Speed limits in Texas could be increased to as fast as 85 mph on sections of I-10 and I-20 in West Texas.
The proposed bill passed through the Texas House as a part of a larger transportation bill. The Texas Department of Transportation would be authorized to raise speed limits in designated lanes and stretches of roadways after engineering and traffic studies are conducted.
Texas might be known for making everything bigger, but a high speed limit should not be one of our famous features, or infamous in this case.
The proposed speed limit increase would give Texas the highest speed limit in the nation with Ohio coming in second with its 80 mph limit on certain portions of I-15. While roadways under consideration for this increase are straight with a long line of vision and in mostly rural areas, it is still reckless to think people are responsible enough to handle 85 mph.
Even with perfect conditions, the idea of traveling that quickly is dangerous. There is no such road that is perfectly paved, that is wide enough, that is straight enough and immune to all Texas weather.
The biggest factors surrounding highway deaths are alcohol and speeding. In 2009, 74 percent of all fatal rural car crashes were by those traveling at speeds of 60 mph or higher.
How can drivers assume they have enough control of their vehicles to handle such a speed? People exceed speed limits all the time, but that doesn’t make it right to do so. Nor should one consider legalizing such drastic speeds in response.
In our society, we’ve subscribed to the idea that our plans and schedules are more important than the law and than the person next to us. For instance, one would rather text while driving instead of putting the phone down and driving safely to one’s final destination.
It is straight-up selfish to travel at speeds that quickly. Not only are you causing potential harm to yourself but also to your passengers and other drivers on the road.
The only way to make sure you reach your destination in a timely manner with your personal schedule is to leave with plenty of time to reach that destination. It should never be acceptable to use such extreme speed simply because a seemingly safe roadway exists in a rural area that is often one stretch of a longer road-trip.
There will be inquires into the engineering and traffic conditions on the specific roads this bill is considering for increased speed limits. In a perfect world, it would make sense to increase the speed limit on these roads simply because there isn’t a high possibility of accidents or fatalities.
Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and there is no such thing as a perfect roadway.
Bailey McGowan is a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Burkburnett.