85 mph speed limit starts in fall for one Texas highway

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80 mph

80 mph is for chumps, as a new highway in Texas has an 85 mph speed limit. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A small stretch of highway in Texas is making national news and stirring some debate over speed limits. The 41-mile road, which runs between Austin and San Seguin, has an 85 mph speed limit, the fastest in the nation, which some say is unsafe and others insist is awesome.

The 85 mph speed limit proves things are bigger in Texas

Sammy Hagar once sang that he couldn’t “drive 55,” meaning the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit, as he kept getting speeding tickets. Hagar’s affinity for Ferraris may play a role, like the 512 Boxer in the video for that song, which, according to MotorTrend, is actually Hagar’s car.

As it turns out, he actually wrote the song while being given a speeding ticket for going 62 in a zone limited to, as one might have guessed, 55 mph. He remarked to his passenger that he couldn’t drive 55,  inspiration struck and a hit was born.

Perhaps he should take a road trip through Texas. One stretch of road is getting its speed limit raised this fall to 85 miles per hour, according to CNN.

A lousy 41 miles

According to NBC News, several highways in Texas and a few in Utah have 80 mph speed limits. In 32 other states, the speed limit is above 55 miles per hour, the former federal speed limit that was repealed in 1995. It varies by state, but 70 mph is fairly common.

The 85 mph speed limit is limited to a 41-mile stretch of Texas State Highway 130, technically called Segment 5 and 6, between San Seguin and Austin, Texas, so don’t think of it as an excuse to visit a Houston, Tx., BMW dealership, because traveling at the speed limit on that road will mean less than 30 minutes at the limit, according to CNN. Well, unless one wants a BMW, which is fine.

It’s also a toll road, built and operated by the SH 130 Concession Co. The project is meant to alleviate traffic congestion on Interstate 35, the highway that runs from Mexico to Canada through the Midwest. The Texas Department of Transportation deemed the limit safe, which earned the taxpayers a $100 million “bonus” from the company.

First rule is the laws of Germany

Critics have decried the 85 mph speed limit, saying it’s unsafe and akin to creating an American “Autobahn,” which will result in more deaths in crashes. Fans have said it’s about time.

In reality, the Autobahn may even be better than any highway we Yankees have concocted. According to AOL, it’s safer than any American freeway since, as of 2001, the fatality rate was 27 percent lower. Despite the lack of speed limits, average speed for most motorists is roughly 81 mph and only 15 percent generally travel at 96 mph or faster. Granted, requirements for a driver’s license are also much more stringent and require much more training than in most states.

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A good portion of it actually has speed limits; some areas have regular speed limits, others change with conditions, according to Wired.

The 85 mph speed limit comes into effect in early November, so anyone looking to get loans for a car that’ll do that speed easily may want to look into it soon. Though really, one might as well skip it; it’s a small road in Texas.

Sources

CNN

NBC News

AOL

Wired: http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Drive_on_the_Autobahn

MotorTrend: http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2008/112_0807_van_halen_sammy_hagar_celeb_drive/viewall.html

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