"We have great concern" about the bill, said Utah Highway Patrol Superintendent Daniel Fuhr. He said 75 mph is too fast along urban freeways that are often congested and have restricted views.
At 75 mph, Fuhr said, a car travels 300 feet before a driver can react to a problem. "So when you get traffic going 75 mph in that HOV [high-occupancy vehicle] lane and traffic in other lanes could be … slower and someone cuts out in front of you, the reaction time just isn't there to be effective without causing a collision," Fuhr said.
Worse, he said, high speeds especially threaten Highway Patrol officers dealing with cars that pull off to the side of the express lanes. "With traffic flying by at 75 mph, that's a very, very dangerous situation."
Also, Fuhr said people often figure they can go 10 mph faster than the posted speed limit without getting a ticket. So even if the limit were raised only to 70 mph, "You would see traffic going 80 almost immediately."
Sumsion, who is running for governor, suggested that the bill be referred for more study. "I have huge respect for the Highway Patrol, and would never want to jeopardize an officer's life in any way."
He added, "This isn't a die-hard bill. This is just sort of a meek idea," which he thought may help the HOV toll program make some extra money and encourage more carpooling.
HB264 Increasing thespeed limit in HOV lanes
The House Transportation committee voted 9-2 to send the proposed bill back to the Rules Committee with the suggestion that it be studied further by interim committees after this year's general session.