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State Lowers Default Speed Limits [AUDIO]

Beginning July 1st the default speed limits on all state roads, including unpaved roads, will change. Dave Kingham, assistant public affairs manager for the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said the 2011 Legislature changed the default speed limits for roads that go through subdivisions and for dirt roads.

Default speed limits:

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“Beginning July 1st, there are going to be three catagories for speed limits on county roads. For unpaved roads, it’s going to be 55. For roads that go through residential districts or subdivisions it’s going to be 30, and for paved county roads, it will remain 65 (mph).”

Mr. Kingham cited a study by Dr. Kaled Ksabati (kaLED tsuhBAHtee) of the College of Engineering at the University of Wyoming, which found that most people know that 65 mph is too fast to drive on dirt roads.

Most driver’s know better:

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“The study that University of Wyoming did of county roads in the state found that 94 percent of the traffic on those unpaved county roads they studied were traveling at 45 miles an hour or less, so the vast majority of people recognize that 65 wasn’t a safe or reasonable speed for those roads and traveled considerably slower than that.”

And for the 6 percent of drivers who drove faster than 55 mph, their risk of crashes was markedly higher.

Data supports conclusion:

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“The risk of crashes increased by 27 percent on these roads if speeds exceeded 55 miles an hour, so there were a lot of crashes due to excessive speed on those roads.”

Mr. Kingham noted that these changes are for default speed limits and do not apply to posted speed limits, so drivers should continue to observe the speed limit specific to the road signs.

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