85 MPH: Texas Considers Highest Speed Limit in Nation


highwaySome Texans aren’t happy about only driving 80 miles per hour. The Legislature is considering raising the maximum speed limit to 85 mph, highest in the country.

The Texas House of Representatives has approved a bill that would raise the speed limit to 85 mph on some highways. The bill now goes to the state Senate, the Austin Statesman reports.

We suspect Sammy, shown at right back in 1995 when California raised its speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph, would be pleased.

Texas currently has more than 520 miles of interstate highways where the speed limit is 80 mph, according to the Associated Press. The bill would allow the Texas Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on certain roads or lanes after engineering and traffic studies are conducted. The 85-mph maximum would likely be permitted on rural roads with long sightlines.

Some car insurers, however, oppose the bill:

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high speeds were a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes in 2009. The faster you’re traveling, the greater the distance needed to bring your vehicle to a complete stop and the longer it takes a driver to react to emergency situations, according to IIHS. If an accident does occur at a higher speed, there is a strong likelihood that the crash impact will exceed the protection available to vehicle occupants.

On top of safety concerns, speeding increases fuel consumption. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In the mid-1990s, the federal government deregulated national highway speed-limit standards, allowing states to set their own speed limits. Before the reform, all states had adopted a 55-mph speed limit by 1974 to keep federal highway funding, with some rural areas able to travel up to 65 mph since 1987.

Since then, 33 states have raised speed limits to 70 mph or higher on some portions of their roads. Texas and Utah have the highest speed limits of 80 mph on specified segments of rural interstates, according to IIHS.

{USA Today/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. They should do it on major highways in NY and NJ also, since most people drive at least 75-80 mph anyhow, even in 55 mph areas (which I don’t understand altogether why they are only 55 mph). People only slow down when they see a cop and if you want to drive within the law, you are left noticeably in the dust miles behind everyone else.

  2. I love the 85 MPH speed limit idea. I hope other states will do the same. I wish states like Maryland who are still slow at 65 MPH will up theirs.

  3. The New Jersey speed limit? What speed limit? I was riding with someone on the NJ turnpike and pointed out – nervously – that they were doing 100 mph (no joke). The driver simply pointed to the other cars who were PASSING him.

    There’s a speed limit for a reason. People’s reflexes have an upper limit. If you try to make them react faster, they just can’t. Result – ch”v more work for Misaskim. Remember, the driver doesn’t kill just himself – he may take a whole innocent family with him. Let’s get some sanity here while we’re all still alive.

  4. @Oldtimer –

    Yes, the CONCEPT of speed limits exists for a reason. Nobody is proposing an Autobahn here. But the arbitrary limits that are set on many highways, especially around here, go beyond rational reason. Examples – 55 on the Thruway, 50 on the Palisades (during decent weather, anyway), 50 on the highways in Queens – those are just money making schemes.

  5. Ridiculous new law. Suicidal high speeds.
    Take into consideration that you will arrive at your destination about 10 minutes earlier than expected: DEAD or ALIVE.

  6. Bad idea! Everyone I know drives at least 10 miles above the speed limit if they are very cautious, 15 or 20mph above the speed limit for those who are a little more daring. Until we have the technology to strictly enforce the speed limit within two or three mph, we need to keep speed limits unreasonably low.