I-20 speed limit could jump from 55 to 70 MPH


News12 / Thursday Feb. 6, 2014

Augusta, Ga (wrdw)---- "I definitely think it's a good idea," said Shawn Sweny

Whenever Sweny needs to get somewhere he usually has to get there driving.

"I usually get on I-20 about twice a week," he told News12.

The Georgia House has paved the way for drivers to really step on it - possibly increasing speeds up to 70 miles per hour. Now Sweny hopes the senate will do the same for him and other Augusta drivers.

"It's 70 on the South Carolina side and people don't want to slow down. And once you get back into Thomson it's 70 again, so people are used to going 70. So, 55 kind of hinders and bottle necks people a little bit," Sweny said.

"Our number one concern is public safety," said Sgt. Scott Redmon

Sgt. Redmon is with the Richmond County Traffic Division and says they will enforce the law if passed, but does see one issue with the limit going from 55 up to 70.

"Higher speeds produce higher velocity crashes which leads itself to more injures and or fatalities," he told News12.

But Sweny sees it a different way.

"I don't think accidents will rise at all. If anything I think it will be smoother because people are used to going that speed and won't have to slow down," he said.

And while deputies say higher speeds can lead to more crashes they also see a benefit in the jump.

"Speed zones that are at 55 MPH have a lower compliance rate. Where the speed limit has been changed to 70 and greater the compliance is better at that speed," said Redmon.

So, as the final hurdle gets closer Sweny hopes it doesn't take too long because he doesn't want to get a ticket.

"They haven't gotten me yet but knock on wood hopefully they don't," Sweny told News12.

The traffic division also says the faster people drive the quicker they will need to react to distractions on the roads. Which could lead to more wrecks which they are trying to avoid since the county's crash rate and fatalities have dropped this year. With fatalities dropping the most--almost 50 percent than last year.


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