With greater speeds come greater risks

A bill that would boost some Texas highway speed limits to 85 mph passed in the state House last week, while a similar bill is being considered in the state Senate.

Proponents of the bill say the boost in speed would help commerce by reducing the time it takes to travel through less-populated areas. Those who oppose the bill factor in concerns like unsafe driving, underdeveloped roads and untrained drivers.

Those concerns are valid ones. Texas already has more than 500 miles of highway with a speed limit of 80 mph. Adding more and increasing the speed limit means that most drivers would creep above the 85 mph limit anyway.

I once was in a car accident at 60 mph. The front half of my car was torn off, and the back half was crumpled almost to the hood. I can’t imagine how badly a car would be torn up if the wreck occurred at 85 mph.

If the speed limit is going to increase, safety factors cannot be underestimated. Engineering evaluations are needed to determine if those roads could handle the higher speeds.

A few more dollars in commerce would be a short-term boost to the state’s economy, but the potential for loss of life and serious injury is a concern that cannot be overlooked.

Editor-in-chief Libby Davis for the editorial board.