Understanding Speed Limits

Pueblo Car Accident Lawyers Smith & Smith

25 mph Sign against blue sky | Pueblo Car Accident LawyerSpeed limits have actually been around even longer than cars have. In fact, 200 years before the automobile was invented, Newport, Rhode Island banned galloping horses on main roads to prevent injuries to pedestrians. In Boston, travel for horse-drawn carriages was limited to “foot pace” on Sundays in an effort to safeguard those walking to and from church.

With the advent of gasoline engines, automobiles could travel as fast as 13 mph. That was 1885- today’s vehicles are capable of traveling many times faster than that. And sadly, it is speeding that is blamed for as many as one out of every three deadly car accidents.

For everyone’s safety, speed limits have been established, and- like them or not- most drivers stay within those constraints. However, at one time or another, we’ve all quietly questioned the reasoning behind the speed limits established on roads we frequent, or sometimes, it’s quite obvious why a certain limit has been established. Have you ever wondered how safe speed limits are determined? The following article briefly describes the methods used.

The fact that speed increases the severity of crashes is an undisputed law of physics. However, what has caused discord among experts for years, is whether or not higher speeds increases crash frequency. While driver behavior and road design can affect the correlation between speed and crash rates, recent research indicates a direct relationship between increased speed and more accidents- all other factors being equal.

In the past, local and state governments have been responsible for establishing speed limits across the country. Two exceptions to that precedent were during World War II and with the institution of the National Speed Limit of 55 mph, which was repealed in 1995.

There is no black and white method for setting speed limits. In the United States, traffic engineers use several techniques guided by their expertise and judgement when helping to determine speed limits.

These engineers set speed limits according to the 85th percentile. This concept is founded on the understanding that most people use good judgement and want to arrive at their destinations safely and in the shortest amount of time. A speed limit is then established at or below the speed that 85% of the drivers use under good driving conditions.

Around the world, other various techniques may be utilized. Some other methods used include:

  • Engineering approach compared to road risk
  • Computer programs
  • Optimization
  • Injury minimization/safe system approach

It is important to remember that speed limits are established assuming favorable driving conditions. When those conditions are less-than favorable, it may become necessary for drivers to reduce their speed to allow for poor visibility or extra traffic.

Contact a Pueblo Car Accident Lawyer

Pueblo Personal Injury Attorney Mickey SmithWhen you or someone you love is injured in a car accident, it can be difficult to get the help you need. Insurance companies are NOT on your side after an accident and they can even purposefully delay or deny your claims. Call Pueblo attorneys at Smith & Smith, today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062. He can help you obtain the money you need – and the justice you deserve.