A new state law in Texas has done just that, raising the maximum speed limit on roads in most areas of the state from 70 to 75 mph. But in some rural areas, the jump is from 70 to 85 mph.
That’s right … 85. A leap of 15 mph.
If you thought the Texas Longhorn Network deal was swift, or Texas A&M’s move to exit the Big 12 Conference was a push to the future, hang on. Texas House Bill 1201, which authorized the speedy change, has the potential to cause many states to take another look at their highway systems.
Maybe they ought to keep a close eye on how much fuel is consumed at higher speeds as well. This won’t be a cheap transition. Let’s hope it is a safe one.
Texas authorities say they will be monitoring the situation. In fact, a study is planned to collect and analyze data to determine if this is a safe venture for motorists. The Texas transportation department doesn’t have all the signs changed over yet (the bill just went into effect on Labor Day and the signs weren’t completed by then), so not all areas where the higher speeds are permitted are marked.
While many most likely will be pleased with the new speeds, saying they now will be able to criss-cross the Lone Star State in less than three hours, others will be concerned about the safety factor.
It’s pretty much up to each state legislature to set speed limits, and those are reviewed annually. Though many states, such as Oklahoma on its turnpikes, have 75 mph speed limits in some areas, Texas will have the overall highest. Speed limits throughout the country vary by the type and condition of roadways and the area through which the vehicles are traveling.
In general, the wide open highways west of the major East Coast cities and away from mountainous regions have the higher max speeds.
So, we’ll see how well Texans do on their new super highways. And we’ll see if they’ll drive under the assumption that 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit is acceptible. That would push it to as much as 95 mph and increase the dangers significantly, highway safety officials say.
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