85 MPH Speed Limit? Maybe. But Probably Not in East Texas
The Texas House approved a bill that would allow the speed limit on some highways to be raised to 85 mph, which would be the highest in the nation. Not everybody thinks it's a good idea.
The measure is part of a larger transportation bill, and it would authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit to 85 on some state and interstate highways outside urban areas. The Senate is considering a similar bill.
Texas already has more than 500 miles of interstate highways where the speed limit is 80 mph. One such stretch of Interstate 10 in far west Texas “is as nice a road as you can build. It’s flat with a long line of sight, wide lanes and good shoulders,” says Rep. Joe Pickett of El Paso. “For people like us who travel that long distance, it could be good” to raise the limit to 85 mph.
Some auto insurers are against it. They think it's unsafe.
“Obviously, the two things that kill most people on our highways are speed and alcohol. Increasing it to 85, or even 75, will have a dramatic impact on the death and injury rate on those highways where it’s implemented,” said Jerry Johns, a spokesman for the Southwestern Insurance Information Service.
The insurance industry spokesman says many drivers already go over 70 mph speed limits, “But 85 mph is simply too fast to drive even on a flat road. Any little hitch can cause an accident at that speed. There is still traffic on those roads, and driving 85 mph is simply ludicrous.”