SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that the speed limit has been increased to 80 mph in several areas of the state.

Following recently completed speed studies on several rural freeway sections, UDOT crews installed new 80 mph speed limit signs this week on I-80 from the Nevada border to state Route 36; I-15 between north Leeds and Santaquin, with sections of 75 mph zones through two mountain passes and Cedar City; and I-15 and I-84 from the Brigham City north interchange to the Idaho border.

UDOT stated that the speed limit increase was the result of HB83, passed during the 2013 Legislature, which allowed the department to study and establish speed limits higher than 75 mph on interstates.

UDOT’s data from speed studies of existing 80 mph zones showed that vehicle crashes have slightly dropped over the past three years, attributed to more vehicles traveling at the same speeds and less variation in the speed of surrounding vehicles.

— Jasen Lee