Safety Called Into Question as Texas Gets Ready for 85 MPH Zone

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On California roads, being able to get up to speeds higher than 75 miles per hour is an exceedingly rare occurrence if you live in areas often plagued by gridlock.  So the fact that there might be speed limits of 85 mph in certain parts of the country might seem unthinkable to some.  But that’s exactly what’s about to happen in the state of Texas.

The Texas Transportation Commission has granted approval to the institution of an 85 mph speed limit along a 41 mile stretch of road that runs from Austin to a city 35 miles northeast of San Antonio known as Seguin.  The road will be a toll road that’s only available to commuters willing to pay the price, and this fact has caused some to wonder whether motorists would actually be willing to travel the road if doing so is cost-prohibitive.

Not surprisingly, some groups have voiced their concerns that increasing the speed limit would impede safety to drivers.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety cites research that shows highway fatalities tend to rise when localities decide to raise the speed limit, and statistics seem to weigh this out.  In 2009, the American Journal of Public Health published a report that showed fatalities increased by 9.1% when speed limits went up, and indeed, between 1995 and 2005, 12,500 people likely died because the speed limit rose.

Citizens in the state seem divided on the issue at the moment.  One person who often travels between the two cities says he’ll be happy to utilize the road for the fun of being able to legally travel at high speeds.  Another resident is a little more cautious, saying that he’s okay with the move but worries about the consequences of a tire blowout when traveling at those kinds of speeds.

85 or 75, it’s always going to be important to focus on the road and not engage in dangerous actions.  Whenever you get on the highway, be sure to put down the phone and drive defensively, as crashes at such high speeds often prove to be fatal.