Oklahoma To See New Road Laws Starting Nov. 1

Monday, October 28th 2019, 10:51 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

A couple of new laws will be impacting every driver in Oklahoma.

One of those laws may raise the speed limit on some Oklahoma roadways. Another is aimed at keeping drivers on the side of the road safer. Moving over and slowing down for certain emergency vehicles is already the law in Oklahoma, but until Senate Bill 89 passed it was confusing for many drivers.

“You only had to pull over if there was a certain combination of colored lights,” said AAA spokesperson Mark Madeja.

The new law, going into effect Friday, now says drivers have to move over at least one lane from all vehicles with flashing lights.

If they can't move over, then they need to slow down, or risk getting a ticket.

“They are dangerous jobs with first responders,” Madeja said. “We lose people on a weekly basis."

A study from the CDC says 191 people in the towing industry were killed on the job from 2011 to 2016, many on the side of the roadway.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said more than 150 law enforcement officers have been also been hit and killed on the side of roads since 1997.

"I can see that they're doing their jobs, trying to help people as much as they can,” said driver Tonry Roberts.

Roberts said he's also on board with House Bill 1071, which could raise speeds on turnpikes and rural highways.

"It would be beneficial because people already do go that limit. There's a fast lane and slow lane, and not everybody stays the speed limit,” Roberts said.

The speed limit could now be a max of 80 miles per hour on turnpikes and 75 on rural highways. Drivers like Roberts, a University of Tulsa senior who drives across states for interviews, said it will make traveling easier.

"Being able to travel is kinda tiresome,” Roberts said. “But the faster you go, the faster you get there."

However, the speed limit change doesn’t take effect immediately.

The Oklahoma Turnpike authority will have to decide if they'll raise the speeds to 80.

Right now, the highest speeds on Oklahoma roadways is 75.

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