speed limit

USFWS Mountain Prairie

A scientist says more than 6,000 deer are hit and killed on Wyoming roads each year, causing more than $50 million in injuries and damage to cars and wildlife. One scientist is studying the new nighttime speed limits to see if they really work.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Department of Transportation says several two-lane rural highways will see their speed limits increased to 70 miles an hour. 

The three highway sections that have been approved for the higher speed limit are US 85 from I-25 near Cheyenne to Newcastle, Wyoming 120 from Cody to the Montana border, and Wyoming 130 from I-80 to Saratoga. 

The legislature allowed for some two-lane rural highways to have their speeds increased, if WYDOT determined that the increase would be safe for motorists.

The new Wyoming 80 mile per hour speed limit will go into effect July first. It will impact large sections of I-25, I-80, and I-90.

Del McOmie of the Department of Transportation says the speed limits were approved by the legislature after a D.O.T. study looked at the impacts on roads, accident history, and traffic volume.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that will allow people to drive 80 miles per hour legally on certain sections of the state’s highways.  Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau said the idea came to him from a constituent who noticed similar laws had been approved in Texas and in Utah.

“And I started looking at the statistics and found that the statistics show that the fatalities have either not increased or they decreased both in Utah or Texas," Lubnau says. "And it just allows people to go 80 miles an hour in those places where it’s safe to do that.”

The Wyoming House of Representatives is considering legislation that would allow drivers to legally travel a little faster on interstate highways.  Gillette Republican Tom Lubnau is pushing a bill that would allow state highway officials to increase the speed limit on interstates to 80 miles an hour and says this is currently allowed in some other states. 

He cited a Utah study during floor debate on Friday.

The number of fatalities on Wyoming’s highways is down six percent compared to this time last year.

So far, 127 people have died in accidents in Wyoming this year, with four deaths occurring around the Thanksgiving holiday. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Troy McLees says those numbers should be even lower, but also thinks winter driving habits in the state are beginning to improve. McLees attributes the decrease in fatalities this year in part to new signs posted along Interstate 80.