Love to speed? Come on down to Texas!! The Texas Legislature is considering raising the maximum speed limit to a whopping 85 mph. The Texas House of Representatives have already approved the bill that would raise the speed limit to 85 mph on some highways.The bill now goes to the State Senate.
When I first heard this, I must admit, that Sammy Hagar song “I Can’t Drive 55” came to mind.I thought he wrote that in ’95 when the California speed limit was raised from 55 to 65.But, apparently he wrote it in ’85. Eleven years earlier.I didn’t know he was claire voyant.You’d think he would have seen that Van Halen thing coming…hmmmm.
At 80 mph, Texas’ speed limit is already one of the highest in the nation.And people can’t even do that!Some people are concerned that elevating the speed limit may cause more accidents.More deaths.You’ll get there faster….but you may arrive dead.There were less road deaths when the national speed limit was 55 in 1973.All states had adopted the 55 mph speed limit to keep federal highway funding.The number of fatalities increased when the speed limit was raised to 65 mph on some rural interstates in the late 80’s and again when the national speed limit was abolished altogether in the mid-90’s. In 2006, Texas raised their speed limit from 70 or 75 to 80 on 2 highways in west Texas. Texas now has more than 500 miles of highway with a speed limit of 80. If set at 85, most will drive 90 or 95.I think some people just put the pedal to the metal to see if the speedometer, past that certain point, really works, or is fake. (Not me…)
Researchers also are saying that speeding increases fuel consumption and could end up costing tax payers more in the long run.According to the U.S. Department of Energy, speeding increases fuel consumption. And every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional .25 per gallon for gas.
I had heard that, in California, if everyone is speeding and you’re not, you can get a ticket for not keeping up with the flow of traffic. But the police will give you a ticket for speeding, just the same. Which way to go? Maybe try to do the speed limit!The ‘flow of traffic’ concept would not apply if the drivers were all exceeding the posted speed limit. All drivers would be breaking the law by driving faster than 70. But if the motorist in front driving 70 were to drop his speed to 69 or lower, he could be cited for impeding flow of traffic if he didn’t move to a slower lane where traveling below the maximum, or posted, speed limit is acceptable. California doesn’t have minimum speed limits. You simply must drive to the right, or in right-hand lanes, if you elect to drive slower than the flow or slower than the maximum limit.If they would have passed that Proposition 19, regarding marijuana, there would have been a lot less speeders in California. A lot more slow , paranoid drivers. And a lot more job openings, since some of those people would be less ambitiuos to show up to work.
Exactly one year ago, I had read that the 5-10 mph “cushion” authorities give drivers may soon be disappearing, as city and state officials try to make up lost revenue.Now, one year later, they were spot-on.I bet Sammy Hagar already knew that. A study by the National Motorists Association says more drivers are being pulled over, only going a couple miles over the speed limit.Of the top ten speed traps noted by the National Motorists Association, three are here in Texas. Dallas, Austin, and, number one, Houston.
God love traffic enforcement folk. That’s a job I certainly would not want. All day long….pulling people over….getting the sour puss. No one would ever be glad to see you… “Oh, I’m so glad you pulled me over…I needed someone to talk to.” Most police would probably like to give everyone a warning, but sometimes nothing modifies your behavior more than paying hundreds of dollars for a moving violation, sitting through a 6 hour defensive driving class, or sudden death.
Until next week. Be safe.
(Daun Thompson is a comedienne, artist and writer living in Dallas, Texas)