Pro: People drive fast anyway

May 8, 2011 at 12:08 a.m.

Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor said he tries to remain objective about the laws, so he sees both positive and negative sides to raising the speed limit to 75 mph.

There's a certain pragmatic sense to raising the speed limit because most people drive faster than 75 mph now, he said.

The speed limit will be raised gradually.

From a personal standpoint, he said it will be nice to be able to drive faster legally.

"I'll be getting places 5 mph faster, and I'll enjoy that," O'Connor said.

Like O'Connor, Victoria resident Shonna Poland can see both sides of the issue. Common sense says an increase in the speed limit will mean an increase in accidents. Still, she would like to drive faster legally.

"Personally, I support it," Poland said.

Victoria resident Robin Harris said she agrees with the move to raise the speed limit. She said most speed limits need to be raised because people drive faster anyway.

"They need to raise the speed limit everywhere. I drive 80 mph either way and so do most people," Harris said.

Rep. Gary Elkins, who sponsored the bill, echoed Harris' sentiments, noting that most people drive 75 mph. While there will always be people who drive over the speed limit, raising the speed limit simply acknowledges the fact that most people are driving above 70 mph, Elkins said. Most of the highways were designed for people to drive 80 mph, Elkins said.

"There are always people that are going to speed, but at 75 most people won't speed," he said.

He noted that the Texas Department of Transportation will have the final say over raising the speed limit for the different parts of the highway. These decisions will be based on engineering studies and safety reports, Elkins said. If passed, nighttime speed limits would be eliminated in September, but increases in overall speed limits would be done gradually over time.

"I seriously doubt they'll raise the speed limits on farm-to-market roads like the ones you have out in Victoria, but it will raise it in areas where it is deemed safe," he said.



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