From The Gainesville Sun:
It is a shame it took a massive pileup and the loss of lives to get state transportation officials to finally confront what has long been known to be serious public safety problems along a stretch of I-75 south of Gainesville.
Indeed, even after the January crash that killed 11 people — on a smoke-and-fog-shrouded Paynes Prairie — it still required the intervention of state Rep. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, to secure the funding necessary to post some long-needed electronic warning signs and other safety devices on that dangerous stretch of I-75. We trust that Gov. Rick Scott will not veto that funding.
Now there are plans to install the signs, traffic monitoring cameras, fog sensors and other technologies to help detect unsafe highway conditions and provide timely warnings to motorists. All overdue, but welcome.
While they are at it, state transportation officials should also take seriously a request from Gainesville and Alachua County commissioners to consider reducing the speed limit along the stretch of I-75 that runs through the prairie and into Gainesville.
While 70 mph is the uniform speed limit for interstate highways in Florida, it is certainly not unprecedented for the state Department of Transportation to designate special speed zones in urban areas or in areas where potentially hazardous conditions (like frequent fog) demand them.
The DOT has been reluctant to consider slower speeds in the past, even though the stretch of I-75 coming into Gainesville from the south has for years had a reputation as a sort of "Bermuda Triangle" for its frequency of accidents.
If a legitimate case can be made for slowing interstate traffic coming into and through Gainesville, DOT should do so. It is a truism that speed kills.