DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa Senate subcommittee on Tuesday tabled a bill, SSB 3107, that, if passed, would raise the speed limit on Iowa’s highways and doubled fines for speeding.
The legislation would increase the speed limit on the interstate highway system from 70 mph to 75 mph and would increase the speed limit on controlled access, divided, multilane highways from 65 mph to 70 mph. The bill also would give the Iowa Department of Transportation the ability to raise the speed limit of other divided, multilane highways not described in the bill to 65 mph.
Under the bill, those who are caught speeding would face hefty fines.
Drivers going not more than ten miles per hour over the posted speed limit would face a fine of $390, up from $195. In addition, the penalty for driving 10 to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit increased from $390 to $780. Drivers caught driving between 20 to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit would face a fine of $1290, up from $645. Those going more than 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit face a penalty of $2570, up from $1285.
A spokesman from the Iowa State Patrol opposed the bill.
“Unfortunately, when we see traffic crashes, probably one of the leading contributing factors is speed,” he said. “If we look at the data, 51,800 crashes in 2020, alone. Again, going back to one of the contributing factors, one of the leading factors, day in and day out on those crashes is speed.”
He added that 14,000 crashes in 2020 resulted in personal injury, and over 300 resulted in fatalities. The Iowa State Patrol has also seen an increase in the number of speeding violations, including violations of drivers going over 100 miles per hour or more.
There was also concern that law enforcement officers would enforce the increased fines.
Susan Daemen representing the Iowa State Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Association also opposed the bill.
“We understand that for most people, those speed limits are just suggestions. They’re flying by,” she said. “We have many, many, many photos catching people going way over 100 miles per hour on their radar.”
All three subcommittee members, State Senators Mike Klimesh, R-Spillville, Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, and Carrie Koelker, R-Dyersville, agreed to table the bill after hearing from law enforcement.
“There were a lot of facts shared today, for example, the disparity of our truck companies and their trucks being governed. As of 2022, 19 states had a maximum speed limit of 75 mph. The fine fees seemed pretty excessive to me as well,” Koelker told The Iowa Torch.
“Fatalities are something that, unfortunately, happens in transportation laws that get utilized when we discuss bills like this. Between the sheriffs, Iowa State Patrol, and the Motor Truck Association all speaking strongly against the specific bill. It made us all take a step back and look at the need to revisit the situation and bill in its current form,” she added.