Texas to increase speed limit to 85
The Texas Transportation Commission has made the decision to give one of its highways the highest speed limit in the country. Last year, the Texas Legislature granted the state permission to add this new speed limit for some roads. Interstate 34, a 41 mile toll road , will be the first highway in the country to go above 80 mph. Many are excited about the change. Commuters, those prepping for the holiday season, and truckers are excited to test out the new speed limit. However, some people are concerned about safety.
The toll road is said to be a huge money maker for the state. Increased speed limits mean more people can travel on this highway. Currently, the toll operator contract has Texas collecting either a percentage of the toll profits or $67 million up front. The new speed limit could increase the revenue to $100 million or higher. Toll prices have not yet been altered or announced.
Commuters are eager for the increased speed limit to make it easier to get to and from work. Truck drivers trying to meet deadlines while fighting traffic are equally thankful for the new 85 mph speed limit. However, there are many people who are worried that the benefits do not outweigh the risks.
The nonprofit group Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that when speed limits are increased so too are fatalities. Though people can get to their destinations more efficiently, there are usually more crashes because of careless driving. It’s a fact that the faster a car is traveling, the harder it is to stop it.
The American Journal of Public Health has also studied the correlation between speed limit increases and fatalities. A 2009 report focused on United States traffic-related deaths between 1995 and 2005. During this ten year period, the Journal found that as many as 12,500 of the deaths were related to speed limit increases. This report looked at both rural and city highways.
Though there are concerns about the new speed limit, the Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Veronica Beyer has said that driver safety “is our priority” and that tests have approved the new speed limit. Before increasing the limit, the Agency considered the highway’s topography, different access points, and safety issues.
Most highways in the United States go only as high as 75 mph. There are a few stretches of road in Utah and Texas have a speed limit of 80 mph. Some countries today have roads and highways that do not have speed limits. The United States does not currently have any roads without limits.
The new speed limit goes into effect in November of this year, just in time for the holidays. Texas officials are confident that it will make traveling easier, and that the increased speed limit is safe. The State hopes that the increased speed limit will lessen congestion and make it easier for people to travel. The revenue benefits are equally alluring to Texas taxpayers and officials alike.