How Fast is Too Fast
In March 1974, all states in this country adopted the national speed limit of 55 mph as the maximum speed limit. In 1995, the law changed so that states could adopt their own speed limits. Most states (about 35) raised their maximum speed limits to between 65 to 70 mph. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) quotes a 2009 study that examined what the effects of that 1995 law change had on road fatalities. The study attributed 12,545 deaths from accidents from 1995 to 2009 directly related to the increase in speed limits. Texas was one of the states to raise its speed limit to 70 mph. In 2002, it raised it to 75 mph. In 2006, the state raised the limit on sections of Interstates 10 and 20 in west Texas to 80 mph. And just recently, the state raised its maximum speed limit again. Now Texas' speed limit is 85 mph. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Carol Rawson, director of Texas DOT's traffic-operations division, doesn’t think the new limit is dangerous to drivers. He points to statistics which show a decrease in fatalities since the speed limit was raised to 80 mph. In the three-year period before the 80-mph limit went into effect on I-10 and I-20, there were 103 traffic fatalities, or about 34 deaths per year. In the next six years, there have been 146 deaths, or 24 per year. That's a decrease, on an annual basis, of about 29 percent. But opponents say that Rawson isn't taking into effect other factors that have contributed to the decrease, such as greater use of seat belts, safety improvements in vehicles such as added air bags, and the economic downturn, which led to less driving. Time will tell if the new speed limit will increase car accidents and fatalities. If you've been injured in a car accident, it’s important to know what you are legally entitled to for any pain and loss you have suffered. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney today.