On September 11, the Whittier City Council voted 5-0 to raise the speed limit on Mar Vista Street, between Whittier Boulevard and Pickering Avenue, from 30 to 35 miles per hour. The council also raised the speed limit from 30 to 35 on Linda Vista Drive between Bacon and Ocean View avenues. In both cases, the city staff made the recommendation to raise the speed limit as the result of a speed survey showing that 85% of drivers were going nearly 35 miles per hour.

Under California law, cities must conduct speed surveys every five years and use the results to set speed limits. Otherwise, any speeding tickets drivers receive can be challenged in court and potentially overturned. But is raising speed limits ever a good idea from an accident and injury standpoint? Let’s take a look.

Higher Speed Limits Result in more Severe Car Accidents

Studies have found that higher speed limits don’t necessarily cause more car accidents, but they do cause more severe ones, simply because higher speeds mean that cars collide with greater force. Thirty-five miles per hour is still a relatively low speed, so the number of severe car accidents shouldn’t increase too much on Mar Vista Street and Linda Vista Drive. But hopefully drivers won’t push 35 to 40, as a small speed increase can have a significant effect on the degree and seriousness of car accident injuries. A UC Berkeley study found that with each 1% increase in speed, the chance of a driver having an accident increases by 2%, the chance of a serious injury increases by 3%, and the chance of a death rises by 4%.

But more than low or high speed, the key to road safety is uniform traffic flow, which is why the 85% survey law exists in the first place. The goal is to set the speed limit at the rate most people drive, so the majority of people are traveling—and are encouraged to travel—at the same speed. The outliers, those who are speeding or driving too slowly, are frequently the ones causing car accidents.

Talk to an Experienced Whittier Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Whittier area car accident caused by speeding or any type of irresponsible driving, please contact the car accident attorneys at Hanning & Sacchetto to schedule a free consultation. Our Whittier personal injury attorneys represent personal injury victims throughout Southern California from offices in Whittier, Ontario, Pomona, Irvine, Glendora and Arcadia.