahr is a former truck driver who was behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler for close to four decades.

Even though the Ohio Turnpike already has a speed limit of 70 mph, Spahr who teaches at Cuyahoga Community College’s truck driving academy, applauds the plan to raise the speed limit.  He adds, "From east to west, Ohio is about 225 miles for most truck drivers.  The lower speed limit made it very monotonous..."

According to State Senator Tom Patton, a Republican from Strongsville, raising the limit would increase commerce and truck deliveries, one of the demands he says from leading state manufacturers.

Patton adds, "Congested areas, the speed limit will continue to be 55.  It's only the outerbelts that'll go from 60-to-65 and where you normally see the 65-mile an hour it'll now go to 70."

AAA East Central Spokesman Brian Newbacher is concerned that raising the speed limit could have an effect on safety in terms of higher number of crashes. But he also says it could be a positive, since the number of fatalities dropped along the Turnpike when the speed limit was raised two years ago.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill later this week.