Have you ever given thought of what goes into municipalities and other government entities setting speed limits? More importantly, have you ever thought that those government bodies didn’t give much thought into setting them? Traffic laws, speed limits included, are part of the social contract by which most of us abide, allowing the relatively smooth operation of our transportation infrastructure.
Some don’t abide, and in fact many of us have, on one or more occasion, most likely exceeded the posted limit on the highway. We of course don’t advocate such actions here – bad Hoon, bad! – and that’s not what we want to discuss today. Instead we want to hear about the posted limits in your town or local highways and byways that seem to have ben set in the time of the horse-drawn carriage and not revisited since.
Here in the States most regions use absolute speed limits, the violation of which provides no defense. Less common is the prima facie (or presumed) limit, which potentially does offer a defense. Absolute speed limits are set through a calculation of a number of factors – crash risk, enforceability, and acceptability for a majority of road users, i.e. flow of the road. The process for setting limits is costly and time consuming and hence many local governments don’t adjust limits all that often. The question for today then is, does your local area need a speed limit refresh?
Image source: Aphyr