New bill to raise speed limit up to 75 MPH on Florida highways could impact insurance rates

Insurance agents more wrecks will cause rate hikes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A new bill that could raise the speed limit on Florida highways could also end up increase auto insurance cost for drivers in the Sunshine State.

Senate Bill 392 would legally raise the speed limit by 5 miles per hour in highways like Interstate 95.

But some insurance agents feel that might set in motion higher costs for drivers to insure their vehicles.

"I can imagine insurance companies not being as happy with it," said Lee Wiglesworth, a Delray Beach insurance agent.

Congestion and speed often lead to wrecks according to Wiglesworth. He said the more crashes, the higher insurance rates will go up in Florida.

"In rural areas it makes sense. You're going to go to Western Kansas and Texas and increase it to 80 and no one's there and that's fine. But 95 is already so congested already," said Wiglesworth.

The National Safety Council has already said that if the speed limit goes up, the likelihood for accidents will go up along with the speed.

But the Florida lawmaker behind the proposal said the rise in the speed limit could do the opposite and make Florida highways even safer.

"The most dangerous situations occur when we have someone traveling a lot faster and someone traveling a lot slower. So if people are already traveling 75, 80 miles an hour, that's what creates the dangerous situation when the speed limit is set much lower," said Democrat Jeff Clemens, a Florida State Senator.

Clemens said his bill puts the speed limit in the hands of engineers to set for specific areas. He does not see there being anymore wrecks and actually maybe fewer accidents.

If that happens, Wiglesworth said rates could go down.

"If accidents were less because of the higher speeds, then I wouldn't see why not. But I imagine with higher speeds, if it doesn't stay the same, it'll go up," said Wiglesworth.

The bill has already cleared committee and could hit the senate floor for a vote soon.