Texas Wants 85 MPH Speed Limit, Highest in Nation

The Texas House of Representatives has approved a bill that would raise the speed limit to 85 mph on some highways. If approved by the state’s Senate, which the chamber is considering, Texas would have the highest speed limits in the nation.

Texas currently has more than 520 miles of interstate highways where the speed limit is 80 mph, according to the Associated Press. The bill would allow the Texas Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on certain roads or lanes after engineering and traffic studies are conducted. The 85 mph maximum would likely be permitted on rural roads with long sightlines.

Some car insurers, however, oppose the bill. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high speeds were a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes in 2009. The faster you’re traveling the greater the distance needed to bring your vehicle to a complete stop and the longer it takes a driver to react to emergency situations, according to IIHS. If an accident does occur at a higher speed, there is a strong likelihood that the crash impact will exceed the protection available to vehicle occupants.

On top of safety concerns, speeding increases fuel consumption. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In the mid-1990s, the federal government deregulated national highway speed-limit standards, allowing states to set up their own speed limits. Before the reform, all states had adopted a 55 mph speed limit by 1974 to keep federal highway funding, with some rural areas able to travel up to 65 mph since 1987.

Since then, 33 states have raised speed limits to 70 mph or higher on some portions of their roads. Texas and Utah have the highest speed limits of 80 mph on specified segments of rural interstates, according to IIHS.

85 mph on some Texas roads gets first OK (Statesman, via Autoblog)

By Colin Bird | April 8, 2011 | Comments (27)

Comments 

J

good for texas. most states have unrealistic highway speeds so they can give out speeding tickets.

Idaho Guy

Exactly, J. The state in which I live, Idaho has a maximum speed limit of 75, yet is in the bottom 30% in terms of accident rates by state. If conditions warrant, 85mph is a safe speed to travel.

However, dealing with the "left lane hogs" is an entirely different story.

Waterboarding is not necessarily an inappropriate punishment for those folks.

Matt C

We all go 85 on the highways anyway 'round here. If you're going less than 75 mph on I35, you will be passed like a parked car.

Troy S.

The speed isn't what concerns me. It's the condition of the vehicles and drivers that will be driving those speeds.

Mike

Yes! count me in! I naturally cruise at 80-90 mph becuase you still feel like your getting somewhere, but it's not fast enough to be scary or lose control of the car.

Shorebreak

My Porsche will go 190. The speed limit should be set at 191.

Calvin Tait

Ever since 55 to 65 to 70 to 80 and now 85...all these talking heads say the same...more fatalities. Wrong. More (highways) fatalities come from people driving way slower than the flow of traffic. The number of fatalities in Texas per capita has consistently dropped every year since we started moving away from 55mph. Also, while technically we may have the highest speed "LIMIT", we don't have the highest speed PERMITTED as some states have roads with NO SPEED LIMIT - check Montana or North Dakota.

Zachary

I am a California transplant (born and raised in Metro Denver). When I first came out here, the first thing I noticed was the general speed limit for freeway driving went from 55 to 65 mph.

The second thing I noticed was the fact that, even doing 70 mph, I still have multiple people blowing past me at 90-100+ mph. There is, of course, never a Highway Patrol officer nearby; why would that make sense, right?

Needless to say, 85 mph is too fast, regardless of what the road looks like. Take a moment, enjoy the scenery or reflect; you don't need to be everywhere instantaneously.

He is a good friend that speaks well of us behind our backs.

Complaining is like slapping yourself for slapping yourself. It doesn’t solve the problem, it just hurts you more

mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I'm more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful.

Highdesertcat

The reason that Texas wants an 85mph limit on the Interstates is because that's the normal flow of traffic already, even for the 18-wheelers.

If you go any slower you risk getting rear-ended. For those who can't or won't go at least 85mph they are advised to stay in the far-right slow-poke lane.

And for those drivers who choose to go even faster to stay ahead of traffic, the cops are loath to pull them over. You rarely see them handing out tickets on the Interstates.

It's no fun to hand out tickets on the side of the road for speeding while cars are whizzing by at 85mph and faster.

I live in NM where the speed limit is 75mph and drive on TX Interstates often.

At 85mph in the right lane I get passed up all the time like I'm going backwards. But that is as fast as I can set the Cruise control on my vehicles.

I don't advocate 85mph on I-95, but out here in the West, 85mph is just the normal cruising speed.

People don't care about mpg or the price of gas. They'd get better mileage at 55 but they choose to go 85 or faster.

If you don't want to drive at least 85mph in Texas, take other roads so as not to endanger others by gumming up the flow of traffic.

Wow.

"My Porsche will go 190. The speed limit should be set at 191."

