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State Lawmakers Debate Raising Speed Limit To 85 MPH

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Evening rush hour traffic. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Evening rush hour traffic. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Driving 85 miles an hour could soon be a legal reality on some Texas highways. The state house has passed a bill that would give the Department of Transportation power to raise the speed limit.

The action could only be taken after engineering tests and traffic studies were done, but Jerry Johns, with the Insurance Institute, doesn’t like the idea. “The higher the speed limit the more accidents there are, the more injuries, more deaths there are,” he said. “This is just going to have the potential to raise the injury and the death rate on those roads where they’re gonna allow an 85 mile an hour speed limit.”

Garry Biller, with the National Motorist Association, says if people are driving 85 now then the speed is safe. “Studies by traffic engineers have shown that that [85 mph] is the, believe it or not, the safest speed to be traveling on a given stretch of road.”

The bill also gives the option of raising the speed limit to 85 mph in designated lanes on a highway that has a lower posted speed limit.

A similar bill is up for a vote in the Senate. If it passes, Texas would have the highest speed limit in the nation.

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