CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers put the pedal to the metal on Tuesday and approved a measure allowing the state to raise the maximum speed limit to 80 mph.
Assembly members voted 31-11 to approve SB2 on Tuesday, and the measure now goes to the desk of Gov. Brian Sandoval.
The bill, which is sponsored by Republican Sen. Don Gustavson, allows the Nevada Department of Transportation to increase highway speed limits up to 80 mph in appropriate areas, which are mostly remote rural highways.
Existing Nevada law allows a top speed of 75 mph. Gustavson said raising speed limits would help truckers and cut down on travel fatigue for all drivers.
Although the measure passed both houses of the Legislature, motorists might not see higher speed limits any time soon due to reluctance on the part of the state’s transportation department.
Department spokeswoman Meg Ragonese said the department wants to reduce traffic fatalities and was concerned about the possibility of raising speed limits.
“Our goal is zero fatalities on Nevada roads,” she said. “And we will not do anything we feel works against that goal.”
Gustavson reiterated that the bill would merely allow the department to raise the limit and wasn’t a mandate.
“This will enable them to do it if and when the time comes they feel it’s appropriate,” he said.
Only Utah and Texas have speed limits exceeding 75 mph. Gustavson proposed a similar bill during the 2013 Legislature that failed to clear the Assembly.
The measure passed out of the Senate on a 16-4 vote in April.