Speed limits Q and A
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Will lowering the speed limit reduce speeds?
No. Studies show that there is little change in the speed pattern after the posting of a speed limit. The driver is much more influenced by the roadway conditions.
Will lowering the speed limit reduce crash frequency?
No. Although lowering the speed limit is often seen as a cure-all in preventing crashes, this is not the case. Crashes are most often the result of driver inattention and driver error. However, if a posted speed limit is unrealistically low, it creates a greater speed variance (i.e. some drivers follow the speed limit while most drive the reasonable speed). This speed variance can contribute to crashes.
Why do we even have speed limits?
A uniform speed of vehicles in a traffic flow results in the safest operation. The posted speed limits can keep the traffic flowing smoothly provided the majority of drivers find the speed limits reasonable. To best do this, the limits must be consistent throughout the state. The speed limits also give the motorist an idea of a reasonable speed to drive in an unfamiliar location. The speed limits are used by police officials to identify excessive speeds and curb unreasonable behavior. Learn more about how to get a speed limit changed.