The speed limit increased on a number of Oklahoma turnpikes Thursday. This impacts more than 100 miles worth of roads throughout the state.
These speed limits will be raised to 80 mph. Officials with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said while this increase is appropriate, it's still important for drivers to travel with caution.
“We pay particular attention to something called the 85th percentile, and that's the speed where 85% of the traffic is traveling at that speed,” said Tim Gatz, Director of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
They will begin changing signs over the next two months. Gatz said there will be changes on the Turner, Muskogee, Cherokee, Indian Nation, as well as H.E. Bailey and Kickapoo turnpikes.But officials said with increased speeds, comes increased enforcement.
“We want people to make sure they're paying attention,” said Trooper Mystal Perkins, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “Staying off their cell phones, driving safe, following the legally posted speed limits.”
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, speed is the number one contributing factor in all fatality crashes in the state. In 2019, 112 people lost their lives due to speed-related crashes.
“That's our main priority is keeping everyone safe,” said Perkins. “So, we will be out and enforcing it very strictly because we want people to know this is the maximum, this is the law.”
Gatz said if they see an uptick in accidents, they'll be prepared.
“If we begin to see accident increases or problems begin to materialize out on the network we'll come back and we will adjust those speed limits accordingly,” said Gatz.