Monday, September 10, 2012

Despite safety concerns, you can soon go 85 mph, legally, on a toll road in Texas

You say, as Sammy Hagar sang, "I can't drive 55?" Head to Texas, where soon the legal limit for cars will be 85 miles per hour -- yes, 85 -- on a stretch of freeway between Austin and San Antonio. The Texas Transportation Commission voted in favor of what will be the nation's highest allowed speed limit for a 41-mile piece of a toll road, State Highway 130, reports Nathan Koppel of The Wall Street Journal. This section of the less than remote highway is scheduled to open this fall and is expected to provide a quicker connection between two of the state's largest cities. (Rick Scibelli photo: current limits)

As you can imagine, the high speed limit has prompted concern among some safety experts. "When you increase speed limits, you have an increase in the severity of injuries," said Lee Friedman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who has studied the correlation between speed limits and traffic fatalities. Many Texas motorists, he said, likely will exceed the new speed limit and travel more than 90 mph. That would be faster than the average speeds allowed on those famous German autobahns. Veronica Beyer, a spokeswoman for the Texas commission, told Koppel that the toll road has been designed and tested for high-speed travel. "Safety is our top priority," she said.

No comments: