Archive for Friday, June 24, 2011

Kansas Highway Patrol expects tickets to decline as speed limits increase July 1 to 75 mph on some highways

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, June 21, 2011, that speed limits on certain Kansas highways would increase from 70 mph to 75 mph, starting July 1. Large sections of the Kansas Turnpike, interstates 70 and 69 and U.S. highways 69 and 81 will have the new, higher speed limits.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, June 21, 2011, that speed limits on certain Kansas highways would increase from 70 mph to 75 mph, starting July 1. Large sections of the Kansas Turnpike, interstates 70 and 69 and U.S. highways 69 and 81 will have the new, higher speed limits.

June 24, 2011


'Common sense' guide to enforcement

Look ahead to June 30. Imagine you’re cruising along the Kansas Turnpike at 75 mph — just like the new speed limit sign off the shoulder says — but you recall that the law allowing drivers to go 75 mph won’t be taking effect until the next day.

Can I get a ticket?

Relax and get your eyes back on the road.

“We’re going to use common sense, and use discretion,” said Technical Trooper Mark Engholm, a spokesman for the Kansas Highway Patrol, which will be enforcing the new limits. “We’re not going to enforce a speed limit that’s not posted.”

Maintenance crews will be out installing new signs before the law takes effect, he said, and troopers are being advised to take that into account during their enforcement efforts. The advance installations are intended to ensure that all signs will be in place for travelers during the busy holiday weekend.

“We’ll work with the public to make sure roads are safe,” Engholm said.

New 75 mph speed limit map

New 75 mph speed limit map

Boosting speed limits on more than 800 miles of state and federal highways to 75 mph likely will reduce the number of tickets issued, at least during the next few months, the Kansas Highway Patrol says.

But don’t expect drivers to stay off the accelerators for long.

“Based on our experience in the past, when the speed limit is increased we see a time period of adjustment where traffic actually is moving slower than the posted limit,” said Technical Trooper Mark Engholm, a patrol spokesman. “It’s their comfort level.

“We’ll have to wait six months, maybe a year, to see what effect this has. It’s new territory. We’ll see what happens.”

The clock starts ticking on Thursday, when crews from the Kansas Department of Transportation begin riveting 276 metal plates — each featuring a fresh new “75” — onto existing 70 mph signs along 583 miles of state and federal highways being adjusted.

The Kansas Turnpike Authority, meanwhile, will begin affixing new 5s over 0s that same day on 90 signs along a 224-mile stretch of the turnpike, from the Oklahoma border all the way to the Kansas Highway 7 interchange at Bonner Springs.

The stretch includes about seven miles cutting through the Lawrence area, carrying an average of more than 28,000 vehicles per day.

Michael Johnston, the turnpike’s CEO, doesn’t expect driver speeds to increase dramatically, but the authority is conducted speed studies now at a handful of sites along the turnpike. Studies will be repeated this fall, to provide comparison data about drivers’ comfort levels.

Johnston, for one, figures the so-called “85th percentile” speed — the speed at which 85 percent of drivers are traveling at or below — might rise by 2 or 3 miles per hour in areas with the new 75 mph limit. That’s the speed, according to engineers, that drivers feel comfortable traveling.

“I drive a certain speed on the turnpike, and I’m not going to increase my speed at all,” Johnston said.

The new speed limit will go into effect in Kansas on 807 miles of state and federal highways, including the turnpike. That’s less than 10 percent of the nearly 10,000 miles of highways and freeways running throughout the state, a total system in which the Kansas Highway Patrol wrote 65,847 speeding tickets and issued 71,741 warnings for speeding.

For illustration's sake, the patrol would need to write 234 additional tickets — each with a $45 fine for going up to 10 mph over the posted speed limit, not including court costs — to cover the state’s added expense for updating signs. Not that the patrol worries about the revenue side.

Legislators didn’t allocate additional money to change the signs, but the Kansas Department of Transportation isn’t complaining.

“They did authorize a new program again last year,” said Steve Swartz, a department spokesman, referring to the $8 billion T-Works program that will finance projects for the next 10 years, “so we’re happy with that.”


formerfarmer 6 years, 9 months ago

Hopefully the KHP won't worry about the decrease in revenues. I thought their mission was law enforcement, not revenue generation.

If they were really worried about revenue generation, they could write everyone who is at least one MPH over the speed limit.

isoscelesnewton 6 years, 9 months ago

This will make my daily walks along the turnpike just a little bit more dangerous...

MisterBooster 6 years, 9 months ago

Mister Booster thinks that is a bad idea, Isosceles. Mister Booster lost his best kittyhood friend that way.

dubiousfrown 6 years, 9 months ago

Hey triangle, are you the guy in the red and white striped shirt with the little red and white hat? WTH are you doing out there on those walks anyway?

Westley 6 years, 9 months ago

I've been wondering where Waldo had gotten off to. Now I can return to searching for the six-fingered man.

