It probably comes as no surprise that the new 70 mph speed limit on rural interstates in Ohio is wildly popular with drivers.
Of nine drivers interviewed last week at a rest stop on Interstate 71, eight enthusiastically welcomed the change.
“I love it!” said Ray Kinczyk, 26, of Columbus. “The faster the better for me.”
His friend, Kari Barnes, agreed.
“It makes a difference, because I have family in Cincinnati so I visit them a lot, back and forth,” said Barnes, 26. “And I’m able to get there a little bit quicker now.”
Like many drivers, Kinczyk and Barnes admit to routinely driving over the limit. But not too much.
“At 65 we were probably going no more than 73, I’d say,” Barnes said. “We try to keep it under the 10 mph window there.
“We’ve been going back and forth to Chicago for about seven years now, and neither of us has ever gotten a ticket. And we never really go over 10 mph.”
It’s not just the youngsters who stretch the limit, either.
Marianne, 75, and Marshall Kammerud, 79, of Columbus, also say they’re big fans of the new limit.
“I love it,” Marianne said. “And here’s the other thing: If you’re going east to west, Indiana is 70 mph. It seems odd not to have it consistent.”
She said she regularly drove about 70 mph before the speed limit change, but she now drives only 72.
“It doesn’t feel comfortable to go 75,” Marianne said.
Steve Gruen, of Cincinnati, said he likes the new speed limit “fine.”
“It helps me get where I’m going a little quicker,” said the 41-year-old car salesman who was on his way to Cleveland to drop off a car.
But, unlike most drivers interviewed, Gruen says he tries to keep exactly to the speed limit.
“There are less complications that way,” he said. “So I just set the cruise control for 65 and just get where I’m going. And now I’m staying right at 70.”
Only one driver interviewed, Judy Panioto, of Cincinnati, didn’t like the speed limit boost.
“No. I think 65 is more than sufficient,” said Panioto, 79. “At 70, you’re just asking for problems, especially with all the construction.”
In a 65-mph zone, Panioto says she drives between 60 and 65. In a 70 mph zone, she drives … 65.
“I put it on cruise control, and I don’t stop.”
But drivers like John Robinson, of Independency, Ky., are probably more the norm.
“I’d like an 80 mph speed limit, actually,” Robinson, a 58-year-old firefighter/paramedic, said with a laugh.
“No, I think (70 mph) is appropriate the way highways are designed today and all the safety features in the cars,” he said. “I don’t know what all the statistics say, but I think it’s safer to travel at those speeds now. In fact, I’d like to see it a little bit higher, actually.”
And how fast is he driving in 70-mph zones now?
“Uh, 79,” he said with a sheepish grin. “Just 1 mile per hour under the 10 over, to keep the blue lights off my butt.”