This week the Legislature sent a package of bills to the Governor that would address the way speed limits are set in Michigan. HB 4423 would require the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) to increase the speed limits on at least 600 miles of limited access freeway to 75 mph and 900 miles of trunk line highway to 65 mph within a year after the bill’s effective date if certain conditions were met.
HB 4425 would require a local road authority to determine any modified speed limits on a local highway. A speed limit will now need to be established through a engineering and safety study and by the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under ideal conditions rounded to the nearest multiple of five miles per hour. Local road authorities would be prohibited from establishing and posting a speed limit at less than the 50th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under optimal conditions on the fastest portion of the highway segment where the speed limit was being posted.
The League supported HB 4425 as it met our objective of allowing context to be considered when establishing a speed limit rather than only being able to establish a speed limit at the 85th percentile. This concludes a two and half year discussion on this issue and we expect the governor to sign the bills.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at email@example.com or 517-908-0303.