Nation’s Fastest Highway Suffers First Fatality

A central Texas highway with a speed limit of 85 miles per hour, the fastest speed limit in the nation, has suffered its first fatality.

Texas State Highway 130 has a 41-mile stretch of toll road that opened on Oct. 24 with a posted speed limit of 85 miles per hour. Martha Melinda Harris, 60, of Lockhart, Texas was driving her Honda Civic when the vehicle was struck by Angela Kolb’s Chevrolet Tahoe. Kolb, 49, also of Lockhart, Texas, was injured but Harris was killed in the crash.

NBC News reports that the crash on the nation’s fastest highway took place around 1:45 pm on Sunday. Police did not say how fast either car was travelling, but they had ruled out the involvement of wild hogs. Wild hogs were responsible for several accidents on State Highway 130 the night it opened. While it is a toll road, the toll had been waived to allow drivers a chance to check out the stretch, which runs from Seguin, Texas to Austin, Texas.

KSAT reports that drivers taking the entire 41-mile stretch of toll road will pay $8.21, or $6.17 for those with a toll pass. High-speed cameras scan license plates on the toll road and drivers are charged accordingly if they fail to pay. The cameras have elicited protests from some groups.

The national speed limit on US highways was 55 miles per hour until it was repealed in 1995. Since then 34 states, including Texas, have raised speed limits to 70 miles per hour or faster. While Texas State Highway 130 is the nation’s fastest highway, several other highways in Texas have speed limits as high as 80 miles per hour.