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Bryan Pope
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Texas Legislature Recklessly Proposes 85 MPH Speed Limit

7 comments

So I’m recently reading the Dallas Morning News and saw where our State Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, has proposed raising the speed limit on some highways to 85 mph. Ironically, this proposal comes after statistics were just released that 2009 was the safest on national highways since 1954 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It is well known that speed kills and that drivers don’t drive the speed limit anyway on open roads such as the long interstates in Texas. The end result of raising the speed limit will be that drivers will frequently hurl down the highway at speeds close to or in excess of 100 mph. At such high speeds, a driver’s reaction time to avoid accidents will be much less when faced with situations requring evasive manuevering.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety strongly opposes raising the speed limit in Texas as it argues that there is a link between raising the speed limit on rural highways and an increase in fatalities.

This is my take on the proposal…if the speed limits are raised, then you will have a dramatic increase in serious injuries and fatalities on Texas highways. Maybe I’m just crazy, but does anyone else think this is a horrible idea? Let me know or better yet, if you are from Texas, let your State legislator know.

7 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Sounds dangerous and yet another way that consumer seemed to be ignored in that state.

  2. Ian says:
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    Speed doesn’t kill people, suddenly becoming stationary kills people. Ask the crafty Germans who did the death statistics on the autobahn. If people now have the freedom to suddenly change speed a greater speed, then great. I say raise it to 90mph. More freedom.

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    I attended the funeral of an 18 year old girl who was to graduate last June. She “stopped too suddenly”. She is now free of the burdens and joys of life. Her parents are now free of her company. Like the motorcycle riders who proclaim their freedom by riding without helmets, Ian seems to be involved in slogans rather than substance.

    This is a shocking story to anyone who takes life seriously. Thanks for letting the rest of the country know how irresponsible some politicians can be.

    Wayne

  4. Pamela Egan says:
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    I would have to agree with the author that 85 mph is excessive to the point of being reckless. The percentage of vehicles on the road that are built to handle such speeds with a higher-than-average degree of safety are relatively few, as most people cannot afford them.

    Such a drastic increase would undoubtedly and inevitably encourage people whose vehicles aren’t built to handle such speeds and whose skills may or may not be up to the task to try to drive faster than they are safely able to do so. At this point, their attempting to drive the speed limit makes them a hazard not only to themselves and to their passengers but also to any other drivers in their immediate vicinity.

    Thanks for sharing this one. I certainly hope for the sake of the safety of everyone on Texas highways that that particular bill never becomes law.

  5. Duke Ganote says:
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    Panicky pundit sows Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD)! In fact, in Germany, the average speed on “unlimited” autobahns is 85-88 mph, yet safer than on U.S. freeways. Former East Germany erased Soviet-era 60-mph limits in time after reunification; it would anyone seeking safety instead of headlines or revenue-generation to read the results.
    http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/en-traffic-safety-reunification-2006.pdf

  6. Senan Mashat says:
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    “It is well known that speed kills and that drivers don’t drive the speed limit anyway on open roads such as the long interstates in Texas.” Is it? It’s perplexing how pervasively common this myth has become despite abundant evidence to the contrary. We heard similar chicken-little predictions of highway bloodbaths when Texas adopted the then-highest limit in the country, 80mph, in 2006 for rural portions of I-10 and I-20 in West Texas. The media, citing hysterical insurance lobbyists masquerading as ‘safety experts’ (the so-called Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), breathlessly reported, much as now, that increased accidents would surely be the result of such legislation. After all, most driving adults couldn’t be trusted to decide their own safe speeds and would simply drive, lemming like, x mph over whatever the sign said. And what’s happened in the five years since 80mph was enacted? TxDOT reports that speeds have stayed constant, compliance is high, and that fatalities have FALLEN (look it up). Indeed, Mr. Pope himself mentions that 2009 was the safest year on record; this comes as limits nationwide have steadily been raised to their highest levels in decades. If this legislation does indeed become law, 85mph limits would only be imposed at the discretion of the professionals at TxDOT, who have already proven themselves highly capable of knowing how to set appropriate limits – certainly more so than those in the media parroting the highly simplistic and long ago disproven notion of “higher limits always lead to more accidents.” One would expect an attorney to be far more sophisticated with his reporting on such an issue.

  7. Duke Ganote says:
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    It’s easily debunked that “everybody” “always” drives 10-mph over the limit. For example, over a decade after raising the speed limit to 75-mph in South Dakota, the actual average travel speed finally neared 75-mph. http://www.sddot.com/pe/data/Docs/SPEED2009.pdf