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Attorney Rodney Townsend

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Will reducing the speed limit 5 mph save lives?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2021 | Uncategorized |

Throughout Texas, auto accidents are a frequent cause of severe injuries and untimely death. In recent years, certain dangers have come to the forefront. Notably, distracted driving has become an epidemic with many drivers choosing to check their handheld devices behind the wheel and placing themselves and others in jeopardy because of it. Other road risks include driving under the influence, drowsy driving and recklessness. One challenge that has stood the test of time in terms of causing motor vehicle accidents is speeding.

Proposed bill hopes to reduce neighborhood speed limits

Speeding is especially worrisome as school starts again because children are vulnerable to being hit by vehicles that are going beyond the posted limits. Understanding how lawmakers are trying to address the problem is imperative. A proposed bill hopes to lower the speed limit in Texas neighborhoods by 5 mph from 30 to 25. Under the proposal – House Bill 442 – the idea is to substantially reduce the number of fatal accidents. This type of change was attempted twice previously, but the laws did not pass.

Statistically, fatal auto accidents are a widespread challenge in Texas. For example, in 2019, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that there were more than 3,600 fatalities in an auto crash. Pedestrians are inherently vulnerable. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that speed is a major reason why pedestrians die when hit by a car. If the vehicle is traveling at 25 mph, the pedestrian has a 43% greater chance of survival when compared to a pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling 30 mph. Simply reducing the speed of the vehicle can save many lives even if there is an auto-pedestrian accident.

Texas has a speed limit of 30 mph for local streets. There are no signs to that effect. Drivers are expected to know the speed limit and follow it. Municipalities are willing to lower the speed limits, but there is concern about the cost of posting signs to inform drivers of the new laws if they are passed. Houston alone says that 25 mph signs would cost more than $25 million to post. There remains resistance to the bill in the state senate placing in jeopardy its likelihood to pass.

Awareness is a way to stay safe, but speed is a continuing challenge

People who head out on the Texas roads should be cognizant of the dangers they face. Adhering to the speed limit is a safety measure with no downside. Reducing the speed limits and ensuring that drivers follow the new rules will enhance safety and avoid motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, these changes might not be implemented and even if they are, the process is moving slowly.

For people who are simply heading to work, going to the store, taking a walk or exercising, being hit by a speeding vehicle can upend their entire lives with medical costs, lost income and other problems. It often leads to a fatality. Children and teens are particularly in danger. When there is this type of crash, having assistance with navigating the future and considering the options is key. Discussing the situation with those experienced in auto accidents can help with determining a path forward.