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Starting September 1, All Vehicles in Texas Will Be Able to Travel At the Same Speed

Last week attorney rsorrels@abrahamwatkins.com wrote about the Texas Legislature's attempt to increase speed limits for large trucks to 75 miles per hour. The attempt is now official as Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law.

Under the current Texas law, the speed limit along most rural highways is 70 mph during the day. This speed limit drops to 65 mph at night, and trucks are limited to 60 mph. Certain sections of Interstate 10 and Interstate 20 in West Texas allow car drivers to travel at 80 mph during the day, while truckers are limited to 70 mph. At night, the speed limit drops to 65 mph for all drivers.

One state representative welcomed the change, noting that Texas is the last state to hold onto slower nighttime speeds.

Effective September 1, 2011, large truck and other commercial vehicle drivers will be able to travel at the same speed - day and night - as all other motorists. And the speed limit for all drivers will now be a uniform 75 mph both day and night. (There are a few exceptions to this new speed limit, including an 80 mph speed limit for the West Texas sections of I-10 and I-20).

Gov. Perry and the Texas Department of Transportation believe this uniformity will make it easier for drivers. Although Gov. Perry is not without reservations; speed limits will only be increased to 75 mph on rural highways if state studies deem it safe.

The question remains, however, whether eliminating the speed differential between trucks and cars will actually make the roads safer. Some advocates for the new law believe that this will reduce the "interactions" between cars and trucks, as they will be travelling the same speed. But critics of the new law point out that it is more difficult for large trucks to brake, so the faster they are traveling, the potential for more damage in the event of an 18-wheeler accident.

Source: LandLinemag.com, "Texas adopts uniform speeds, all day," 6/20/11.

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