Sean Livingstone 6 years, 9 months ago

You're not supposed to cycle or walk along the turnpike... :)

mfagan 6 years, 9 months ago

Hello, formerfarmer. I can assure you, the KHP isn't concerned about the revenue side of things. When I asked the trooper about revenue information, he explained to me -- quite clearly -- that the patrol doesn't track such information. He was able to tell me how many tickets the patrol had written, and how many warnings had been issued, but he didn't have any info about the revenue side. -Mark Fagan

Steve Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

Thats probably because they have to issue a certain amount on their watch. It all = revenue. However you want to put it .

Edwin Rothrock 6 years, 9 months ago

Maybe KHP can use the grace period to write more tickets for inattentive driving and failure to stay in the right lane except to pass. Decreasing the number of people camping in the left lane and/or texting would improve safety on divided highways more than any speed limit or cable barrier. And those laws are already on the books, we just need to enforce them.

grimpeur 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes, same goes for phone use. See the phone, write the ticket. Big ticket. I'm thinking $300 or so.

TimW 6 years, 9 months ago

...I don't want to stray off topic, but about the staying in the right lane except to pass thing. I know Kansas isn't the only state with this regulation, but when it comes to stuff like this why can't we have uniform traffic laws throughout the nation?

I remember arguing with my wife about this one when we moved out here. I'm cruising down I-70, in the left lane and she kept shouting at me to move over and I couldn't figure out why. When I learned to drive it was: Left lane - passing lane Center lane - travel lane Right lane - for entering/exiting traffic and low speed vehicles

In the case of a two-lane highway the passing lane disappears.

I've still got the (horribly outdated, so maybe they've changed it) Commonwealth issued driver's handbook to prove it. I've no problem staying in the right lane, but there was a time when if I were pulled over and ticketed for this I would have looked at the trooper like he had two heads.

How about uniform traffic regulations, including highways, throughout the interstate system?

TimW 6 years, 9 months ago

errr, including speed limits, not highways.

windjammer 6 years, 9 months ago

Where does the passing lane go? Get in the right lane where you belong.

TimW 6 years, 9 months ago

I have no problem getting in the right lane on Kansas highways. At least now that I understand, and am aware, that it's the rule.

The point I was trying to make is that while you see me driving by cursing that I need to be in the right lane were I belong, I'm driving by wondering why you AREN'T in the left lane where I was taught that you belong.

While I'm tooling down the highway in the left lane, I can't understand why all these people are speeding down the right lane just ready to slam on their brakes or make a sudden lane change when traffic attempts to merge on from the exit ahead.

I hold no illusions that my way of driving is any safer or more efficient than yours. My point is simply that while you were taught to drive one way, other people were taught to drive in a different way. With the level of mobility and amount of travelling that is done these days, wouldn't make sense if we all learned the SAME rules of the road?

kujhawker 6 years, 9 months ago

Driving in the left lane, even though you're going the speed limit, tends to bottleneck traffic. It also causes road rage and wreckless driving when some very impatient people tend to drive too close, or lane hop. PLEASE don't be "that guy" who won't get over because he has to pass the trucker that's a 1/2 up the road going 65 mph...

Curtis Lange 6 years, 9 months ago

Huge pet peeve of mine as well. I've honestly heard people say, "I use my signal all the time in the city, but never on the highway." What? Seriously, what kind of logic is that? The turn signal is mere inches from our fingertips. How hard is it to flick it up or down to let people around us know what we're doing?! Drives me insane.

Left lane campers are right up there too. When I first moved back from Germany (where the left lane is STRICTLY passing only and zero passing on the right), I'd just sit behind people in the left lane until they got the hint. I've since stopped wasting my time with that since a large majority don't get the hint. I've found in certain areas it is actually faster to get to point B while strictly staying in the right lane, never once needing to get in the left lane. shakes head

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

German drivers are among the best trained and highly skilled drivers in the world. But they also have a very high percentage of drivers who refuse to believe the laws of physics ought to apply to them.

And don't even consider getting in the passing lane if you're going less than 90 mph.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 9 months ago

The way I try to describe Germans drivers is this way: They know the rules and use each of them to their advantage.

The passing lane bit isn't 100% true. The majority of autobahn drivers are NOT going as fast as Americans think they are. Without having any data in front of me and only going off 9+ years of experience, I'd say the average autobahn speed is between 75-80 mph. It only seems like a race track to foreigners because there will be the occasional person that is doing 120+ mph past them.

The recommended autobahn speed limit is 130 km/h. Not much faster than our soon to be 75 mph interstate speed limit. Two distinct differences, however, is the MUCH better training/knowledge German drivers have and how much better the roads are. American interstates are trash (cracks, bumps, curves, medians, etc) compared to the autobahn.

labmonkey 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree with budtugly... If you get pulled over by a HYPO, you are doing something wrong. They are usually the most professional of law enforcement. Not the case with many townie cops.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

I have a couple of related pet peeves.

