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Texas House Passes Bill to Implement New 85 mph Speed Limit

In the near future, the state of Texas may be included in the list of U.S. states with the fastest speed limits. Texas legislators are considering a bill to raise the speed limits on some of the busiest highways within the state.

Over 500 miles of interstate highways cross the state of Texas. For some, including State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham, Texas, who initiated a bill in the House to increase the speed limits on some Texas interstates, the 80 mph current speed limit wasn’t high enough. So Kolkhost introduced a bill to increase the speed limits on these roadways.

The Texas House seemingly agreed and the bill was passed. Specifically, the law would authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to increase speed limits to 85 mph.

Supporters of the new speed limit cannot say enough positive things about the change. Rep. Kolkhorst says, “They have high-speed roadways in Europe and there could be some merit in having some of those highways in Texas.” Others point out the time-saving measures the new speed limit will bring to drivers.

Opponents argue, however, that raising the speed limit only jeopardizes safety.

Jerry Johns, spokesman for the Southwestern Insurance Information Service, says that raising the speed limit by just 5 mph will have a noticeable impact on auto accidents and fatalities on the roads where the increase is implemented. Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, agrees saying, “We’re willing to raise the speed limit even though we know that if people travel faster we’re going to have more deaths on highways.”

However, Gary Biller, executive director of the Wisconsin-based National Motorists Association, disagrees. He says, “In Utah, after they adjusted from 75 to 80, nothing happened to the accident rate.”

But, Johns says, “The two things that kill most people on our highways are speed and alcohol,” and, “85 mph is simply too fast to drive.”

Republican Senator, Glenn Hegar, has introduced a similar bill in the state Senate where it is currently pending review.