Do you know what an unsafe speed is? If you’re like most people, you might think it means the posted speed limit. You’d be partially right. An unsafe speed is also referred to as going above the speed limit, however, there are other factors to consider. In California, the term has a specific meaning as defined in state law under Vehicle Code 22350.
The vehicle code specifically says that no one should drive on a highway at a speed that is not prudent or reasonable, taking into consideration weather, traffic, visibility as well as the width and surface of the road. Further, it specifies that the speed cannot be greater than that which would put property and individuals at risk for an accident and subsequent harm.
California Truck Accident Lawyer When Unsafe Speed Causes a Crash
Davis Azizi has been practicing personal injury law in the state for the past 24 years. As an experienced truck accident injury attorney, clients know that he not only protects their rights and fights for the compensation they deserve but that he cares about them. This combination of empathy, legal acumen and investigative superiority are some of the reasons that the legal ranking firm Super Lawyers calls him one of the best personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles year after year.
Call David if you have been in an accident at (800) 991-5292 to schedule a free consultation. You’ll learn about your options going forward and receive an estimate of what your case is worth. You can also reach out to him online.
The speed limit over which a driver would be considered to be speeding in California is 70 mph on freeways and highways that are marked for this speed. On other roads, it is 65 mph, including highways that are unmarked for the higher speed limit, and on two-lane roads without a divider, the speed is 55 mph. Some areas such as school zones, residential and business districts might post a lower speed limit.
Reasonable and Safe Speeds
Drivers in California must drive at a reasonable and safe speed, which is instrumental in preventing accidents and avoiding injury. This speed varies depending on the prevailing conditions. Some of the factors that can be considered when determining if a driver was proceeding at a safe speed are:
- Types of road: This figures heavily in determining if the driver was proceeding at a safe speed. For instance, was it a highway or a city or a rural road? Each has its own characteristics such as was the road crowded or lightly traveled, was it in a city where numerous other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists interact or in a rural area with little traffic.
- Driver’s view: This attribute takes into account the driver’s view and whether it was unlimited or obstructed in any way.
- Pedestrians: This characteristic is dependent on the number of pedestrians the driver must deal with. It also factors in the number of crosswalks in the area.
- Road conditions: For example, was the road wet or slippery due to inclement weather?
- Railroad crossings: Such crossings demand that the driver slow down and stop when instructed.
- Animals in a rural area: In rural areas, drivers must take into account that animals may enter the road at any time. This usually means that the driver must proceed at a slower speed.
- Cyclists: Drivers share the road with bicyclists and might need to alter their speed to keep everyone safe.
- Lights: The degree of light has an enormous impact on the speed beyond which it is unsafe. For instance, on a dark, rural road, it may be necessary to decrease the speed to accommodate the surroundings in which a driver finds themselves. On a bright, sunny day where the light might interfere with the driver’s ability to see the road or pedestrians and cyclists, it may be necessary to slow down.
- Hills and curves: Some of the tricky areas a driver faces in regard to speed are hills and curves. Sometimes, it is impossible to see ahead when on a hill. Slowing down aids in keeping it safe. Curves are notorious for causing accidents when a driver takes them at a speed that is too high. On and off-ramps are also treacherous at high speeds. Both curves and exit and entrance ramps are particularly challenging for truckers.
Example of How the Speed Must Be Adjusted
Let’s say that a driver, Ted, was headed down the 405 in the early afternoon with a moderate level of traffic. Ted was doing 65 mph without incident until another driver suddenly cuts in front of him and causes an accident. Who is to blame? The other driver. Ted is obeying the speed limit and could not have avoided hitting the car in front of him despite it being a rear-end accident.
However, the next day, Ted is on the 405 again heading home during a particularly heavy rush hour, and once again he is doing 65 mph. There is a slowdown caused by an accident ahead and Ted, unable to stop in time, hits the car in fro’nt of him. Who is to blame this time? Ted is because he did not adapt his speed to the traffic on the road.
How Does Negligence Factor In?
Negligence is the act of not using care to prevent harm to others. In cases of reckless driving, the motorist may drive at a speed above that which is considered safe. When this happens, it is possible to prove negligence if the driver is proceeding at a speed a prudent and reasonable driver would consider to be unsafe. That is why Ted, in the example above, is considered to be responsible for the accident in the second scenario. In California, the courts have held that driving at an unsafe speed is negligence per se, meaning that it is uniformly considered to be the fault of the driver when this happens.
Free Case Review with a Truck Crash Law Firm – Unsafe Speed Accidents
Don’t be afraid if you are in an accident, hurt and unable to work. David Azizi will have your back. You can count on him to review your case for free and go over what you can do about it from a legal standpoint.
David will begin by looking for evidence at the accident site and obtain video accounts of the accident. He will talk to witnesses at the scene and review police reports for inaccuracies. He will also structure a strong case in your favor. Don’t try to go it alone. Call David at (800) 991-5292 today before evidence disappears.