First is drivers who can't or refuse to maintain a steady speed. As you pull alongside in the left lane in order to pass, they then decide to speed up, making it impossible for you to pass without greatly exceeding the speed limit.

Second is the driver who is traveling 10+ mph over the speed limit, and thinks a car driving the speed limit or slightly above and passing a line of slower moving cars has an obligation to get out of the way before they've been able finish passing these vehicles. And they'll tailgate until you do pull over, just to throw a tantrum.

Just because someone has chosen to drive at a dangerous speed doesn't mean that they own the passing lane.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 9 months ago

Amen! These two are also on my driving pet peeve list. :cheers:

rtwngr 6 years, 9 months ago

I commute to work. I choose to drive 60 mph (in the right lane) because it costs me one third less than driving 75 mph. I have measured it and done the math. What I find annoying are the drivers that fly up behind me and then honk at me as they pass. The speed limit is that, a limit, not a requirement.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

A. The disparity in speeds is the problem. I haven't noticed anything in this article but I do hope that the Legislature also bumped up the minimum speed on these roads as well. Drivers do not "fly up" behind you - you and they are just moving at significantly divergent speeds. This creates surprise, both on your side and theirs. Surprise is the enemy of highway safety.

B. You should write more about your measurements of speed and costs. It is a relief to know that all those cheering on the higher speeds will logically be foreclosed from whining about the cost of gasoline, seeing that they are volunteering to be so wasteful of it.

Sean Livingstone 6 years, 8 months ago

rtwngr, it's fine if you drive 60mph and keep in the right lane. I also know that you can save 2-5 mpg by driving 10-20 mph slower. I've done the calculation, and it saved me $1.30 per trip. I only drive to Kansas City every weekend, so it's about $9 max for my entire month if I drive 4 times per month there. In short, it's not really worth it..... that's my choice... I never once complained about the price of gas...

Getaroom 6 years, 9 months ago

Some of you may remember that each time the speed limit was reduced on the KS Turnpike one of the main reasons was to save lives, not only fuel costs. I guess speed does not kill these days and to hell with saving fuel. All of you antispeedlimit fundamentalists can just run it wide open then right? Left lane, middle lane, right lane - the road is your canvass just speed away. If you are driving in the BIG Corporations Lane then Brownbackward will give you bail out in the form of a gasoline tax break, a Bible and a best wishes on your journey, unless you are gay and we all know that is wong - right?

Remember: The Bible says, "Though shall not kill" and the NRA Drivers Handbook Bible says, People kill people, cars do not kill people. Sound familiar? Are you driving with your car conceled, no proof of ID on your way to the voting booth, no medical insurance, a member of Sarah Palin's death squads? It is your America and you want it back the way it was - right? Remind me now, which America were you wanting back and which way? Oh, the one driving 100+ mph, no stop signs, traffic signals or speed limits. That is the patriotic American way isn't it. Bring out the firecrackers and flags guys. It is time to speed up the economy so spend spend, spend on the 4th. That is true patriotism folks.

Awh! Heck, let's just all do whatever we want to, whenever and however we want to. No damed Obama is going to tell me what to do and that includes how fast I can kill myself or anyone else for that matter.

Federal wide highway driving laws would be what? BIG GOV controlling even more. Well, then you could complain about The ObamaVehicleSpeed Overhall.

What a very enlightened conversation on current speed limits and highway courtesy and thank you so much for this fine intellectual discussion forum. Don't we all just love the Freedom to ramble on about any and everything. Get out there and drive, have some fun and after all it's your America and take a trip, drive fast if for no other reason than to drive fast. Sarah Palin took an American bus trip just for America(it wasn't political remember) - why not you! Drive fast, drive far and boost the economy. Brownbackward wants you to.

Joe Hyde 6 years, 9 months ago

KHP might be writing fewer speeding tickets, but with increased vehicle velocities the troopers will work more accidents in which property damage and personal injury are of greater severity. The faster traffic moves, the more violent the collisions at point of impact.

Lawrence_Pilot 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes! Please drive faster...gasoline consumption had been falling, and i was worried my oil stocks might suffer. But if enough idiots like you continue to drive more and faster, my stocks will rise and so will my dividends! Thanks, Kansans!

JesusLand truly is bizzaroworld. Only Kansans would raise speed limits when oil is $100 a bbl.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 9 months ago

Really? Guess Texas raising their speed limit to 80-85 mph was just a fairy tale, huh?

Not only that, but each model year cars are getting better and better gas mileage as well... While you and others sit back and whine about having to do 55 mph to achieve 30 mpg, I'll continue to drive along at 75 mph and get my 30+ mpg.

The other thing I continue to find funny is how many people keep clamoring about 'oh there will be sooooo many more deaths." Have you people even looked up stats for the countries/states with higher speed limits? Might surprise you to see the stats when you do...

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