Speed

Speed Limits Now

Unless a special hazard exists that requires a slower speed, the following speeds are lawful:

  • 15 miles per hour in an alley, on a beach or on a county road adjacent to a public beach;
  • 30 miles per hour in an urban district on a street other than an alley;
  • 60 miles per hour if the vehicle is a school bus on a numbered state or federal highway outside an urban district, including a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road; 50 miles per hour for a school bus that has not passed a commercial vehicle inspection or is traveling on a highway not numbered by the United States or Texas;
  • 60 miles per hour in daytime and 55 miles per hour in nighttime if the vehicle is a truck or truck-tractor towing a semi-trailer on a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road;
  • 70 miles per hour in daytime and 65 miles per hour in nighttime if the vehicle is a passenger car, motorcycle, light truck towing a trailer or semitrailer, truck or truck-tractor, truck or truck-tractor towing a semitrailer or buses on a numbered state or federal highway outside an urban district, including a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road.

Speed Limit History

  • The speed limit was increased in 1963 from 60 mph to 70 mph. In 1963 there were 2,729 persons killed in traffic accidents statewide. The number increased to 3,006 persons killed in 1964.
  • The speed limit was decreased to 55 mph in 1974. In 1973 there were 3,692 persons killed. That number decreased to 3,046 in 1974.
  • In 1987, the speed limit was increased to 65 mph on rural interstate highways if the population was 50,000 or less. In 1988, the speed limit was increased to 65 mph on highways built to interstate standards. In 1986, there were 3,568 persons killed. In 1987, that number decreased to 3,261. In 1988, the number increased to 3,395.
  • The speed limit increased to 70 mph in December of 1995. In 1995, there were 3,172 persons killed. In 1996, the number increased to 3,738.

Speed Kills

  • Speeding reduces the amount of time drivers have to avoid crashes and lengthens stopping distances, increasing both the likelihood and the severity of crashes that do occur.
  • Higher crash speeds reduce the ability of vehicles, restraints, and roadway hardware such as guardrails, barriers, and impact attenuators to protect occupants.
  • According to the 2002 National Highway Transportation Safety Agency traffic report, speed is a factor in 31% of all fatal crashes, killing an average of 1,000 Americans each month.
  • In a 30 mph crash, a 15 pound child can generate an impact force greater than 300 pounds!
  • About 40% of all fatal crashes occur on roads where the posted speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less. Speed-related traffic crashes cost society more than $40.4 billion a year.
  • Dangerous driving conditions such as sun glare, construction, weather, traffic, vehicle condition and the condition of the driver can affect safe driving. The driver should adjust to these adverse situations by slowing down or pulling of the road using emergency flashers

 

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