The Texas Transportation Commission approved an 85 mile per hour speed limit on one of the state's roads, not only making it the highest limit in the country, but also among one of the highest in the world.
The 41-mile stretch of road lies between Austin and San Antonio. It will be a toll road, and according to USA Today, the increased speed limit is just one way of attracting drivers to the highway. As federal funds for road upkeep dwindle, more states are competing for drivers that will pay tolls. Offering higher speeds is one way to do that.
Officials say that safety is still the top priority. The road has been designed to handle high-speed travel and testing has shown it to be safe. Still, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety voiced its displeasure at the ruling.
"The research is clear," said IIHS spokesman Russ Rader to AutoBlog. "When speed limits go up, fatalities go up."
Newer car models may be slightly safer to drive at higher speeds than older vehicles. Upgrading wheel alignment and brake service keep these new machines in top condition, making it less risky to operate at higher speeds.