The Lone Star State Raises Speed Limit on Interstate Highways

June 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sign Denoting New Speed Limit Raise to 75 MPH in Texas

Signs like these are replacing 70mph signs across Texas over the next few weeks. 

Texas is known for some of the highest speeds in the United States. In some areas of eastern Texas, limits on the highways reach as high as 80mph. Interstate speeds have traditionally been posted at 70mph, but that is beginning to change this summer. A statewide initiative was passed and is aimed at raising the maximum speeds on the I-20 and I-30 to 75mph. The change went into effect this week with signs being changed beginning at the eastern state line and working west.

This increase in speed limits on Texan roads is part of a plan passed in 2011 to increase effectiveness and safety of state highways. Studies found that the majority of drivers traveled at 75 mph in 70mph zones. In what may be considered an oversight on the part of safety officials, no studies assessed the percentage of wrecks occurring on the interstates prior to the change, so this new limit’s effect on accidents and fatalities will be difficult to determine.

Still, transportation officials urge drivers to remember the posted speed is a maximum limit and should only be reached in ideal conditions. Weather, traffic, and construction all affect driving and should be taken into consideration. Urban areas often require lower speeds than the posted limit to ensure pedestrian safety.

Larry Krantz of the Texas Department of Transportation says the increase in speed limits is to keep everyone traveling at the same speed for increased safety, calling into question Governor Rick Perry’s stance on texting while driving. Last year Perry vetoed a statewide ban on texting while driving during his presidential campaign, currently maintaining that safety can be obtained through education and laws should not micromanage citizens. Still, without legislation against distracted driving, such speeds may be seen as extremely dangerous.

– K. Howitt

Category: News, Regulations