ND Senate mulls speed limit increase

 Photo from kgwn.tv
Photo from kgwn.tv (WNDU)
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 4:18 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 8:46 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A bill that has been killed time and again in past Legislative sessions is accelerating to a potential destination on the governor’s desk. The House already passed a bill increasing speed limits in North Dakota, now the Senate is going to take a look at it.

HB 1475 would ramp up speed limits on the interstate to 80 mph in most of North Dakota. That would be a five mile-an-hour increase from 75 mph. Bill sponsor Representative Ben Koppelman says the increase would make North Dakota’s speed limits the same as states to our south and west, including South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. He also says he doesn’t believe people will necessarily drive any faster than they do now.

“Although that is a possibility, people tend to drive at a speed that they are comfortable driving at, and many would not be comfortable driving 85 mph or more,” said Representative Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo.

North Dakota Safety Council testified in opposition to the bill. They say more than a quarter of traffic fatalities on North Dakota roadways are speeding related, and increasing speed limits will cause more “death and destruction on North Dakota roads.”

One group that’s neutral on the matter is North Dakota Highway Patrol. The bill would allow them to keep the speed limit down in cities like Bismarck or Fargo, and in scenic areas where it might otherwise be dangerous to raise the speed limit, like the area around Medora.