Drivers React To New 70 MPH Speed Limit On Rural Interstates


UPDATED: Monday July 1, 2013 5:58 PM

It is no longer illegal to push your speed to 70 mph on many Ohio roads.

The Buckeye state joins 34 other states by increasing the speed limit on rural interstates by 5 mph.

But is it a new convenience or a new danger?

The turnpike already permits a speed of 70.

The new legislation added that speed to 570 additional miles of Ohio's interstate system.

But the speed will not increase along interstates closer to heavy-traffic urban areas, like Columbus.

Many drivers are happy about the change.

They say it will help them save time and get where they're going faster.

But the Ohio State Highway Patrol says it's all about safety and awareness as troopers get ready to enforce the new speed limit.
 
“Everybody smile!" yells Gary Grandy, as he takes a family picture of his wife and four grandchildren at Madison County’s rest stop along Interstate 70.

He plans to take a group picture in each state as they make their way from Connecticut to Kansas this week.

"It’s a long haul, 26 to 27 hours back to our daughter's house,” said Grandy.  “So, if we can shorten that up a little, that’s good news!"

The Grandys say they're making better time now, on this first full day of the 70 mph speed limit increase in Ohio.

"I don't think it's too fast," added Faye Grandy. “It seems like you're just creeping along when you go 55, 60 or even 65 mph.  Another 5 miles per hour helps make a difference."

The Ohio Department of Transportation made 317 new signs after the new legislation passed.

The state says the cost to taxpayers is a little more than $8,000.

Most of the signs cover the old 65 numbers with the new speed limit.

"Our direction to our troopers hasn't changed,” said Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston. “Safety is our primary mission."

Ralston says with the change, travelers need to be that much more aware of the speed limit wherever they're driving and to adjust that speed with the prevailing weather, road and traffic conditions.

"It's an opportunity for us as law enforcement officers to remind people why it is important to make sure they're driving within their abilities," Ralston said.

Ralston says troopers are obliged to enforce the new law and will be out in force during the busy, holiday weekend.

The Grandys are just happy to be on the road together.

"It's more convenient, definitely," Faye Grandy said as she loads up her grandchildren in her van.

And with the new speed limit, they hope to get home that much faster.

Under the new legislation, when you approach a major urban area like Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati or Toledo -- the speed limit will drop back to 65 miles per hour or less.

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