By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
A new law in Texas that takes effect this fall allows truckers and other drivers to travel at the same speed, night and day.
The new speed rule is welcome news at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The Association has long advocated for uniform speeds for all vehicles on Texas roadways.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said Texas truckers deserve credit for the new law becoming reality. He said their involvement with encouraging state lawmakers to support the bill – HB1353 – was a factor in the rule change.
Existing Texas law authorizes drivers to travel 70 mph during the day along most rural highways. The speed limit drops to 65 mph at night. Trucks are slowed to 60 mph on farm-to-market roads.
Sections of interstates 10 and 20 in west Texas are posted at 80 mph during the day for motorists while trucks are limited to 70 mph. Speeds for all vehicles are lowered to 65 mph at night.
As of Sept. 1, travelers no longer will need to concern themselves with all the different speed limits. The Texas Department of Transportation can begin the process of concealing or removing outdated signage on state roadways.
Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a bill to increase the speed limit on most rural highways to 75 mph day and night – as long as state studies deem it safe. In addition, any speed differential between cars and trucks will be eliminated.
The 80 mph speed limit in West Texas will also apply to all vehicles 24 hours a day.
Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston, said it was time to rid the state of slower speeds because they are outdated.
“This is a leftover from the past. Every other state has abolished slower nighttime speed limits. It’s obviously not a safety concern,” Elkins recently told Land Line.
Another benefit to the change pursued by Elkins is that the 75 mph limit will help truckers move goods in a more efficient manner across the state.
Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Frank Owen of Waco, TX, said the change will help close the speed gap between what a lot of traffic travels and those vehicles that strictly follow the posted limit.
“The change will really help cut down on interactions between cars and trucks. Everyone will be going about the same speed – as it should be,” he said.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Texas, click here.
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