Texas made headlines recently when it approved an 85 mph speed limit on a stretch of toll road between Austin and San Antonio. As some incredulous folks in the media pointed out, that’s the highest posted speed limit in the Western Hemisphere. Gasp!
Utah tried an experiment with raising the speed limit on parts of I-15 to 80mph and has recently made it permanent. More such trials are planned.
Many in the media are shocked and are warning that the end of the world is nigh. They called the National Motorists Association to
complain ask questions, such as these:
|Is 85 mph a safe speed at which to drive?|
Yes, under proper conditions it is a very safe speed at which to drive. Don’t believe it? First, if you are already driving at that speed on some stretches of interstate highway you are in the majority so I don’t know why you’d ask. But if you’re not here’s the answer to that question the National Motorists Association has stated on its website:
Based on the traffic engineering studies conducted by the Texas DOT, it is. TX DOT pointed out that people are already driving 85 mph on other stretches of this particular road without increased safety risks.
This points to how speed limits should be set in the first place—based on the 85th percentile speed, which factors in the speeds that people naturally drive. When set this way, speed limits almost always go up (because they’ve been set artificially low to begin with), and accidents almost always go down.
You may have more questions. The media types who called the National Motorists Association did. Go to this link on the NMA website to see all the questions asked by reporters and the NMA’s response.