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How is Idaho affected by the new 80 mph zones in Utah?

If you drive to Salt Lake City often, getting there just got a little bit quicker. Utah has upped the speed limit on some sections of I-15 to 80 miles per hour.

The new fast zones included interstate 15 from the Idaho border to Brigham City, Intersate-80 from the Nevada border to Utah route 36 in eastern Utah and Interstate 15 between Santaquin and North Leeds in central-southern Utah.

The changes come after a Utah Department of Transportation study found fewer crashes happened on the existing stretches of highway with an 80 miler per hour speed limit, along with approval from state lawmakers during the last session

With the speed limit increasing in some parts of Utah, are the Idaho State Police seeing any effects here in Idaho?

The problem may be some drivers not paying attention to the different signs once they are in Idaho, and may not realize the freeway speed limit here hasn’t changed.

“Generally, people drive the speed limit,” said 25-year ISP veteran Sergeant Matt Manning. “They may assume that the speed limit is the same in another state and that’s just not the case,” Manning said.

During a one hour period on Wednesday, he pulled over two drivers for speeding in a 75 zone. He says he doesn’t pull over Utah drivers anymore than Idaho drivers.

But there are more factors to abiding by a speed limit, like getting the best gas mileage. Manning says you save more money on gas by going slower, and going faster could bring about a different cost.

“It’s really not worth speeding in terms of economy and also in terms of your wallet in a different regard – if you get a citation,” he said.

He’s referring to a citation like a $90 ticket the two drivers received Wednesday. He also says safety is a major concern when it comes to increasing speed limits.

Manning said as speed limit increases, so does the chance for a serious injury in an accident. If you hit someone head-on going 80 miles per hour, while they’re going 80 miles per hour, that’s like hitting a wall at 160 miles per hour.

He says it all comes down to common sense. Look for speed limit signs and only go that fast, even if there is traffic speeding around you.

“We encourage people to obey the traffic laws, to wear their seatbelts and to adjust their speed based on the traffic and the road conditions at the time,” he said.

Manning also says it’s important to look at where those speed limits are changing in Utah, and remember that here in Idaho, the highest legal speed is 75.

Utah isn’t the first state to increase the speed limit above 75. Texas has a toll road that has a speed limit of 85 miles per hour.

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