In April, the Senate voted 45-1 to give the state Department of Transportation authority to set speed limits that high - up from the current 70 mph cap - for some interstates and other limited-access highways. Sixteen states already have speed limits of 75 mph or higher - but none on the highly populated East Coast.
Bill sponsor Sen. Neal Hunt. R-Wake said he wanted to give motorists the ability to drive a little faster on uncongested roads without having to worry about getting a ticket. DOT would retain decision-making on setting a "reasonable and safe speed limit" based of engineering and traffic levels.
Critics said raising the limit would mean average speeds for many drivers would creep up into the 80s, and they worried about what that might mean.
"We know that if the speed limit is moved to 75, then the average speed in those areas is going to be in excess of 80 mph," Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, said after casting a vote against the plan in April. "It's just a question of what the safety issues are."
Current state law requires the Division of Motor Vehicles to suspend someone's license for 30 days if the driver is convicted of excessive speeding for driving above 80 mph, or going more than 15 mph over the speed limit while also traveling above 55 mph.