The Idaho Transportation recently upped the speed limit on rural interstates 15, 84, and 86 to 80 mph for vehicles and 70 mph for trucks. This was the first speed limit change in nearly two decades.
Even with the speed limit bump, there have been significantly more tickets on those stretches of interstate than last year,” – about 100 more speeding tickets in that time frame,” said Teresa Baker with the Idaho State Police.
“We are not giving people a break on speeding tickets (once they’re over) the 80 mph speed limit,” she said in a statement.
Police say the reason behind the strict enforcement is that a faster speeds mean drivers have less reaction time. ISP says that at least two crashes in south-central Idaho can be attributed to drivers not having enough reaction time due to faster speed of travel.
Not all drivers have adjusted to the faster rate of traffic. Some are choosing to stick with the slower speeds, which presents another set of issues. Troopers are seeing some vehicles eager to take advantage of the new speed, while others are still going 60 mph.
Idaho joins three other states that have top speeds of at least 80 mph – Utah, Wyoming, and Texas – all with limits set as high as 85 mph.
The Idaho Transportation Department made the decision to increase the speed limit in July after engineering reports and speed studies showed that vehicles traveling faster would improve safety and traffic flow.
The new law has also allowed for speed limit increases on state highways to 70 mph, which will only come after further studies have been completed. A new speed limit would not take effect until the signs are posted on each section of the roadway, ITD said.
Urban areas of the Treasure Valley, between Caldwell and east Boise, as well as thorough Pocatello and Idaho Falls, will remain at 65 mph.