Published April 07, 2011
In Texas, it seems 80 mph just isn't fast enough.
A bill passed in the state House of Representatives would raise the speed limit to 85 miles per hour on certain long stretches of road or designated lanes. The Senate is working on a similar proposal.
If the bill becomes a law, Texas will have the highest speed limit in the country.
More than 500 miles of interstate, particularly in West Texas, are already set at 80 miles per hour, and would be candidates for the change.
Some worry raising the speed limit to 85 miles per hour would cause more accidents and could be unsafe.
"The two things that contribute most to traffic accidents are speed and alcohol," Jerry Johns, president of the Southwest Insurance Information Institute, told Reuters. "The higher the speed limit, the more accidents there are, the more injuries, and the more deaths."
But officials in Texas say they would study the conditions on the ground with safety in mind before determining where the speed limit would be increased.
"You're looking at the road. You're looking at the safety features, slight distances and curvature," Cynthia Northrop White, a Texas Department of Transportation representative told MyFoxDallas.com. "You're looking at the 85th percentile of what people are actually traveling on that road."
Texas isn't the only state with a need for speed.
Utah's speed limit reaches 80 mph along certain segments. The limit was raised from 75 mph in 2009.
"In Utah, after they adjusted from 75 to 80, nothing happened to the accident rate," Gary Biller, executive director of the National Motorist's Association, told Reuters.
Many other western states have 75 mph speed limits including Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Idaho, and Colorado, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Montana had its speed limit repealed in 1995, leaving the highways without any specific speed limit until 1999, according to the Montana Department of Justice. The speed limit is now 75.