Reduce Speed Limits in Residential and Urban Districts

The Georgia Code establishes 30 mph as the maximum speed limit in “any urban or residential district.”  (Section 40-6-181)reduce-speed-limits-001

  • Residential districts are defined by the Code as the territory contiguous to and including a highway when the property along the highway is improved with residences or residences and buildings for at least 300 feet.  (Section 40-1-50)
  • Urban districts are defined by the Code as the territory contiguous to and including any street which is built up with structures devoted to business, industry or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than 100 feet for at least one quarter mile. (Section 40-1-73)
  • Thoroughfares with speed limits of 35 mph or more are not considered residential districts. (Section 40-14-8b)

 

By setting residential speed limits at 30 mph or less, government officials can untie the hands of local police officers.

  • On many streets, the Georgia Code allows police officers to submit evidence from speed detection devices for ticketing only when motorists exceed the speed limit by over 10 mph.
  • These limitations do not apply in residential districts. (Section 40-14-8-b)
  • On streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph, local police cannot use speed detection devices for ticketing unless the driver is traveling at least 46 mph.
  • By reducing speed limits from 35 to 30 mph or less in residential areas, traffic engineers can eliminate the 10mph “grace zone” that prevents local police officers from providing effective enforcement of speed limits.

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Much of the threat to walking safely comes from motorists’ speed.

The faster a motorist drives, the more likely he or she is to be in a crash, and the more likely injuries to a person on foot will be serious, if not fatal.  When people walking are hit by a car.

  • at 20 mph, the risk of death is 5 percent, and most injuries are minor
  • at 30 mph, the risk of death is 45 percent, and most injuries are serious
  • at 40 mph, 85 percent of pedestrians are killed.

A modest decrease in vehicle speed can mean a dramatic increase in survival rates in pedestrian-vehicle crashes.