Now you can drive 55

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Editorial By Ranger Staff

It always has been a little stressful driving between Amarillo and Canyon at night and getting passed by someone driving 75 mph, steering with their knees because they’re eating a hot dog, smoking a cigarette, texting and changing the CD in their stereo. Now, at least part of that will be legal.

This month, new laws took effect that will change the way we drive on Texas highways. Beginning Sept. 1, trucks have the same speed limit as regular vehicles, and night-time speed limits have been eliminated. Eventually, highways with a 70 mph speed limit will increase to 75, and those with 80 mph limits could go up to 85.

Maybe the new speed limits were made to give us a chance to outrun the bad drivers.

It just doesn’t seem like a good idea, considering how many drivers don’t even notice other people when they are going only 10 mph around Amarillo College parking lots. Some of them can’t even control their vehicles enough to park it in just a single space.

And now these people are going to be driving next to you at 75, possibly 85 mph, at night.

Maybe it won’t be so bad, though. People already were driving at those speeds. Just think of how often you have been passed while going the speed limit. That is part of why it was raised.

The Texas Department of Transportation tracked the average speed drivers already were going and raised the limit to match what they saw. People always are going to drive a little over the speed limit, but now instead of going 71-75, they will be going 76-80.

This probably is the only law that gets changed based on how many people were breaking it.

From what we have seen of driving habits around the Panhandle, raising the speed limit is like taking the bridle off wild horse. Some days, even driving across town on I-40 on a clear day, with its 60 mph limit, feels like we are taking our lives into our own hands.

So be careful out there. And while you are screaming down the asphalt in the middle of the night trying to pass a truck at 85 mph, remember to drive friendly, the Texas way.


Originally published: Thursday, September 22, 2011

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