Vermont bill would lower I-89, I-91 speed limits

January 15, 2020

Keith Goble


If one Vermont state lawmaker gets his way, travel on the state’s fastest highways would be slowed for all vehicles.

Rep. Jim McCullough, D-Williston, has introduced a bill to reduce the maximum speed limit on Interstates 89 and 91 from 65 mph to 55 mph.

McCullough provided information about the bill to the House Transportation Committee on Jan. 8. He highlighted the cost savings for driving at a slower rate of speed.

Data provided to the committee shows that optimal fuel efficiency for vehicles is dependent on travel at 55 mph. Additionally, driving at 60 mph reduces efficiency by 3%, and driving at 65 mph cuts into efficiency by 8%.

In addition to saving fuel, advocates say the lower speed limit would reduce crashes and help with climate change.

The bill, H627, awaits further consideration in the committee.

Distracted driving

A separate effort underway is intended to improve safety on roadways.

Vermont law now authorizes double penalties for speeding in work zones.

Sponsored by Rep. Brian Smith, R-Derby, the bill would impose double penalties and point assessments for using a portable electronic device, including for texting, while driving on a highway.

State law now authorizes fines between $100 and $250.

The bill would set fines at $250 and add four points to his or her driving record. Subsequent violations would result in $500 fines and five points added to the offender’s driving record.

For instances where violations occur in work zones, an additional $250 fine would be included. An additional five points would also be assessed to the offender’s driving record.

An incident resulting in injury or death determined to be caused by texting while driving would carry a $500 fine and 10 points added to his or her driving record.

H715 awaits assignment to committee.

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