The Texas Transportation Commission has approved a new 85-mile-per-hour speed limit for a stretch of highway in the Lone Star State. The new high-speed section of highway is a 41-mile stretch of State Highway 130 that is several miles east of Interstate 35. This now makes Texas the state with the highest speed limit in the country.

Texans have already voiced their support for the move, as the I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio has become ever more bogged down with traffic. This move would certainly alleviate a lot of that congestion.

Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been vocal in its disapproval of the move, though there is not much that it can do. According to Russ Rader, spokesman for IIHS, "The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up." In support of this notion, a 2009 report from the American Journal of Public Health found that between 1995 and 2005, more than 12,500 deaths had connection with increased speed limits on American roads.

The 85-mph stretch will give drivers a leg up speed-wise over the 75 mph speed limit found on the fastest roads in most states. The only other roads close to this new Texas road are several highways in West Texas and Utah, which have 80-mph speed limits.

While the data brought forth by the IIHS points to an increase in fatalities at higher speeds, it should be noted that new cars in the last decade are safer and faster than ever. Many European cars are tested at Autobahn speeds, and have the safety equipment to match. These roads may not be ideal for older vehicles, but many drivers of new cars would likely admit to driving at 80+ mph speeds already. It will be interesting to see if this is the first of more high speed roads not only in Texas, but elsewhere.


