First Fatality Reported on Texas 85 MPH Highway

Nov 2012

It seemed only a matter of time.

Texas Highway 130 has seen its first fatality since increasing the speed limit to 85 miles per hour – the highest in the nation.

Our San Antonio car accident attorneys first told you about the increased speed limit in September, reporting that the 41-mile stretch of toll road between San Antonio and Austin was on the fast track to serious injuries – or worse.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, it unfortunately lived up to expectations.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, a woman from Lockhart was killed on the road, less than a month after the speed limit was raised. The 60-year-old woman was getting on the southbound lanes from U.S. 183 when she was hit by a Chevrolet Tahoe sport utility vehicle driven by a  49-year-old woman heading in the same direction. It occurred around 1:45 p.m., in broad daylight with clear skies.

Officials haven’t yet determined whether speed was a factor or how fast the victim may have been going at the time of the crash. We know that the highway she was entering Texas 130 from, U.S. 183, recently lowered its speed limit from 65 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour – a decision some people have indicated was a strategic move on the part of the Texas Department of Transportation to force people onto the faster toll road.

The TXDOT has said it intends to conduct more studies on the speed limit in the coming months.

Prior to this crash, accidents on the road since the increased speed limit have included crashes with deer and feral hogs, and most of those at night.

However, even if investigators determine that this accident in particular wasn’t related to speed, Deputy Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, Jonathan Adkins, said it’s only a matter of time before one is. We already know that more than one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are related to speed.

Although older sections of the highway were constructed and operated by the state, this new portion of the road was built by a private consortium. The state still owns it and collects a portion of the toll revenues, but the private companies collect most of the money and have the right to operate it for the next 50 years.

It was the Texas Transportation Commission that voted to allow vehicles to drive up to 85 miles per hour.

Before 1995, highways in the U.S. were limited to a national speed limit of 65 miles per hour. However, that law was repealed and since then, 34 states – including Texas – have each raised their speed limits to 70 miles per hour or higher on certain portions of road.

In Texas, there are other roads in the Western rural parts of the state were drivers can legally travel as fast as 80 miles per hour. Utah is the only other state with an 80 miles per hour limit.

But by inching that limit up by another 5 miles per hour, we are inevitably asking for trouble.

Drivers who aren’t able to avoid this stretch of road altogether are advised to use extreme caution, remain on alert and drive defensively.

If you’ve been injured in a San Antonio auto accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

Leave a Reply