My Maserati does 185. I lost my license. Now I don't drive.

Steve D

Calvin Tait nailed it. Slow drivers are not safe drivers. They're inattentive, disoriented, have poor driving skills and bad reflexes, and often have poorly maintained vehicles.

SMG

If you've ever driven on I-10 between Sonora, TX and El Paso, TX (pit-stopping at Fort Stockton), you'll know exactly why 85mph is a good idea. There is NOTHING out there. It is beautiful (in its own way), but there is no reason to spend more time than necessary on those long, straight (nearly endless) stretches of highway. I once went to the McDonald Observatory out there and the guide said they chose that spot because - and I quote - "it's the darkest spot on the continent". If people would drive in the right lane (and only pass on the left), the speed limit could easily be raised to 100 -- the roads are so long and so straight that it really would not be a problem.

Driving recently on Texas interstates, the thing I, as a visitor from Britain, noticed most was the amount of truck-tire debris on the roads.
Maybe it's a function of higher operating temperatures, maybe it's a lack of regular inspection of treads and pressures, but I've never seen so many in britain.
Hit a truck-tire carcass at 85 and you'll have a nasty experience you might not survive. Unlike in britain, there seems no urgency to clear these hazards, they're often still there days later.
While speeds may rise, drivers reaction times get no faster, so when a truck spits out a couple of hundred pounds of shredded tire and steel wire in your path, you may have no time to avoid it. you can't go around it at 85, and you probably won't be able to stop either.

Higher speeds will mean more deaths, unless something is done to reduce the number of truck-tire blowouts that leave heavy debris in the road.

Rob

Just because the speed limit is 85 mph, it doesn't mean you have to go that fast. If you feel it is too fast for you to react you can comfortably cruise at 70-75 in the right lane and not be a danger to yourself of anyone else. It's much different than 55mph and having everyone else drive at 80-85.

John

I assure that Montana DOES have speed limits now. You can go 75 there but the Highway Patrol is more than happy to give you a speeding ticket if you're going much over 80.

Sherry

Are Texans really so wealthy that they don't care at all about mpg?

HC

"we don't have the highest speed PERMITTED as some states have roads with NO SPEED LIMIT - check Montana or North Dakota."

Um...check your facts. We have a speed limit in Montana and have had one for years--because "reasonable and prudent" was BS that didn't work.

Y'all want an 85 MPH speed limit, you have at it. Fewer Texans is never a bad thing.

Michael

"On top of safety concerns, speeding increases fuel consumption. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy."

Spoken like someone who truly has no understanding of physics. Your "fuel economy" (another of those doublespeak terms invented by our 1984 overlords) depends upon things like torque and power curves, weight, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, and thousands of other variables. It's not only different for every model of car, it's individual for every single vehicle. My 1998 Corolla, (1.8l, auto) is rated 27 city, 34 highway. I never get less than 30, and on trips I regularly get 40 AT 75MPH! I simply accelerate sensibly (this saves me at least 5mpg for all around driving and I ALWAYS catch up to those idiot jackrabbits before the next stop) and I use cruise control. My vehicle will probably get over 35MPG at 85.

Highdesertcat

sherry, it's not a question of wealth since poor Texans also keep buying gas as long as they have money.

Americans will choose to buy gas by cutting back on other things like Lattes and eating out. It's all about priorities.

And if you've ever been near the oil fields of TX, NM, OK, the Dakotas, etc, you'd know that we're swimming in oil.

It bubbles up out of the ground as tar in some places. We won't run out for centuries yet. Canada has even more oil than us and is willing to sell it to us.

Most Americans will buy gas no matter what it costs, or until they run out of money. That will be long before we run out of oil.

4$

Remove all speed limits on highways in NA please

Ed Handy

I'm still regretting that Montana's "reasonable and prudent" speed limit got repealed. I see nothing wrong with an 85mph limit on some roads, and wish where it's appropriate that California would follow suit.

Especially since there are a lot of drivers right now for whom 65 (or on a handful of very rural roads, 70) is just a suggestion, and 80 seems to be the real mark over which CHP will ticket if you're not driving like "that guy."

Highdesertcat

I have on several occasions traversed the I-8 and I-10 through AZ and CA all the way to the coast and found that the average cruising speed is 85, although many people went a lot faster than that, passing me like I was going backwards.

My cruise control will only let me set at 85mph tops, so that will have to do.

I often drive in TX and people actually drive a lot faster than 85mph on I-10, so 65, 75, and 85 are just numbers.

Max Reid

This is a cunning means to keep some Electric Vehicles off the highways. Is there going to be toll is this highway.

I’m satisfied to locate so much useful info here within the post. Thank you for sharing.

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