Utah highway

Utah highway

Can it be true? Speeding doesn't kill?

Don't ask us--ask the Mormons. The state of Utah's Department of Transportation reports that a new 80-mph speed limit led to no increase in speeding on some stretches of Beehive State interstate.

The Deseret News reports that on two segments of Interstate 15, the Utah DOT has found drivers have largely maintained the same speeds they drove, even though the limits on the highways rose from 75 mph to 80 mph.

The state's DOT took advantage of a new law from 2008 that allows it to lift speed limits in low-population areas. The two stretches of highway are in the sparsely populated southern half of Utah.

According to Utah DOT deputy director Carlos Braceras, under the 75-mph speed limit, 85 percent of drivers averaged between 81 mph and 85 mph. With the new 80-mph limit, the DOT observed that 85 percent of drivers stayed between 83 mph and 85 mph. So while the state has raised some limits, it hasn't seen an increase in speeding over 85 mph. It also hasn't seen an increase in car accidents, the paper adds.

However, the DOT has noted wider ranges of speeds driven--a higher differential--that could cause more accidents in some circumstances. The DOT also hasn't measured if speeds increase on stretches of highway still marked 75 mph.

Utah and Texas are the only U.S. states with speed limits as high as 80 mph. Until the 1990s, the state of Montana had no speed limit, Autoblog reminds us--only a "reasonable and prudent" law that allowed some amazing eight-hour cross-state runs in a BMW M3 by...um...some people we'd rather not mention until the warrants expire.

[Deseret News via Autoblog]