There were 32,310 traffic fatalities in 2011, the fewest there have been since 1949. More importantly, fatality rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled have dropped substantially over the years, falling from 24.09 in 1921 to 1.09 in 2011. In addition, while interstate highway speed limits have risen since Congress repealed all federally imposed speed limits in 1995, fatalities categorized as “speeding-related” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have declined since then. Specifically, there were 13,414 speeding-related fatalities in 1995 and 10,591 in 2011. Of the 10,591 speeding-related fatalities in 2011, just 964 occurred on interstate highways with speed limits “over 55 MPH.”
So even as critics contend that an 85 MPH speed limit will increase fatalities, it’s no surprise that Texas is implementing the higher limit: Driving in America has never been safer than it is now.