Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | 2:43 p.m.
CARSON CITY — Despite opposition from a bloc of Democrats, the state Senate approved a bill authorizing the speed limit to be raised to 85 mph on some stretches of freeway, mostly in rural areas.
The vote was 15-6 on SB-191, which now goes to the Assembly.
Sen. Patricia Spearman, D-Las Vegas, expressed concern that the higher speed limit would lead to more fatalities.
But Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, argued that Utah raised its limit to 80 mph and saw its accident rate go down.
The bill allows the state Department of Transportation to determine where the speed limit should be raised.
“You won’t see this in the urban areas,” Gustavson said. The bill is aimed at raising the limits on four-lane roads, he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, questioned whether the bill would lead to speed traps, with Nevada Highway Patrol officers waiting just past 85 mph zones, ready to nab drivers who don’t slow down.
Gustavson said there would be no change in how the speeding laws are enforced.
Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, was concerned about how the change would impact truck traffic. She said trucks might exceed the limit by going 90 mph and result in safety concerns.
Voting against the bill were Spearman, Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, and Las Vegas Democrats David Parks, Joyce Woodhouse, Justin Jones and Aaron Ford.