Texas May Soon Have the Highest Speed Limit in the Country

Good news for leadfoots in Texas, the state may soon have one of the highest posted speed limits in the world. A portion of Texas State Highway 130, which runs between Austin and San Antonio, may have a speed limit of 85 mph. Critics say that a higher speed limit may lead to more serious car accidents, but some experts say it may actually be safer.

Highway 130 was developed in an effort to direct some traffic off of Interstate 35. Last year, the Texas Department of Transportation named I-35 as the fourth most congested highway in the entire state. Although a majority of Highway 130 is built and has a speed limit of 80 mph, one stretch remains to be opened later this year. It is possible that this portion will have a speed limit of 85 mph.

Currently only Texas and Utah have speed limits as high as 80 mph. In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed a measure allowing speed limits to be increased to 85 mph if the highways were newer and it was found safe to allow higher speeds.

Studies of the highway show a majority of motorists are traveling around 85 mph. The speed management director at the Texas Department of Transportation explained that, “The more people we can get to travel at a uniform speed, the safer the conditions that will exist.” He said further speed studies will be conducted to make a final determination of what the limit should be set at.

A speed limit of 85 mph would be the highest in the Western Hemisphere. It would be the second fastest posted maximum in the world. Poland has some roads with a speed limit of 140 kilometers per hour, which converts to about 86 mph.

Source: Reuters, “Texas studies 85 mph speed limit, fastest in U.S.,” Jim Forsyth, June 7, 2012.

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