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Texas’ Variable Speed Limit Law

Posted By Aguirre Law | June 4 2024 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents

Texas is on the cutting edge of road safety. After studying the effectiveness of variable speed limits, lawmakers passed House Bill 1885, allowing for the temporary adjustment of speed limits in dangerous conditions without needing approval from statewide transportation commissioners. Here is everything you need to know about Texas’ variable speed limit law.

What Are Variable Speed Limits?

Variable speed limits allow traffic agencies to temporarily change the posted speed limit based on real-time road conditions. Their purpose is to reduce accidents that are more likely to occur during dangerous conditions, such as inclement weather or construction zones. The speed limit can affect a portion of a road or highway.

What Happens If a Driver Violates Variable Speed Limits?

Drivers must adhere to the temporary speed limits just as they would have to for regular posted speed limits. If they violate the temporary speed limits, they can face traffic citations and other legal consequences. If they are responsible for causing a car accident or truck accident in San Antonio while breaking a variable speed limit, they can be financially responsible for the crash.

When Can Speed Limits Be Temporarily Changed?

The new law allows local Texas Department of Transportation engineers to temporarily reduce speeds for a portion of the road or highway in any condition they deem potentially hazardous, which could apply in situations involving:

  • Emergencies
  • Heavy fog
  • Rain
  • Ice or snow
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Poor visibility
  • Congested traffic
  • Road construction
  • Road maintenance
  • Special events

How Effective Are Variable Speed Limits?

A decade before passing the new law, Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 2204, a Texas Department of Transportation pilot program to study the efficiency of variable speed limits. In 2014, the agency set up variable speed limits in San Antonio, Temple, and Eastland County and began collecting data that researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute reviewed.

According to this research, each area that used variable speed limits experienced marked safety benefits and a reduced risk of car accidents in adverse traffic and weather conditions. Researchers also found that the system allows for improved traffic flow and a reduction of sudden stops and traffic outbreaks.

How Variable Speed Limits Are Communicated

Beginning in September 2023, traffic personnel began implementing variable speed limits. These limits are only in effect when visible signs notify drivers of the change. These signs can be physical, TxDOT electronic, or mobile digital signs.

The variable speed limits cannot be lower than 10 mph under the regular posted speed limit.

Contact The Aguirre Law Firm

If you were injured in a car accident because of a speeding driver, the San Antonio car accident lawyers at The Aguirre Law Firm can help. We can discuss your case, investigate the accident, and determine if the other driver was at fault. If you have grounds for a personal injury claim against the speeding driver, we can pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. We offer a free case review, which you can arrange by calling our San Antonio injury lawyers at (210) 934-4756 or contacting us online.

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