The House’s Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee has approved for action by the entire House of Representatives a bill that sets a speed limit of 10 to 15 miles per hour for vehicles driving on non-primary, secondary roads in residential areas.
House Bill 21-46 originally proposed a speed limit of 5 miles per hour for vehicles driving on secondary roads in residential areas but the JGO Committee, chaired by Rep. Joel C. Camacho (Rep.-Saipan), changed that to 10-15 mph.
Under the amended House Bill 21-46, all vehicles travelling on non-primary, secondary roads in residential areas shall not be driven at a speed greater than 15 miles per hour where the roads are paved and 10 miles per hour where the roads are unpaved.
Rep. Marco T. Peter (Rep.-Saipan), who is the main author of the bill, in an interview said there’s a lot of community concerns about the issue, especially in Precinct 3, where there are unpaved roads. In particular, in the Mt. Tapochau area, the tourist site is at the top, and many motorists speed up toward the mountain. He said the residences in that area are right on the unpaved road.
House Bill 21-46 will now go to the full House for a vote.
Peter said the bill is intended to protect the safety of many children who walk on unpaved roads in residential areas, not only on Saipan but also on Tinian and Rota.
At present, there is no law that establishes speed limit specifically for secondary roads in residential areas.
Under the current law, the speed limit is 45 miles per hour on the main roads and a 10-miles per hour limit within school zones.
Peter stated in his legislation that secondary roads can be found in various areas in the CNMI such as villages, commercial districts, tourist sites, and other places.
Many motorists, he said, especially those who are unfamiliar with practicing safe and prudent driving standards, tend to drive at great speed within secondary roads.
Peter said the inappropriate actions of these motorists have proven to be a great nuisance to the communities and pose a great threat to public safety.
He said it is imperative to set a proper speed limit within the secondary roads in order to better protect the communities and enable them to feel safe outside of their homes and businesses.