Texas is considering raising the speed limit on two major interstate highways to match how most motorists drive.

The state’s director of traffic operations, Carlos Lopez, said research found that 85th percentile speed of traffic was 79 mph. Thus, speed limits are likely to raise from 75 mph to 80 mph. The Texas Department of Public Safety said raising the limit to conform to the speed the majority of drivers travel will make roads safer. “If people begin to think that the number on the sign is unreasonable, then they won’t respect it,” Lopez said. “Just putting up a lower number on the highway isn’t going to slow down traffic.”

As previously reported, data released from Britain’s Department of Transport suggested that as speed limits, speeding decreases — adding credibility to assertions that there is a natural “safe speed” at which most drivers will travel.
On roads with a 30 mph limit, half of passenger cars exceeded the speed limit. On similar roads with a 40 mph limit, just 25 percent of cars exceeded posted limit. This seems to suggest that drivers know a safe speed, and high speed limits would not lead to equally high speeding.
In Britain, with highway limits of 70 mph, between 50 and 60 percent of drivers exceed the speed limit.