Pennsylvania may join 34 other states in raising highway speed limits

Pennsylvania may be the next state in the nation to increase its highway speed limit, which will likely come as positive news for many fleet managers.

Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine recently reported Republican state Sen. Joseph Scarnati of Jefferson County is currently seeking support for new legislation that would increase the maximum speed limit on Pennsylvania highways to 70 mph on certain interstate routes. Currently, vehicles can go no faster than 65 mph on rural highways, and 55 mph near urban areas.

"Increasing Pennsylvania's maximum speed limit on interstate highways and the turnpike will allow for better traffic flow and more efficient delivery of goods and services throughout the Commonwealth," Scarnati wrote in a memo on Friday to other state senators.

Following a nationwide trend
According to Heavy Duty Trucking, 34 other states have 70-mph speed limits on highways. In fact, 16 states have recently increased their limits to at least 75 mph. Pennsylvania has seen a variety of highway speed limits in the last few decades. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported vehicles were originally able to travel at least 70 mph until the energy crisis in the 1970s forced state legislators to reduce the limit to 55 mph. In the early '90s, that law was repealed and the limit was set at 65 mph. Advanced automobile technology and lower traffic deaths are part of the impetus behind the recent proposal, the Inquirer said.

Heavy Duty Trucking reported the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) wants to look over the legislative proposal once it is officially drafted. The state's Turnpike Commission has already come out in favor of the bill.

Benefits for fleet managers
Faster highway speed limits can have profound impact on the trucking industry. Fleet managers are constantly seeking ways to reduce travel times and save money on overhead costs. In the event that Pennsylvania does increase its highway speed limit, routing and scheduling software can help businesses come up with new and more efficient transportation strategies that allow goods to be moved in as little time as possible. Other tools such as fleet management software can further reduce costs by allowing businesses to easily assign specific loads to available trucks. As a result, managers can make the most efficient use of time and resources by enhancing the speed of delivery.