Can’t drive 55? California considers no speed limits on certain highway lanes

Shane McGlaun - Feb 21, 2019, 7:03 am CST
Can’t drive 55? California considers no speed limits on certain highway lanes

Sammy Hagar must be proud right now. California state senator John Moorlach, a Republican from Orange County, has introduced a bill in the state legislature that could bring autobahn-style unlimited lanes to California highways. The bill seeks to add lanes to north and southbound Interstate 5 and State Route 99 that would have no speed limits.

The bill doesn’t state where specifically these unlimited lanes would be added, but local reports indicate the lanes would run from Stockton to Bakersfield, a distance of about 240 miles via I-5 or 230 miles via State Route 99. These lanes would have no speed limits; the bill would suspend the current California statute that governs speeds above 100 mph in those lanes.

Current statutes see drivers moving over 100 mph being fined $500 for a first offense, the second offense in three years would cost drivers $750, and under the current rules, a third offense is a $1,000 fine and suspension of the driver’s license. Funding for the construction of these unlimited lanes would come from the California Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund with no cost for the project offered.

The bill is positioned as a way to cut idling in traffic and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The move would also help ease gridlock and make long distance traveling faster. A project to build a high-speed railway in California was canceled recently, and the unlimited speed lane bill would help make up for that loss.

Moorlach notes that accidents on Germany’s unlimited autobahn stretches are less frequent than accidents on American highways. One thing the bill doesn’t address is what sort of driver training would be needed for those using the lanes if any, Germany has much tougher driver education requirements. If approved, California would have the highest speed limits in the entire country. Currently, the highest speed limit is in Texas on a stretch of State Highway 130 at 85 mph.

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