some Michigan highways to 75 miles per hour. The main bill will require the Michigan Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on 600 miles of rural freeways, though safety and engineering studies will still have to be conducted ahead of time.
According to Jeff Cranson, the Director of Communications for the Michigan Department of Transportation, reported that the safety studies may not be completed for several months, though there are several areas that they are already focusing on for the speed limit increase.
?The most logical candidates ? and by no means have any decisions been made yet ? are largely, you know, the rural, rural roads up north. North of the population centers where the heaviest traffic is,? he said.
Safety, the department has said, is their number one concern. According to data obtained by the Michigan State Police, in 2014, the state of Michigan experienced 806 fatal automobile and motorcycle accidents that killed 876 people.
According to Gov. Snyder, ?Ensuring that all Michiganders are safe while operating vehicles on our state?s roadways is critically important, and these bills allow for appropriately increased speed limits on certain roadways after safety studies are conducted.?
Other bills in the package call for lower speed limits on gravel roads in counties with populations of more than 1 million people. Legislators are requesting that the speed limit in these areas be reduced to 45 miles per hour.
?We have a zero deaths goal which sounds lofty and ambitious, but we have a lot of people really dedicated to having a road system that someday doesn?t allow for people dying in traffic crashes,? added Cranson.
Opponents of the bill have serious concerns that the increased speed limit could lead to more automobile and motorcycle accidents. Attorney Steven Gursten of Michigan Auto Law, cited a 1990 study by the University of Michigan, which shoed that traffic-related deaths increased 19.2% after the state raised the speed limit on rural highways from 55 miles per hour to 65 miles per hour in 1987.
Have legislators failed to learn from the past? Will history repeat itself? Some Michigan auto accident attorneys and personal injury law firms, like Michigan Auto Law, are bracing themselves for a major influx of business.