Sunday, April 17, 2005

New speed limit?

The new crop
As you are most likely aware, a new generation of children is growing up amongst us. We have at least half a dozen children of pre-school and kindergarten age living on Stonehill Drive, and another handful of grand-children in that same age range who visit and play here on a regular basis.

Why the new sign?
You probably noticed the home-made sign that went up on Stonehill Drive recently. For those of you who hadn’t heard, a car accident occurred on Stonehill Drive not too long ago. One of our neighbors was backing out of his driveway, and was hit by a gardening truck that was traveling down the hill. There was major damage to the vehicle. Thankfully this time it was a car that was hit and no one was hurt.

Speeding downhill?
It is easy to forget how steep our street is. On a flat road, stopping distance is proportional to the square of the speed. Translation? Doubling your speed quadruples your stopping distance in the best of conditions. When traveling downhill, as on our street, stopping distances are more than quadrupled when speed is doubled. With summer on the way and so many children (and pets) in the neighborhood, combined with the steep hill and numerous “blind” front yards due to tall shrubs, etc, it is a good time to take a moment to remind your guests, visitors and workers to keep their speed in check. Please remind them that even mid-day during the week, there is a good chance that children might dart out from behind a hedge.

Pedestrian/car accidents
Pedestrian fatalities are the second-leading cause of motor vehicle-related deaths, following occupant fatalities. Pedestrian-related fatalities account for about 13% of all motor vehicle-related deaths. On average, one pedestrian in the United States is killed in a traffic crash every 101 minutes.

Who is at risk for pedestrian Injuries?
Children 15 years and younger represented 23% of the total population and accounted for 30% of all nonfatal pedestrian injuries, 11% of all pedestrian fatalities, and 18% of non-traffic related fatalities (this includes incidents in drive-ways and other non-public roads). Among children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes, 25% were pedestrians.

Speeding Accidents
Speeding is defined as traveling faster than the posted speed limit, or traveling too fast for the road conditions even at speeds under the posted limit. It's a major road safety problem because it dramatically increases braking distance and significantly increases crash severity.

Prima Facie Speed Limits
The 2005 California Vehicle Code states:

  • 22352. (a) The prima facie limits are as follows and shall be applicable unless changed as authorized in this code and, if so changed, only when signs have been erected giving notice thereof: […]
  • (2) Twenty-five miles per hour:
  • (A) On any highway other than a state highway, in any business or residence district unless a different speed is determined by local authority under procedures set forth in this code. […]

Basic Speed Law
The 2005 California Vehicle Code states:

  • 22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.
  • Amended Ch. 252, Stats. 1963. Effective September 20, 1963.
  • 360. "Highway" is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street.

Common Sense
Despite the fact that California law defines the prima facie speed limit to be 25 mph on Stonehill Drive, given the Basic Speed Law, it might be argued that the prima facie speed limit is not “reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway,” or that the prima facie speed limit is “a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” As such, common sense suggests that 15 mph might be the “reasonable or prudent” speed limit on Stonehill Drive.

Thanks for helping out :)

1 comment:

  1. You should advertise this blog to more of our neighbors to encourage community. I live on Loma Alta Drive but still appreciate your blog. I love the weather station and was wondering how much rain Altadena has received this season (61 inches!) and I was always curious as to what the elevation was here! I estimated around 1450-1600 one time....seems like I was close.

    Regarding the speed limit, you are right on the money. For a quiet street, Loma Alta gets a fare bit of traffic.