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State committee to debate raising speed limits this week

The idea of increasing speed limits on some Michigan roadways is up for discussion this week at the state Capitol.

The bipartisan legislation would set speed limits based on how fast most people already travel.

Sponsors of House Bills 4423, 4424, 4425, and 4426 say some rural highways could see speed limits as high as 80-miles-per-hour under the bills.

They say people don’t necessarily drive faster in states with higher speed limits.

“When I travel out west, there are roads that are 80 miles-per-hour posted speed limits. And, you know, people don’t really go much over that,” said state Rep. Charles Smiley (D-Burton).

Smiley says the Michigan State Police would study safe travel speeds under the legislation.

“They will go out and randomly check people’s driving habits in a particular area, and then they would determine if that speed limit that they have posted is safe or if they should adjust it up or down one way or the other,” he said.

The National Motorists Association says most people will not drive faster than they feel is safe, regardless of posted speed limits.

Similar legislation never got a committee hearing last year.