House Bill Aims to Boost Speed Limit

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - A Texas House Bill approved on Thursday will enable TXDOT to boost the speed limit on any state highway to 85 miles per hour.

Some reports say that boost will not only make some roads here in Texas the fastest in the country, but the second-fastest in the world.

TxDOT officials told NewsWest 9 that the most eligible candidates would be highways that already have 80 miles per hour speed limits. There's 520 miles worth of those roads throughout the state.

"A large portion of that is Interstate 20 between Monahans and El Paso or Interstate 10 between the area south of Iraan towards San Antonio," Gene Powell, Public Information Officer with the TXDOT Odessa District Office, said.

Those interstates go through Pecos, Reeves and Ward counties.

If the bill becomes law, TXDOT will look at all the candidates and conduct studies before they put the new sign up.

"How wide the road is, how flat the road is, the sight lines," Powell said. "What the traffic count is, what the average speed is."

They said first and foremost that they have the safety of the driver in mind and will make sure the road can support the higher speed.

"Anytime we look at the speed limit, our first concern is safety," Powell said. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a 2,000 lb. vehicle going 85 is going to have a worse crash than one going 80, if something unforeseen happens."

When NewsWest 9 spoke with drivers, some said the higher speed limit will inspire people to play it safer on the roads.

"When the speed limit went from 55 to 75, the statistics, the deaths and so on, got better,"  Midland resident, Mike, said. "People drove actually more safer going faster."

Other drivers had no problem with the rule, but were concerned with how dangerous it could get, especially if the new speed limit prompted drivers to hit 90 or 95 miles per hour.

"Acknowledge the speed limit," Midland resident Bobby Hamill said. "Know that you'll get a ticket if you do speed. You're in a vehicle going 85 miles an hour. You hit something or you take too sharp of a turn, it can be hazardous. Best advice would be drive safely within your limits."

The bill must still be passed by the Senate.

If it does, local roads could start raging a lot faster.