New Speed Limit Laws for Texas Drivers

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Texas New Speed Limit Laws

Driving was big news in Texas on October 24, 2012, when the Lone Star state became the first in the U.S. to allow an 85 MPH maximum speed limit. One 41-mile section of I-130 is now the fastest in the country.

Who Sets the Speed Limits?

In Texas, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for determining the speed limit laws for drivers. The DOT evaluates a number of factors including average rate of speed for 85% of drivers on that road. It's important for Texas drivers to keep in mind that posted speed limits are set to encourage a safe driving environment. Last year 3,040 people were killed on Texas roads, a higher fatality rate than the national average.

Other New Speed Limit Laws in Texas

Not long ago Texas drivers were required to reduce their speed after dark on certain highways. In August of 2011, however, the nighttime speed limit law was removed, allowing drivers to abide by one posted speed limit day or night.

Truck drivers in Texas also saw a speed limit law change last year. In the past, truck drivers were kept to a lower speed on highways, but now they're permitted to drive at the same pace as other vehicles.

With 85 MPH hitting the high point, top speed on most Texas highways is still among the fastest in the country. Interstate speeds can range from 75-80 MPH. While speed limits can vary from county to county, here's a basic hit list of speed limit laws for Texas drivers.

  • Rural Interstates: 75-80 MPH (85 MPH on section of I-130)
  • Urban Interstates: 75 MPH
  • Other Limited-Access Roads: 75 MPH
  • Other Roads: 75 MPH

What are the Penalties for Exceeding the Speed Limit?

If you get a speeding ticket in Texas, you'll be faced with a fine and points will be added to your driving record. Fines vary from county to county, but generally range around $165 for 0-5 miles over the posted speed limit, to upwards of $300 if you're caught driving 30 miles over the limit.
While the amount you'll pay may change, one thing you can count on are those negative driving points hitting your record. For any moving violation, 2 points will be added to your record. A moving violation resulting in an accident equals 3 points. These points will stay on your record for 3 years, unless you take action.

Texas has another way to punish bad driving habits, and that's with additional surcharges. Certain convictions (DWI, no insurance, invalid license, etc.) automatically incur a surcharge. If you have more than 6 points on your record, you'll be faced with charges of $100, plus $25 for every point over 6 – and you'll have to pay these fees for 3 consecutive years!

The most effective way to remove points and dismiss a traffic ticket in Texas is to take a defensive driving course. Unless, of course, you're found guilty of driving above 95 MPH. In that case, you're stuck with the points.

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