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The price paid for high speed limits comes in the form ... The price paid for high speed limits comes in the form of safety as well as money (Betsy Blaney, AP).
The Texas state legislature is considering a law that would let drivers crank it up to 85 mph in some rural stretches of highway. But if drivers care about how much money they are spending at the gas pump, they will stay in the right lane and below the limit.

Drivers can assume that each 5 MPH they drive above 60 MPH, according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA), is like paying an additional 20 cents a gallon for gas. Additionally, aggressive highway behavior such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower gas mileage by a whopping 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town.

According to a GHSA survey of state highway safety agencies, Wisconsin, for example, has reported a noticeable level of slower vehicle speeds stemming from recent price hikes. Officials there say traffic volume is down slightly, but speeds are also down, which may account for fewer and less serious traffic crashes across the whole state.

Commercial vehicles are slowing slightly, State troopers report, with many traveling at or below the speed limit. That's not surprising because independent long-haul truckers are known for ruthlessly watching their costs, and truck fleet managers do the same. A handful of other state officials noted the reduced speed of commercial vehicles, likely resulting from more trucking companies setting policies that require their drivers to stay below a set speed, such as 67 mph. Some companies' trucks are wired so that fleet managers know if the drivers have topped the speed.

In addition to helping fight the cost of record-high gas prices, slowing down also increases the likelihood of surviving a crash. "I try to remember to slow down," says Eduardo Rodriguez, a resident of upper Manhattan in New York City. "But today, it's always hurry, hurry, hurry everywhere you go. Everybody's gotta be there yesterday, and if you do the legal speed limit of 55 or 60 MPH, people tailgate you or beep their horn. You can't obey the law even if you want to without getting grief on the highway."

In a high-speed crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a passenger vehicle is subjected to forces so severe that the vehicle structure cannot withstand the impact of the crash and maintain survival space in the occupant compartment.

Further evidence comes from a recent study that showed even a small reduction in speed can have a big impact on lives saved. In the report, published in the Transportation Research Record, author Rune Elvik found that a 1 percent decrease in travel speed reduces injury crashes by about 2 percent, serious injury crashes by about 3 percent and fatal crashes by about 4 percent. These reductions are critically needed, traffic safety experts say, as speeding remains a serious highway safety problem. Nearly 13,500 people died in speed-related crashes in 2006.

Nationally, GHSA members report that they are not seeing much noticeable decrease in travel speeds by passenger vehicles. "However, given the extremely high gas prices and life-saving benefits of slowing down, we urge the public to ease off the accelerator," says GHSA Chairman Christopher J. Murphy says.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      its done every day at rush hour
      • 4 Years Ago
      The highways and freeways are not Indi 500 for petes sake. People have an obligation to drive safe and have concern for other drivers and not put them in danger. Remember cars are only spot welded an bolted togeather they fly apart when they have a collision.
      • 4 Years Ago
      speed limit is fine the faster my truck runs i save deisel from 13 mpg to 20 mpg worry about the drunks not the good people like us trying to make a living
      • 4 Years Ago
      This new highway rule seems like a good idea. The speed limit in MD is 55 mph on the beltway and 65 on the highway. it seems like 70-80 is the common speed, and being a criminal law major, the law enforcement admits to only pulling people over who are doing 15+ above the posted speed limit (unless they feel your car is suspicious. If this rule passes, they should set standards like they did for the Autobahn, which requires drivers to not constantly drive in the left hand lane, and only use it for passing other vehicles. The new speed limit could work but they would have to set standards.
      • 4 Years Ago
      i drive a CROSSFIRE and a 300C......BOTH BUILT FOR SPEED
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, I can't believe how many safety freaks are on here. I drive I-15 from Los Angeles to Vegas and many times the average speed in the fast lane is 90mph. It has been that way for decades. The posted limit is 70mph. That stretch is out in the middle of nowhere where it is safe to cruise at 90mph. The dangerous part is that trucks are limited to 55mph in all of California. Having drivers going different speeds is the problem. The majority would drive faster if allowed to legally. That would let them fall in line with those who are going to drive faster illegally. Driving is dangerous, it always will be wether it is at 55mph or 85mph. If you want to go live in a bubble and lead a perfectly safe, boring life, go do so, but dont' force others to.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd be willing to bet that most people wouldn't stay at 85. I know I would move up and down from 65 to 85. Plus some cars wouldn't feel safe at 85.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's the only thing about Texas worth going there for.
      • 4 Years Ago
      freedom of choice. i think that is the real issue hear . you dont have to speed if YOU dont want too.
      Hello Steegs
      • 4 Years Ago
      I say, move it all back to 55 mph and get the price of gas back to normal, The revenew made from speeding tickets could eliminate our national debt !.
      • 4 Years Ago
      85 does seem a bit high even for west Texas, but I'd say it's a state by state issue. Higher speed limits make more sense in the wide open spaces so let them have them. Lower speed limits make more sense in the more populated areas back east. Let's let New York and Texas stay out of each other's business.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a simple matter of the Drones trying to control behavior. They are essentially gutless oxygen-thieves, afraid of their own shadow. They bitterly resent people who are NOT terrified of everything, and want to bring everyone down to their level. From how fast you drive to owning a gun to how much water you flush in your toilet, they will make the issue into the End of the World in order to make everyone else in the world as testicle-free as they are.
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