Texas could be the first state to have a posted speed limit of 85 miles per hour. But what impact would having the highest posted speed limit in the nation have on traffic safety and auto accidents? Legislators think it would actually make the roadway safer.
In a hope to alleviate traffic congestion on Interstate 35, Texas State Highway 130 is being constructed between San Antonio and Austin. Only a small part of the highway is still under construction; the speed limit has been set at 80 mph on the open section of the roadway.
Now the Texas Department of Transportation is debating about increasing that limit to 85 miles per hour. Last year, the state legislature enacted a law that allows speed limits up to 85 mph on newly built roads that have been determined to be safe enough to handle such speeds.
Critics believe that the higher the speed limit, the better chance of a car accident resulting in serious injury or even death. But traffic studies already show that most drivers on Highway 130 are already traveling 85 miles an hour. And traffic experts believe that the more motorists traveling at uniform speeds, the safer traffic actually is.
It is believed that 80 mph is currently the highest posted speed limit in the nation and can be found in two states: Texas and Utah.
Source: Reuters, “Texas studies 85 mph speed limit, fastest in U.S.,” 6/7/12.