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  • 103 Comments
      Making11s
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope this works out and spreads, but I have my doubts. There are a great many cars on the road today that shouldn't even be going 65 and even more licensed drivers who shouldn't actually be licensed. Again, I hope it works because I like to go fast, but we'll see.
      Karl Phillippe
      • 2 Years Ago
      The actual issue shouldn't be the speed limit, I live in Germany(Autobahn), for me the real issue is driver training. In Germany we have at least 40 hours of professional driver training before we can even take the test for a license. If one wants to increase the speed limit one needs to have properly trained drivers. I'm sorry just too many irresponsible people that overestimate their driving skills.
        Karl Phillippe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Karl Phillippe
        Oh yeah, the price we pay for the Autobahn, is high taxes and € 2000 for our drivers license. Then ask yourself if the country is ready for change.
      PatrickH
      • 2 Years Ago
      As others have stated the problem on American roads is not the dangers of high speeds but the dangers of crappy drivers! All we can do is petition the government to raise the standards for getting driver's licenses. That being said I refuse to live by the standards set for the lowest common denominator (aka horrible drivers driving poorly maintained cars) and raising the speed limits (all across the country) is a step in the right direction in my opinion. It's important to remember that nobody forces you to drive the speed limit. You can keep your happy self in the right lane and go 70-75 to your heart's content. I regularly drive 10-15 (occasionally 20) over the limit if conditions are ideal (AKA good visibility and sunny). Driving 80-90 mph on the roads of VA, NC, SC and GA is perfectly safe and should be legal to allow for people to get to where they need to be faster. It's important to remember that the old adage "people will just go 15 mph over whatever the limit" doesn't apply once you reach a certain point. This point is around 80 mph as vehicles' fuel mileage efficiency starts to take a big hit above that speed. I don't have a study to back me up but common sense would dictate that the majority of vehicles on a road rated for 80-85 would all probably travel in the 80-90 mph range. And it's widely known that the safest conditions on a highway exist when the speed differential between vehicles is minimized.
      chromal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Heh, 80 mph is halfway up my speedometer. Hopefully they are enforcing left-hand lane for passing only.
        michigan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chromal
        If they drive too slow on the left, then pass on the right
      CarCrazy24
      • 2 Years Ago
      Makes me want to move to Texas
        CarCrazy24
        • 2 Years Ago
        @CarCrazy24
        One of my favorite quotes “Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that's what gets you.” ― Jeremy Clarkson
      ryanandrewmartin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yet people will still cry when others choose not to drive that fast...
      Stumpy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with a lot of the comments here on Autoblog about Americans needing more training and testing before they are allowed to get a license. I went to a great school, with a great drivers ed program. Even our local DMV said our school had the best drivers. That said, I still felt like it was WAY too easy to get my license. I did not feel like I had enough time behind the wheel or enough training. I remember passing my drivers test and thinking.... ummm that was it? I am legal to drive now? ..
      tylermars.design
      • 2 Years Ago
      I disagree with their research findings, speed never killed anyone.
        Kris Derentz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @tylermars.design
        I agree there was a study that I think was posted on here years ago that said the same thing. Its a factor of all the other things like, someone cutting off someone driving fast, or poor maint of their car (tire blows due to worn our tires) or road conditions (ice / rain) .... its not the actual speed that is the problem.
      domingorobusto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good for them. Yes, the energy involved at higher speed becomes much greater, so if an accident occurs it's much more likely to be more serious. But on those roads out there in the middle of nothing the risk of an accident is also quite low, especially as cars get safer and safer at greater and greater speeds. I currently own 3 cars, and all of them are completely safe at 100+, much less 85, especially on the straight, well maintained roads that will see these high limits. So I for one am completely willing to accept a tiny amount more risk to more quickly get accross those huge boring expanses of America that these roads will cover. The thought of having to cross states like Nebraska, Kansas, or Texas at 55 mph makes me cringe.
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        Your cars might be able to maintain 100+, but it is other drivers that are the concern. Americans have some of the worst drivers HANDS DOWN out of 1st world countries.
          Gorgenapper
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          We'll get an edit button right around the same time that they fix the JavaScript of the site - which will be never, approximately, give or take a thousand years.
          domingorobusto
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          This is definitely true. I am a big proponent of a tiered driving system, where those that can prove that they have the skills, training, and equipment would be able to obtain a higher class license that would enable them to legally travel at faster speeds, preferably in their own lane/lanes that those with lower licenses would be unable to enter. But the logistics of implementing such a system are mind boggling, and unlikely to ever be feasible. So we will just have to hope that people don't kill themselves by the droves with this new limit so that hopefully it will propagate to other states. Because I do agree with you, the US is full of simply terrible drivers, and it seems like they're getting worse all the time. If it weren't for the increased capability of our cars, I shudder to think of what the highways would be like.
      Smoov Mocha Nut
      • 2 Years Ago
      Though I wouldn't recommend for less-confident drivers, I find that I often drive b/t 75-80mph regularly - especially at night when the highway traffic if fairly light (with 65mph speed limits). I hop on the highway ramp up to about 80mph & set the cruise control feature. We have 3-lane interstate highways running b/t major cities here so when I do encounter a semi or slower traffic, there's usually an open lane to pass. However, there is always some slow-poke moseying along at 60mph in the left lane & unwilling to move aside to let me pass or thinks they're the only person on the road so they don't bother checking their mirrors. But other than a few slow-downs, I cruise at 80mph in a fairly safe manner and always reach my destinations 30-45min earlier than expected.
      Fernando
      • 2 Years Ago
      I personally drive around 75-80 MPH on my commute along with the majority of traffic, and have been doing this commute now for about 10 years. I personally think what causes accidents is not speed but bad driving, aka swerving between lanes, speeding in inclement weather, slow driving on the left lane and most of all tail gating. I think if police were out enforcing tail gating as much as they do speeding it would drastically bring down the number of accidents. On my 40 mile commute I see at least 1 rear end collision a day either on my way to or from work, because of people following too close. It's simple physics you can go 100mph as long as you give yourself enough room to stop and react with the car in front then you'll most likely be OK. It's NOT a 2 or 3 car length rule it's a 3 second rule. The faster you go the more room you need to give, period. In Germany one of the biggest infractions for driving on the highway is tail gating, they fine you almost $400 for it and you lose your license for a month, I bet they have a lot less rear end collisions because of this. But then again if police were out there enforcing this then we would have less rear end collisions and the ambulance chasers wouldn't like that and would scratch the backs of their other law buddies to do something about that. Just my 2 cents.
        brandon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Fernando
        Because the revenue they will lose from speeding tickets is being made up by the revenue from the tolls. More or less, think of it as prepaying for the speeding ticket you would have received on the other hwy's....Only to a lesser extent because it is spread out among many individuals.
        Gorgenapper
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Fernando
        I never tailgate for that reason alone, there is simply no time to react if the vehicle in front decides to slam on the brakes for a squirrel or a raccoon, or whatever. The problem is people take that as a sign of weakness and cut into your safety margin because, OBVIOUSLY, you were giving them enough room to do so.
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Texas 130 toll road was built by the Spanish company CIntra. It currently splits off of I-35 just north of Georgetown and runs south, a few miles east of 35, then hooks up with Toll Road 45, which takes you back to 35 south of Austin. It's great because you can avoid the traffic though Austin, which can be pretty brutal. The Circuit Of The Americas track is to the east of 130, off of Farm to Market Road (FM) 812, south of the Austin Bergstrom airport
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