Boccieri Says Speed Limit Should Start At Sign
Lawmaker introduces bill to clarify Ohio's speed limit laws

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) this week announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 219, legislation which clarifies that a speed limit becomes effective the moment a vehicle passes the posted speed limit sign. Currently, the Ohio Revised Code does not specify when a new speed limit takes effect or can be enforced, an issue Boccieri worries could lead to legal battles between law enforcement and drivers.

“With so many tickets issued by cameras, the state needs to clarify when a posted speed limit actually becomes effective,” Boccieri said. “In the Mahoning Valley area, there are a number of drivers who transition between interstates, state routes and local roads with varying speed limits on a frequent basis. I'm learning there is a lot of confusion after asking motorist and police officers, which sometimes give different answers.”

HB 219 was created after Boccieri spoke with a constituent about a speeding camera that was installed outside of Youngstown last year. After looking into what exactly Ohio’s state laws say about how speed limits are enforced, he was shocked to find that the Revised Code merely states that failing to abide by a speed limit is unlawful, but there are no further details on where that limit begins and ends. Boccieri’s intent with this bill is to clarify for law enforcement and motorists alike that there is a defined point at which a vehicle should reach the posted speed.

Boccieri’s bill also calls on the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to ensure that speed limit signs are visible from a reasonable distance away to allow for slowing down or speeding up in time for the sign. ODOT is already required to create scientific calculations about how to slow down in anticipation of a lower speed limit based on car size, weight and previous speed as a part of its Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Under this bill, warning signs of changing speed limits would also be required to be placed where drivers can see them ahead of time.

“It’s just common sense— the speed limit should begin at the sign,” Boccieri concluded.

The bill had its first hearing in the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday and, with support from the committee chairman, is expected to be up for its second hearing in coming weeks.

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