New laws regulating speed limits on state highways in Texas are beginning to take effect. Some speed limits will increase as separate truck speed limits are dropped.

Gov. Perry signed House Bill 1353, which takes effect today. This legislation allows the Texas Department of Transportation to create a 75-mph speed limit on any state highway found to be reasonable and safe through a speed study.

TxDOT will be reviewing existing 70-mph limits to determine where a 75-mph speed limit may be safely posted.

HB 1353 also eliminates the 65-mph nighttime speed limit and all truck speed limits. On Sept. 1, the existing nighttime and truck speed limits are repealed and no longer enforceable.

TxDOT awarded maintenance contracts in August to remove the nighttime and truck speed limit signs and is also in the process of hiring consultants to perform the required speed studies needed to implement the higher speed limits.

The state will be removing the existing nighttime speed limit signs, truck speed limit signs, and evaluating approximately 50,000 miles of state highway with a current 70-mph speed limit.

However, any increases in speed limits are not officially in effect until the physical signs are installed.

Speed limits in Texas are set by the 85th percentile method, which represents the speed the majority of drivers are traveling at or below. This is a sound engineering principle used to set speed limits on highways nationwide for the past 60 years, say state officials.

The existing 65-mph night and truck speed limit signs should be removed by the end of this year. The complete evaluation of the state highway system and posting of all new 75-mph speed limits should be complete by early 2013.

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