Speeds on Texas 130 Likely Mean More San Antonio Car Accidents

Many travelers who plan to use Texas 130 between Austin and San Antonio are hailing the new 85 mph speed limit that makes the 41-mile stretch of toll road the fastest highway in the nation.

San Antonio personal injury attorneys urge a healthy dose of caution. While we understand the move by the Texas Transportation Commission may ultimately bolster the argument for increasing speeds on Texas’ vast stretches of highway, we also know all too well the role speed frequently plays in serious or fatal accidents.

The Express-News reports the soon-to-be-opened toll road runs from just south of Austin to Interstate 10 in Seguin. The speed limit on the existing toll road is 80 mph. The new 85 mph limit will be the fastest in the country and has been making news nationwide. Not everyone is pleased. Groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Governors Highway Safety Association are concerned increased speed will lead to more frequent and more serious accidents.

“When you increase speed limits, you have an increase in the severity of injuries,” Lee Friedman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told The Wall Street Journal. He noted many Texans will exceed the new limit by 5 or 10 mph, putting the average speed at more than 90 mph — or faster than the average speeds on the famed German autobahns.

“The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up,” said Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2011 Speeding Attitudes and Behaviors Survey found speed-related crashes, which include driving too fast for conditions, claim more than 13,000 lives each year at a cost of $40 billion. In fact, speed joins drunk driving as the top two causes for fatal accidents nationwide. Texas reports more than 1,400 speed-related deaths each year, second only to California.

Of course, it takes longer for a driver to react at higher speeds, which can make it more difficult to avoid an accident. Higher speeds make it harder to steer around objects in the road. And it takes longer to stop. It also increases the distance a vehicle travels before a driver can react to a dangerous situation. But physics is the primary reason why speed kills.The force of impact doubles for every 10 mph increase in speed over 50 mph.

Statistics show that fatal crashes increased by more than 20 percent when the United States began raising highway speeds from 55 to 65 mph after Congress repealed the National Maximum Speed Limit in 1995. For most of us, driving at highway speeds is the most dangerous part of our day. Increased speeds will make safe driving habits even more important.

The Texas Department of Transportation offers the following highway safety tips:

-Do obey the speed limit – and that includes making adjustments for weather, visibility or other driving conditions.

-Keep right.

-Pay particular attention around large trucks.

-Move over for stopped emergency vehicles on the shoulder of the road.

-Give yourself frequent rest breaks.

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

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