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Texas highway to introduce 85 mph speed limit

A stretch of highway in Texas will roll out an 85 mph speed limit.
85 mph texas highway speed limitEnlarge
A sign indicating the highest speed limit in the country in 2006 stands by Interstate 10 outside of the West Texas town of El Paso. Another stretch of highway near Austin, Texas is set to introduce 85 mph. (Rick Scibelli/AFP/Getty Images)

It may not be the German autobahn, but a stretch of highway in Texas is set to unveil the nation's highest speed limit that's "faster than hurricane force winds," according to Transportation Nation.

Drivers will be able to go 85 mph on nearly 41 miles of Texas 130, a toll road in Austin, Texas, according to NPR. The section of road will open in November.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved the speed limit for the corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

According to The Austin Statesman, the move is for financial reasons. The Texas Department of Transportation would get an extra $67 million if the speed limit was set at 80 mph, and the revenue would rise to $100 million if the limit was 85 mph.

Of course, traffic safety advocates are not happy with the precedent.

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"The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up," said Russ Rader, a spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, according to the Associated Press. He said higher speeds may let people arrive at their destinations faster, "but the trade-off is more crashes and more highway deaths."

The AP said a 2009 report in the American Journal of Public Health showed 12,500 were attributable to increases in speed limits between 1995 and 2005.

Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of Governors Highway Safety Association, said, "If the speed on the roadway is 85, a lot of people are going to try 90, 95," according to The San Antonio Express. "The reality is you just don't survive a crash at that speed."

For drivers who don't want to risk the speeds of Texas 130? The stretch of US 183 that runs parallel to Texas 130 had its speed limit reduced from 65 mph to 55 mph.

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