Highway 130 near Austin, Texas now America's fastest highway
AUSTIN, Texas -- Everything is bigger in Texas, including the speed limit. Starting Wednesday, October 24th, a new toll road extension is opened, allowing drivers to go 85 miles per hour -- legally!
On Highway 130 near Austin, Texas, the posted legal speed limit is now 85 miles-per-hour.
"Well, it's the highest posted speed limit in the whole western hemisphere, right? It's really pretty neat," one driver said.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 35 states have raised speed limits to 70 miles-per-hour or higher.
No one is more aware of that than long-distance truckers, like Anthony Frederick. He says the increased speed limits scare him.
"Doing 85 miles-per-hour, all they're doing is asking for more accidents and more deaths, that's about it. Because it takes a football field to stop a semi. Go ahead and try to stop a semi if somebody slams on the breaks in front of you real quick for an emergency or something," Frederick said.
85 miles-per-hour packs a punch as strong as a Category 1 hurricane.
"The chances of surviving an 85 mile-per-hour crash is essentially zero," Adrian Lund, a crash test dummy guy said.
Texas DOT officials say Highway 130 was built for speed. Engineers "put their professional certifications and seals on the line, stating this is the safe and right speed for this highway. The reality is, people have been driving at high rates of speed in Texas for years."
An American Journal of Public Health study found that an extra 12,000 highway deaths occurred in the decade after the nationwide 55 mile-an-hour speed limit was lifted.
Tolls for that 85 mile-an-hour Texas road will be about 15 cents a mile.