Posted By RichC on June 6, 2006
The biggest state in the lower 48 is now the fastest … Texas is now home to the 80 mph Interstate speed limit, in some areas. Interesting timing, as I mentioned before, that this increase is coming when our nation debates our heavy petroleum addiction and use? In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that every 5 mph over 60 mph costs drivers an extra 20 cents per gallon â€” meaning pushing the pedal can get pricey in a period of high gas prices, as well as use more of our nation’s domestic and imported fuel.
There isn’t anything really new about the speeds people are traveling on the nations highways as cars and truck routinely travel at near 80 mph speed … according to my ‘unscientific’ study; in fact yours truly has been known to push well above the Ohio limits on lonely stretches of I-71 heading to and from Cleveland. Making it legal perhaps keeps a few more of us from breaking the law, on the other hand … it might encourage speeders to drive even faster?
Texas is now the only state to have gone above the 75 mph limit found in a few other states, which makes it the highest speed limit in the country. Lawmakers approved the increase after transportation officials found that 85 percent of drivers were already going between 76 and 79 mph on Texas highways. The signs are now going up along 521 miles of sparsely populated counties after the law was push through late last month.
Besides the loss of fuel efficiency at higher speeds in a time the nation is looking for ways to reduce our consumptions, the increase speeds also brings to question safety. According to some groups, the move is shortsighted and could lead to more accidents and deaths. This criticism was refuted by Texas transportation officials who point to data that shows fatalities dropped when the speed limit was raised to 75 mph on some roads in 1999. This also mirrored similar trends when the national 55 mph limit was boosted to higher limits. Perhaps the safety of vehicles, mandatory seatbelt laws and the manufactures adding multiple airbag systems are to be credited too?
To the credit of Texas lawmakers, the higher limit applies lighter vehicles only during daylight hours. Drivers of trucks, truck tractors, trailers, and semitrailers are limited to 70 mph and the limits drop to 65 mph after dark for all vehicles.