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Texas Toll Road Boasts 85 MPH Limit

By Andrew Lu on September 10, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Leave it to Texas to boast the country's highest speed limit.

Construction crews in the Lone Star State are reportedly putting in place 85 miles per hour speed limit signs along a pending section of toll road on Texas' State Highway 130, reports NBC.

The toll road between Austin and San Antonio will allow motorists to zip along, much to the chagrin of some safety groups.

It's hard to believe that just in the mid-1990s, there was a national speed limit of 55-mph. Since then, 34 states, including Texas, have individually increased their speed limits to 70 mph or higher on portions of their roads, reports NBC.

But while the increased speed limits likely pleases motorists who are in a rush to get wherever it is they are going, the Texas 85-mph speed limit has reopened the debate on how fast is too fast.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that there's a clear safety downside to raising safety limits. The group cites research they say makes it "absolutely clear that high speed limits lead to higher crash deaths," reports NBC.

The research -- a 2009 study -- found that in more than 10 years of follow-up after the 1995 federal speed limit repeal, an estimated 12,545 American deaths were attributed to increased speed limits, reports NBC.

However, proponents of the higher speed limits say that Texas lawmakers have done their homework and that higher speed limits may increase safety. For example, higher speed limits can allow traffic to flow at its own rate, reduce conflicts between vehicles, and result in fewer quick lane changes, reports NBC.

Still, just because Texas state lawmakers increased the speed limit, this doesn't mean motorists are necessarily able to hold the state liable for any accidents caused by the increased speeds. A speed limit is the "limit." Motorists comfortable driving 75 mph or 65 mph, can still safely drive at those speeds. They shouldn't feel the need to increase the speed just because they're legally allowed to do so.

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