April 22, 2015

To the Honorable Speaker and Members,
The House of Representatives of the State of Washington

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am returning herewith, without my approval as to Section 1, House Bill No. 2181 entitled:

"AN ACT Relating to the maximum speed limit on highways."

This bill presumes that there are portions of Interstate 90 -- and other portions of the state highway system -- where the speed limit could be increased to 75 mph without compromising safety.

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, speeding or driving too fast for conditions accounts for more than one-third of all deadly crashes in Washington. It's a fact that as vehicle speed increases, the amount of energy generated increases exponentially, and the risk of death and injury increases substantially as collision speed increases. Our state's Target Zero Plan aims to reduce traffic death and serious injuries to zero by 2030. Although the number of speeding-involved crashes is declining due to the Target Zero program, there are still far too many people dying on our roadways. An increase in allowable speeds before a thorough safety assessment is performed is simply premature.

Therefore, I am vetoing Section 1 of House Bill 2181.

However, I am directing the Department of Transportation to consult with the Traffic Safety Commission and the State Patrol to assess whether the speed limit could be increased without any compromise in safety.

Moreover, I strongly encourage the Legislature to reconsider the Traffic Safety Commission's distracted driving bill in the upcoming session as a way to further reduce traffic fatalities. It's vital that we make progress improving safety this year.

For these reasons I have vetoed Section 1 of House Bill No. 2181.

With the exception of Section 1, House Bill No. 2181 is approved.

Respectfully submitted,
Jay Inslee