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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Texas Speeding Laws featured in New York Times Article

The New York Times, Tuesday September 11, 2012,  has an interesting article on the change upward in speeding limits on some Texas highways. Its title is "Reclaiming the Title of Fastest in the Land."  In sum, these changes have resulted in some very fast speed limits. One example is on a soon-to-be opened toll road, State Highway 130 between Austin and San Antonio. The speed limit will be 85 miles per hour.

Jerry Patterson, the State Land Commissioner, shares his attitude toward speed limits in a comical fashion:
Mr. Patterson’s comments were transcribed with difficulty, because he and his turbocharged, six-cylinder Ford pickup were speeding on I-10 west of Houston as he spoke on his cellphone. “I’m right now doing 79, and I’m going with the traffic,” he said. “The speed limit here I think is 70. If I was doing 70, I’d have cars backed up behind me, I’d have folks that are trying to jump in and out to change lanes to get around me. The majority of the citizenry do not drive 70 miles an hour in a 70-miles-an-hour zone.”
Mr. Patterson's comments actually reflect Texas Transportation Code Sections 545.351-353 and  545.3531. These laws establish that an operator may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under circumstances then existing. Those provisions also authorize the Texas Transportation Commission to alter speed limits. For more information see the website of the Texas Department of Transportation http://www.txdot.gov/safety/speed_limit/setting.htm.