California AB 43 Changes How Los Angeles Sets Speed Limits

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What is California AB 43 and What Does it Mean for Speeding Drivers?

What is California AB 43 and What Does it Mean for Speeding Drivers?

Jan 4, 2022

Los Angeles is known as one of the nation’s most dangerous cities when it comes to traffic accidents. In 2015, the City of Angels became America’s third major city (after New York and San Francisco) to adopt a Vision Zero program, the goal of which is to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2025.

As we noted in a recent blog, Los Angeles saw increases during the first half of 2021 in virtually every traffic crash category (with the exception of fatal pedestrian accidents, which remained steady). Many of those traffic accident increases are attributed to speeding. As a result, a new law known as California Assembly Bill 43 (AB 43) has been passed to specifically address speed limits in Los Angeles and throughout the state. AB 43, which took effect on January 1, 2022, officially changes the way a city determines its speed limits.

Let’s look at California AB 43 in greater detail below. We’ll also provide information on how to file a civil lawsuit in pursuit of financial compensation in the event of a traffic accident injury.

What is California Assembly Bill 43 (AB 43)?

California AB 43 is new legislation which gives cities throughout the state more control over deciding how speed limits should be set (and whether they should be reduced on certain roads and highways).

As local KTLA 5 noted via a Nexstar Media Wire report, prior to AB 43’s passage, Los Angeles as well as other cities throughout the state would set speed limits under the “85% rule” of California’s Vehicle Code.

By utilizing the 85% rule, speed limits were set according to periodic surveys of drivers’ behaviors. Every few years, a Department of Transportation representative would monitor how fast vehicles were traveling along a given street. The legal speed limit for said street would then be determined at the 85th percentile.

But, as the Nexstar report notes, such a survey system essentially sets speed limits according to the top 15% of fastest drivers.

“The method by which speed limits were set meant that the fastest drivers would set the speed limit since most drivers generally travel just above the posted limit,” Colin Sweeney, a Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) spokesperson, told Nexstar.

As a result of speed limits being set by the fastest drivers on our roads and highways, historically they tended to only increase from year-to-year.

This method gave no consideration to other uses of the streets such as pedestrian activity or what speed the street was originally engineered for,” Sweeney added.

And, as Nexstar also noted, enforcing a speed limit on a specific street required an “up-to-date speed survey,” which typically always resulted in the limit being raised in order to be enforced.

“These increases would come regardless of whether or not there were engineering changes that might merit such a change,” Sweeney told Nexstar. “In the last cycle prior to AB 43, LADOT had to raise speed limits on 200 miles of city streets, often on streets with the highest frequency of fatal or severe injury crashes.”

How is California AB 43 Applied in Setting Speed Limits?

With AB 43 taking effect on January 1, cities will eventually have added control and ability in lowering speed limits, specifically in areas that may be more prone to traffic safety concerns (business districts, sections of a town with frequent pedestrian or bicycle traffic, etc.).

Moreover, as Sweeney told Nexstar, California streets with a history of pedestrian accidents will now be eligible for implementing speed reductions.

AB 43 passed in the California Assembly by a 68-5 vote and in the Senate with a 30-5 vote.

But although AB 43 took effect on January 1, cities will be unable to enforce lower speed limits under the new legislation until June 30, 2024 (or whenever state officials create an online portal to adjudicate the new infractions – whichever date comes sooner).

However, the LADOT is reportedly already working with city councilors to “determine which streets and corridors should be top priority for reducing speed limits,” according to Sweeney. One particular possibility mentioned in the Nexstar report was the area of Olympic Boulevard near Overland Avenue, where a pedestrian died in a traffic collision last February. Despite the fatal pedestrian accident occurring, the speed limit still had to be raised in order to be enforced, as Nexstar reported.

It’s a clear example of how AB 43 can be utilized to help improve pedestrian and bicycle safety throughout California.

“How we set speed limits within Los Angeles is a matter of life and death,” LADOT General Manager, Seleta Reynolds, told Nexstar.

A person struck by a vehicle going 35 mph has a 68% chance of survival. The survival rate plummets to 35% if the vehicle is going 40 mph,” she added.

To read the full text of California Assembly Bill 43, click here.

Speeding and Street Racing on the Rise in Los Angeles

As we’ve noted in past blogs, both speeding collisions and street racing accidents have been on the rise in the Los Angeles-area since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

It seems lately, almost every weekend or every couple of weeks, we have a fatality somewhere in the county that’s related to street racing,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant, Michael Downing, said in an interview with ABC 7 last year. “You see on the freeway, all the time, the high speeds and they crash into somebody who’s going slower or [an] innocent party on the freeway gets killed,” Downing, a 17-year law enforcement veteran, added.

While AB 43 won’t necessarily curtail illegal street racing directly, allowing cities to apply greater fines and/or citations through reduced speed limits may serve as a deterrent.

Injured in a Traffic Accident? Conact California’s Leading Car Accident Lawyers

If you’ve suffered an injury through a car, truck, pedestrian, bicycle, or other type of motor vehicle collision as a result of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation for various damages.

Depending on the specific circumstances related to your case, some common damages that may be secured through a personal injury civil lawsuit include:

  • Hospital expenses
  • Medical care costs (such as physical therapy or equipment)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

Before speaking with the insurance company or accepting any type of cash settlement, contact a Dordulian Law Group (DLG) personal injury lawyer for a free and no obligation consultation. We’ll review the facts of your case, provide all available legal options, and develop a precise but aggressive legal strategy seeking to recover the maximum compensation you deserve.

Our experienced car and pedestrian accident lawyers are available 24/7 at 818-322-4056. We’ve helped injured clients secure more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success record, and we’re here to fight for you in your time of need.

When you’re ready to take the first step towards securing justice after a traffic accident injury, the trusted team at DLG is here to serve as your dedicated legal advocates.


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