85 mph speed limit approved by Nevada Senate

CARSON CITY — Get ready to put the pedal to the metal.

The state Senate voted 15-6 Wednesday for a bill to allow the Department of Transportation to increase the speed limit to as high as 85 mph on selected highways in Nevada.

Sponsoring Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, said accidents have been reduced in Utah on sections of freeway where the speed limit was raised to 80 mph.

Gustavson emphasized higher speeds in Nevada would be allowed only on divided highways with at least four lanes, probably along Interstate 80 between Fernley and Wendover and Interstate 15 between Craig Road and Mesquite.

“It’s the bill we have all been waiting for,” he quipped.

But Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said motor vehicles generally are driven 5 mph over the limit, and she was concerned about trucks flying by other vehicles at 90 mph.

“I have serious concerns about residents being by a truck and triple trailer going over the speed limits. It is just too much,” Smith said.

While supporting the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said he has driven on the higher speed sections in Utah and found speed limits abruptly drop and police ticket speeders.

“Police officers write tickets all day,” he said.

Gustavson said putting in speed traps is up to the Nevada Highway Patrol, but he doubts that would happen.

He added in response to Smith that truckers must control their speeds to save on fuel.

Voting against the bill were Smith, Patricia Spearman, D-North Las Vegas; Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson; Aaron Ford, David Parks and Justin Jones, all Democrats from Las Vegas.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.