Rep. Dan Winslow Wants to Increase the Speed Limit to 70

He says going 65 mph is just too slow for state highways.

State Representative Dan Winslow should change his last name to Win-fast.

Winslow is pushing for changes to the Massachusetts speed limit laws, asking that they be raised from 65 to 70 mph on the state’s major highways. “Massachusetts is in the minority of states with a maximum speed limit of 65,” he said in a phone interview. “Most are 70 or higher, even in urbanized areas.”

Winslow brought his proposal before the state’s Committee on Transportation on Tuesday, along with a graph showing how Massachusetts is lagging behind surrounding states when it comes to speed limits.

So why is increasing the legal speed limit by five miles per hour so important to Winslow? Simple, he said: efficiency.

“Our highways were designed for 70, and cars are more efficient and safe than they were years ago. And if you can shave off some travel time, it’s got to be good for business and the economy,” he said. “There is no reason not to have a speed limit of 70 miles per hour. In most peoples experiences, if you are doing 65 on the highway, you are getting passed by other vehicles.”

Winslow said he would like to see the speed limit go up on the Mass Pike, 495, 128 outside of the urban core, and even on parts of I-93, headed into New Hampshire. “Once you hit New Hampshire it’s 70 anyway. It’s the same road, folks,” he said.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in 2013, New Hampshire raised the speed limit from 65 to 70 on the portion of I-93 from mile marker 45 to the Vermont border.

He acknowledged that some people expressed concerns that people would potentially abuse the limit increase, but said the limit is 65 now, and people are still driving faster, based on a lack of law enforcement. “What it will do is it will get us to where we are going faster,” he said, since people are already approaching 70 mph, anyway.

Massachusetts is one of 11 states where drivers are asked to obey the 65 mph limits. Eight of those states are located on the East Coast.