New Texas traffic laws start September 1

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SHERMAN, TX - Starting Thursday, September 1st, some changes are coming to Texas highways.

"The 65 and night where it's normally 70 during the day will be gone. And different speeds for the trucks is also being eliminated," said Trooper Mark Tackett, with Texas Highway Patrol.

The maximum speed limit is also increased to 85 miles per hour, the highest in the nation. Although right now, no roadway in Texas has a limit higher than 80.

"Increased speeds will lead to more accidents whenever you have heavy traffic volume. That's why the engineers are going to go out and they're going to survey the particular areas to see if it's safe to do so," Tackett said.

David Selman, area engineer for TxDOT said, "It will be based on the speed study. The speed limit may stay to 70 miles per hour."

State Representative Larry Phillips said the law was overwhelmingly popular, with only 2 nays in the house and no objections in the senate. "We've raised the speed limit out in West Texas on some of the interstates and there have been no adverse conditions. Our vehicles can handle faster speeds so generally there only going to be roads that can accept faster speed that they go into effect."

TxDOT is now in the process of hiring a consultant to do a speed study, a process that takes a few months. Selman said, "they'll take the 85th percentile and based on that, and the terrain, the profile of the roadway, they'll determine if the speed limit needs to be raised."

As for enforcement, Trooper Mark Tackett says for them, it's business as usual."We've been told that beginning September 1st, the speed limits could possibly be increased on certain highways but we're going to have to wait for TxDOT to come out and change those signs and make it official."

Speed limit signs that have a daytime and nighttime speed limit could be up for weeks or even months across the state. And although the law changes Thursday, drivers should adhere to the posted signs. Phillips says the law gets Texas up to date.

"Texas is the last state that has a nighttime difference. No other state does. So we need to be consistent," Phillips said.

A contractor has been hired to change all the road signs that are no longer valid by December 15th. The deadline for the consultant to complete the speed study is December 31st.

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