This week, new speed limit signs went up across Northeast Texas. The speed limit for segments of nine interstates have been increased from 70 miles per hour to 75 mph. And, while it's just a slight increase, officials say it's a safer one too.
"It's always safer when everybody's driving the same speed limit," said Marcus Sandifer, with the Texas Department of Transportation. "You don't have anybody going in and out of lanes and going around either."
Sandifer says his department conducted studies on the increase on several highways. He says the results showed that many drivers were already going faster than 70mph. He says the solution to making the roads safer was to increase the speed limit to a comfortable speed for everyone, so they're all driving at a similar pace. Sandifer says speed isn't usually the main factor in road safety, he says it's everything else the driver is doing.
"Someone that's not paying attention, that's tired, that's impaired because of drugs or alcohol, that's when the accidents happen," said Sandifer. "But Department of Public Safety Troopers, the sheriff's department and police departments will all still be watching the roads. They will be out there making sure the 75 speed limit is still enforced."
Officials say after their studies on Texas roads, they're assured the speed limit increase is a good choice.
"We have highways that have been built to handle these high speeds and it can be safe and practical."
TxDOT is currently conducting studies on U.S. highways and other Farm-to-Market roads to determine if it would be safe to increase the speed limits on those roads too.