State officials in Texas are reducing speed limits on several highways in Southeast Texas. This change aims to improve safety on these roads.

Texas Lowers Speed Limits on Major Highways in Southeast for Safety
(Photo : Karl Callwood via Unsplash)

Speed Limits Adjusted for Safety

The Texas Department of Transportation is lowering speed limits by five to 10 mph on six highways around Beaumont and Port Arthur. These changes follow detailed studies of the speed zones. The studies considered crash rates, highway shoulder widths, and the number of driveways along these routes.

An agency spokesperson, Sarah Dupre, said new speed limit signs will soon appear on state highways 87 and 347, U.S. 69, and I-10. According to MSN, the reduced speed limits are part of a wider Texas effort to decrease serious and fatal accidents.

In 2022, over 4,400 people died, and nearly 19,000 were seriously injured on Texas roads. The state has seen more than 83,000 deaths in traffic accidents since 2000.

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Texas is also enlarging pavement stripes, building more roundabouts, and adding features like raised pavement markers to improve road safety. These measures help drivers stay in their lanes and reduce accidents.

Texas law sets a maximum speed limit of 70 mph, but it can go up to 85 mph on certain highways. The state has the highest posted speed limit in the U.S. - 85 mph on a part of State Highway 130.

In Southeast Texas, where the new speed limits are set, Jefferson County had 6,360 crashes and 47 deaths in 2022. Nearby Orange County reported 1,640 crashes and 20 deaths. In contrast, Dallas County, with a much larger population, had 54,919 crashes and 355 deaths in the same period.

The updated speed limits include, as per the report:

S.H. 87: from 65 to 55 mph.

S.H. 347: from 70 to 65 mph.

U.S. 69: from 75 to 70 mph.

I-10 (two sections): 65 to 55 mph and 75 to 70 mph.

U.S. 90: from 50 to 45 mph.

These changes are expected to make the highways safer for all users.

Texas Tackles Road Safety: Reducing Speed Limits and More

Texas marks a grim 23-year streak of daily roadway deaths, with over 83,600 lives lost since 2000. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is intensifying efforts to improve road safety and end this tragic trend.

Messenger News reported that in 2022, Texas witnessed 4,406 deaths in 555,566 traffic crashes. As of mid-October 2023, traffic-related deaths have already surpassed 3,100. The Lufkin District alone saw 76 fatalities among 5,127 crashes in 2022 and 73 deaths so far in 2023.

Common causes of these crashes include failing to stay in one lane, speeding, and distracted driving. TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams emphasizes the profound impact of each loss on families and communities. He calls for collective action to improve road safety.

Building roundabouts is another strategy TxDOT employs, potentially reducing intersection fatalities by up to 90%. The source also mentioned that the "Safer by Design" program is also being introduced, allowing roadway designers to model the safety impact of their projects.

Call to Action for Texas Drivers

TxDOT urges Texans to join the effort in ending this tragic streak of daily deaths. This call to action includes:

  • Making safe decisions while driving.

  • Avoid driving under the influence of substances.

  • Following traffic laws.

  • Always wearing seatbelts.

These combined efforts in engineering, education, and enforcement aim to significantly reduce the number of fatalities on Texas roads and ultimately end the deadly streak.

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