Do Higher Highway Speed Limits Cause More Auto Accidents in Texas?

Do Higher Highway Speed Limits Cause More Auto Accidents in Texas

In late 2012, the state of Texas shocked the rest of the nation by raising the speed limit on a 41-mile stretch of highway to 85 miles per hour. This stretch of State Highway 130, which runs from San Antonio to Austin, now claims the fastest speed limit in the nation, and allows commuters and visitors to blaze across the landscape from city to city.

Of course, while many may be happy that they are now allowed to cruise even faster to get to their destination, others are concerned that this higher speed limit will result in more catastrophic accidents on the road, leading to serious injuries and even fatalities. Brain injuries and spine injuries at these speeds can be much more catastrophic than at regular speeds. These worries may, in fact, be warranted, although it may still be too early to decide.

Initial Accidents on State Highway 130

On October 25th, 2012, just one day after the new speed limits were posted on the sides of the highway, a single car was involved in a rollover accident, making it the first accident on the road since drivers were allowed to cruise up to 85. Since then, the highway has experienced other accidents, although the Texas Department of Transportation has yet to publish any specific data on the topic.

Even in the absence of statistics, however, safety is still a concern. Will the faster speed limit on this stretch of road truly, then, contribute to a higher rate of car crashes?

Not necessarily, according to an article published in Slate; but it may lead to accidents with more severe consequences, as demonstrated by research on the subject. One study mentioned in an article published by the Wisconsin Traffic Operations & Safety Laboratory asserted that an increase in highway speed limit in Alabama in the 1990s may have led to a significantly higher amount of motor vehicle deaths on the road, although studies from other states would be useful to further develop this idea.

One interesting factor, however, may actually lead to a safer experience for anyone traveling this stretch.

State Highway 130 Charges High Tolls for Use

Highway driving may be frightening at 85 miles per hour, but it may certainly seem more manageable with no other drives in sight. And this may, in fact, be a reality on State Highway 130; because it is a toll road, with prices that could potentially exceed $25, drivers may instead choose to find a different route to travel. And this decrease in traffic flow on the highway is further highlighted by the fact that Moody’s Investment Service, in response to the project failing to pay a scheduled portion of debt, declared the highway to be in ‘technical default.’ What exactly does this mean? Ultimately, not enough drivers have been using the road to allow the project to service its debt; and although this may prove unfortunate for the State Highway, travelers can cross the roads among less traffic than previously imagined.

Still, those who travel on State Highway 130 or any other road throughout Texas may still experience a crash. In the event that you have been injured in an accident, contact Tate Law Offices, P.C., today by calling 888-565-7068 for a free initial consultation. We will work aggressively on your behalf to help you recover damages.