But not in Cuyahoga County
Truck drivers eagerly awaiting Wednesday’s increase in the interstate speed limit from 55 mph to 65 will have to put the brakes on their enthusiasm.
Because that’s what they will be doing when they enter Cuyahoga County.
The new law for truckers was so narrowly written that the increase applies only to interstates that already have speed limits of 65. That’s not the case in Cuyahoga County, as in most big cities in the state, where the interstate speed limit is 60 for cars and 55 for large vehicles.
That won’t change, said the Ohio Department of Transportation.
So a semi heading north to Cleveland on Interstates 77 or 71 traveling at 65 mph will have to slow down to 55 at the county line.
Police in communities near the Cuyahoga County line said they aren’t overly concerned about large trucks not slowing down when entering the county. They said speeding is more of an issue with automobile drivers.
Thank you to the Cuyahoga County Police for saying this. It has got to be the first time I have ever heard a statement like this coming from the police, especially in Ohio.
Larry Davis, president of the Ohio Trucking Association, which this year pushed for a unified speed limit for trucks and cars, said he was unaware of how the law was written. “The whole idea was to make them all the same,” he said.
The speed limit will be 65 for vehicles weighing more than 8,000 pounds empty and for noncommercial buses on all interstates “that had such a speed limit,” according to the law signed by Gov. Ted Strickland on April 1.
ODOT spokesman Scott Varner said that’s the way the law was written and it is what the department has to follow.
Sen. Tom Patton, a Strongsville Republican who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, said the law was intended for travel on open stretches of interstate, and he and other legislators knew truckers would have to drive slower in urban areas, including Cuyahoga County.
But Davis said the key is to have uniform speeds, so his organization may ask legislators to amend the law to allow truckers to drive 60 in areas where cars are driving the same speed.
Patton said that if the request is made, his committee would investigate what other states have done.
Ohio is one of only 11 states where the speed limit is different for cars and trucks. It is also among four states — with Illinois, Oregon and California — that still have a 55 mph speed limit for trucks.
The discrepancy between one interstate speed limit for all of Cuyahoga County and varying speed limits in other counties, like Lake and Lorain, occurred in 1996 after Congress repealed the 55 mph federal speed limit law, allowing states to set their own speed limits.
Ohio lawmakers decided the speed limit on interstates would be 65 but gave ODOT 120 days to set a lower limit if it could be justified for safety considerations.
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