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Thread: Texas first state to raise speed limit to 85 mph

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    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    Default Texas first state to raise speed limit to 85 mph

    Texas raises speed limit to 85 mph: Other states could, too

    By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

    Texas' new highest-in-the-nation speed limit — 85 mph on a 41-mile stretch of toll road between Austin and San Antonio— could mean that other states will soon see higher speed limits, experts say.

    The Texas Transportation Commission approved the new speed limit on Aug. 30; the first section of the toll road opens later this year. Rates will be set then, but will be comparable to other Central Texas toll roads. Tolls in Central Texas average 20-30 cents per mile for a full-length trip, says Steve Pustelnyk, spokesman for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which manages toll roads in the Austin area.

    "There's a bit of an 'arms race' with speed limits, so we fully expect other states to push to increase their limits," says Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, a non-profit group that represents the states' highway safety offices.

    Other states are most likely to hike speed limits on toll roads, says Joshua Schank, president and CEO of the non-partisan Eno Center for Transportation. "That's something we're likely to see more of because federal funding for free roads is drying up," he says, meaning more states are turning to toll roads. "When you do that, it gives you the opportunity to offer premium services on those roads. Higher speeds is one way of doing that."

    Schank notes that the new multiyear federal transportation funding bill passed by Congress in June significantly increases loans available to states to build toll roads.

    The top speed limit in 35 states is at least 70 mph, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Texas and Utah currently are the speed kings, with 80 mph speed limits.

    It isn't clear just how fast drivers will actually zip between Austin and San Antonio.

    "People tend to choose a speed at which they don't think they're likely to get a ticket. In most places that's 5-10 mph over the speed limit," says Russ Rader, an Insurance Institute spokesman. "But it's hard to know when you get up to those extreme speeds what people are going to do."

    News that Texas plans an 85 mph speed limit on the new toll road, which runs several miles east of Interstate 35, reignited the national debate about speeding and safety.

    "An 85 mph speed limit is alarming," Adkins says. "Drivers will think they can go 90 or 95 and will be unlikely to survive a crash at that speed. Speeding continues to be the one area in highway safety where we aren't making progress."

    He cites a March GHSA report showing that 10,530 people died in speeding-related crashes in the USA and Puerto Rico in 2010 — 31% of all traffic deaths. Since 2000, the share of speeding-related road deaths increased by 7% while drunken driving deaths dropped 3%. Seven states — Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia — raised speed limits on at least some roads between 2005-2012.

    But John Bowman of the National Motorists Association, which advocates for higher speed limits, says it is possible to safely raise speed limits on highways — as long as engineering studies have shown that the road can handle such an increase. He points to the Ohio Turnpike, which raised the speed limit to 70 mph in the spring of 2011. It recorded the lowest fatality rate in its history that same year — six deaths.

    The new Texas toll road was "designed and tested for high-speed travel," says Veronica Beyer, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation. "Safety is our top priority, and tests have shown the designated speed is a safe one."
    Texas raises speed limit to 85 mph: Other states could, too

    I expect to be alone in this opinion, but wild horses couldn't get me on a road where people are allowed to drive that fast, because not all of them can drive worth a damn and plenty will be going 90 and 95. And to pay for the privilege? No thanks.
    “What are you looking at, sugar-tits?” - Mel Gibson

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    well, everyone knows if 85 is ok, then 90 is cool too, right?

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Woo hoo!

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    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Montana had highways they allowed any speed, as in there was no limit. There ended up being an increase in accidents and deaths. Then they made maximum speed limits again. 85 MPH means people will easily be going 95, even 100. This probably won't end well.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Ours is 75, but you're getting passed standing still at that speed. No one gets pulled over until you're in the high 90s or driving unsafe for conditions - like a blizzard when the trucks slow down to 80.
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Whatever. I'd rather see 85 on open roads that don't get congested than being stifled at 55 everywhere.
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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Hell even our 2 lane non-interstate roads out here are 65-70. It is so hard to drive 55 or 65 when I travel.
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    Elite Member holly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurent View Post
    Texas raises speed limit to 85 mph: Other states could, too

    I expect to be alone in this opinion, but wild horses couldn't get me on a road where people are allowed to drive that fast, because not all of them can drive worth a damn and plenty will be going 90 and 95. And to pay for the privilege? No thanks.

    You're not alone on that! I tend to be a speeder, but 85 is just too much, IMO as well. Like you said, many people are of the mindset that if the speed limit is at X, then it's OK to go 5 or 10 miles over, regardless of the fact that it's 85mph, which is plenty fast enough without going over.
    What they should do (and maybe they will) is have it set up to where if you reach your next toll under a certain amount of time, they can mail you a ticket for speeding.
    darksithbunny likes this.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Oh,dear. I thought it was 85 already. On I45 between Dallas & Houston most of us fly low. See a cop & we all behave at least for the next 10 miles,then back to 90.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    I have gone on a few ride alongs with police officers and they pretty much told me they don't mess with people who go 5-10 miles over as long as it's not in a school zone or anything that is posted under 30.

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holly View Post
    You're not alone on that! I tend to be a speeder, but 85 is just too much, IMO as well. Like you said, many people are of the mindset that if the speed limit is at X, then it's OK to go 5 or 10 miles over, regardless of the fact that it's 85mph, which is plenty fast enough without going over.
    What they should do (and maybe they will) is have it set up to where if you reach your next toll under a certain amount of time, they can mail you a ticket for speeding.
    BOO to that shit! fuck that! I loathe these red light cameras that were voted out (but the cocksuckers in charge won't remove them because they make too damn much money!) - if the cops don't catch me, I didn't do it!

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    Elite Member shedevilang's Avatar
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    that's it Mel the only way I'm coming to visit is if you come get me, I can't drive that fast and I'd have a damn panic attack just knowing people were driving that fast
    Silly bitches, twitchy links are NOT for kids!-Mel

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    lucky for you, you wouldn't be going that far! Silly! Houston is like 168/170 miles from my mom's whereas Austin/San Antonio are several hours farther down the road from me!

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    Elite Member shedevilang's Avatar
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    Yea but you know they are gonna make it statewide!
    Silly bitches, twitchy links are NOT for kids!-Mel

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    I would LOVE to see that!

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