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Monday, April 11, 2011

Texas Considers 85 MPH Speed Limit

Texas Legislature is considering raising the speed limit to 85 mph, the highest in the country. The bill has already been approved and is in the process of being reviewed by the state senate. They stress that, if signed into law, this only applies to certain areas where there are long stretches of almost-empty rural roads, and that TxDOT will only be allowed to raise the speed limit after traffic and engineering studies are completed.

Currently the rural interstate roads have a speed limit of 75 mph during the day and 65 mph at night, 80 mph on certain specified segments. Trucks are allowed 70 mph and 65 mph at night. On the other hand, the urban interstate speed limits are 70 mph during the day and 65 mph at night.

The proposal will likely be approved for rural roads.

Some groups, however, oppose the idea. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speeding is a factor in about a third of all fatal crashes in 2009. They also specify that higher speeds during crashes reduce the effectiveness of a vehicle's safety features.

Some Texans have raised their concerns regarding this: is getting to a destination fast enough really worth all the potential danger? Other views suggest that imposing a higher speed limit would only create drivers who drive too fast, sometimes even going beyond the imposed limits. Higher speed limits equal higher speeds.

Aside from the obvious safety concerns, some are wondering about the bill's timing, regarding fuel consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every 5 mph driven over 60 is like paying an additional $.0.24 per gallon for gas.

The bill is still up for consideration --- and drivers should be taking every precaution they can while driving, higher speed limits or not.

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