Increases in speed limits on portions of interstates 80 and 380 could be just a start for highways across the state.

"After thorough analysis and reviewing other states' practices, (the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) is piloting this speed limit so we can use the data to determine where else the maximum speed could be increased," said state Transportation Secretary and Turnpike Commissioner Barry J. Schoch earlier this week.

"Safety is our top priority in this process, and I urge drivers to obey the speed limit whether they're in their neighborhood or on an interstate."

According to the July statistics collected by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, Pennsylvania now joins 37 other states that "have speed limits of 70 mph or higher on some portion of their roadway systems."

Where it began

The history of the increase dates back to October 2013, when state Sen. Joseph Scarnati introduced Senate Bill 1170, which aimed at amending Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes "further providing for the maximum speed limits."

Wording from the bill was later integrated into the transportation funding plan, formally known as House Bill 1060, sponsored by state Rep. Jeffrey Pyle.

"This is an important step forward for our commonwealth and will let Pennsylvania join the other states across the United States who already allow for speeds of 70 mph and higher," Scarnati said in November following the signing of the bill into law.

"The timing of the speed limit increase is both acceptable and necessary to include as a part of the transportation plan ...

"Safety of our roads is a chief priority of the transportation package, and raising of the speed limit will take place only after required engineering and traffic studies are conducted by PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission," he said.

"This responsible approach to increasing Pennsylvania's maximum speed limit on interstate highways and the Pennsylvania Turnpike will allow for better traffic flow and provide for greater efficiency in the delivery of goods and services throughout the commonwealth."

Higher speed

penalties

The fine for violating the speed limit is $42.50 for violating a maximum speed limit of 65 mph or higher or $35 for violating any other maximum speed limit.

Anyone exceeding the speed limit by more than 5 mph shall pay an additional fine of $2 per mile for each mile in excess of 5 mph over the maximum speed limit.