ATA urges Texas to curb highway speeds

Sept. 20, 2012

The American Trucking Assns. is urging the Texas Transportation Commission to reverse its decision to allow vehicles to travel 85 miles per hour on a privately managed stretch of State Highway 130 linking Austin and San Antonio.

In a controversial move, the Texas Transportation Commission recently approved a speed limit of 85 mph for a 41-mi. toll road several miles east of the crowded Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio, making it the highest speed limit in the nation.

The Texas Legislature approved 85-mph limits for some new highways last year. A strip of toll road running from Austin to Seguin, about 35 mi. northeast of San Antonio, will be the first to allow that speed when it opens in November.

The American Trucking Assns. has been a vocal advocate, not just for the use of technology to regulate maximum truck speeds at 65 mph, but for states to promote greater highway safety by adopting maximum speed limits of 65 mph for all vehicles.

Not only does ATA want Texas to halt plans to allow the 85-mph speed, the association also cautioned other states against following the Lone Star State’s dangerous example.

“At the end of the day, excessive speed is the greatest threat to highway safety,” said Bill Graves, ATA president & CEO. “And by giving motorists carte blanche to put the pedal to the metal, Texas is raising the risk of more crashes, as well as more severe crashes.”

“Higher speeds dramatically increase the risks of a catastrophic crash. On today’s busy and congested highways, it is simply unfathomable that a state would allow drivers to put themselves and others at risk by increasing speed limits to such excessive heights,” Graves said.

“The state’s obvious attempt to generate more traffic and greater profit from tolls for private investors, at the public’s expense, highlights the trade-offs associated with relying too much on the private sector to finance highways. I would hope that Texas will quickly see the error in its policy and reverse course.”

About the Author

Deborah Whistler

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