Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill into law that could increase daytime speed limits for personal vehicles on certain stretches of Texas highways to 80 mph. Commercial vehicles would continue to drive at the current 70 mph limit posted for trucks in those areas.
The new law, previously HB2257, gives the Texas Transportation Commission the option to increase the daytime speed limit for cars from 75 mph to 80 mph on Interstates 10 and 20 in sparsely populated areas of Crockett, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kerr, Kimble, Pecos, Reeves, Sutton and Ward counties.
Nighttime speeds for cars would remain at 65 mph.
Sponsored by Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, the bill’s
analysis gives this reasoning for the change: “The vast size of Texas requires
many Texans to spend many hours on the road. Road travel is especially
challenging and time consuming for rural Texans who live in sparsely populated
areas of the state.”
Todd Spencer, executive vice president for the
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said lawmakers and the governor
missed a greater opportunity to do away with split speeds in the state.
of the main reasons highway safety has improved even as states nationwide
increase speed limits is because higher speed limits tend to eliminate or
minimize speed variances that are often key contributors to accidents,” Spencer
said. “It would have made more sense for lawmakers to use this legislation as
an opportunity to once and for all establish uniform speed limits for the
TxDOT is slated to conduct studies this summer and fall to
figure out if it’s safe to push the speed limit for cars up to 80 mph along
some stretches. The earliest speeds would increase will be January 2006.