This page is being built to become a complete resource on the setting of speed limits. Until then, we are going to start posting some the traffic court cases here. On most of the briefs posted, there are links in the text to the supporting documents or laws.
SPEED LIMITS: When and why the 85th percentile, how it relates to safety, enforcement and our laws.
07/15/2009 By Chad Dornsife, Director, Best Highway Safety Practices Institute – Institute of Transportation Engineers, 2009 District 6 Annual Meeting, July 15, 2009, Denver, CO
This presentation covers speed limit law which few (read none) comply with, best practices, charts on actual risk and recommended practices; including interstates, rural highways, urban roads, schools and construction zones, and truck speed limits. It also covers what happens when you have no limits and the expectations of what a speed limit can and cannot do as well as other best safety practices.
Over 90 percent of speed citations are written to those otherwise driving safely according to the FHWA!
Transportation Research Board (TRB) Special Report 254: Managing Speed, used to perpetrate fraud on "We the People", in another act of malfeasance sponsored by the USDOT.
11/12/2007 By Chad Dornsife, Director, Best Highway Safety Practices Institute When NHTSA found the science of making our roads safer interfered with its agenda’s, they began a program that intentionally made us less safe. This TRB 254 report is part of that misinformation effort. Consequently, the nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance by the USDOT is directly responsible for as many as 10,000 traffic deaths and innumerable more injuries a year. Why? Incredible as it may sound, we sacrifice thousands to support for–profit enforcement programs and empire building that have no safety value, whatsoever. The TRB has become the go–to organization if you want a report to support a political agenda, that is not supported by the facts. This isn’t the first time the USDOT has used this organization for propaganda. The problem is, how can one discern the difference; you can’t, and that is sad for the TRB.
1993 letter excerpts;
"The FHWA’s Special Studies Division in cooperation with the AASHTO Subcommittee on Traffic Engineering contracted for the most definitive long term (7 year) study ever on the "Effects of Raising and Lowering Speed Limits," (FHWA–RD–92–084) while subjecting it to peer review during the entire process."
“Notwithstanding, the NHTSA with its own agenda successfully derailed the official release of this study for two years now. This study confirmed and expanded upon previous research that had been the cornerstone of transportation engineering on the establishment of safe speed zones prior to the politicization of this issue. It is unbelievable that NHTSA has so much control over so many people by using junk science and special interest groups rather than scientific data."
"The studies fatal flaw; where speed limits were increased accident rates went down and most speed limits are set well below what the public’s and traffic engineer’s consensus as to the safe for conditions speeds."
Here is another example from the Federal Register in 1995 citing a NHTSA notice where they explicitly refused to condition speed enforcement aid on reasonable speed limits. This mindset is pervasive throughout this agency’s actions.
"The agencies have not adopted West Virginia’s suggestion to include a statement that enforcement funding be preceded by engineering evaluations of existing speed limits. To do so would hinder enforcement efforts, based on a blanket presumption that existing speed limits are not reasonable. The agencies are neither willing to accept that presumption nor to place conditions on enforcement efforts, which we view as a vital tool for effective speed control."
TRB Speed Limit Workshop, January 9, 2000 was the launch of NHTSA's effort to codify its undermining of roadway safety practices to advance USDOT self–interest agendas. This TRB: 254 report is one of several abominations that resulted from this nefarious effort. Bottom line, the report is not based on new research because factual findings are too dangerous. Why? Because in 70 years of research, not a single peer reviewed study, ever, supports NHTSA’s programs. Many of those on this TRB committee were either ill informed, or those that had a direct financial interest in undermining best practices. Only one or two were notable actual subject matter experts (Dr. Taylor), nobody represented due process; exactly what NHTSA had worked so hard to accomplish, ignorance rather than science and fair laws becoming recommended practice.
Among those on this committee, the father of poor practices to support his client's (Richard A. Retting, IIHS) revenue opportunities, and the assistant to the police chief that operates the largest automated speed trap in the world, for profit (Terrance W. Gainer, Washington, DC); up to 700,000 citations a year in a community of 500,000. with no speed limits set in accordance with recommended practice. Some of the others were from states where best practice is an unknown. More interesting, Washington, DC, using NHTSA and IIHS et al model law, successfully removed problematic due process that had formerly inhibited unfettered fine collection! Even worse, not single study, report or recommended practice regarding speed limits by any organization (ITE, FHWA, NHTSA, IIHS et al), since 1995, has been based on peer reviewed scientific findings.
Setting Speed Limits: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Presented CTCDC (California Traffic Control Device Committee) Meeting 02/23/2006
02/23/2006 By Chad Dornsife, Director, Best Highway Safety Practices Institute Setting speed limits that meet the safety needs of the government, advances the publics’ general welfare, reduces accidents and ensures motorists’ due process is possible. The answer that will meet the safety needs of the state while providing due process is already the very foundation of our nation’s traffic control laws. All we have to do is apply them. This paper will outline our governing traffic control law’s foundation, Best Practice, and provide constructive guidance for the traffic engineers to make us all safer.
The battle to control the setting of speed limits, is literally killing us!
From an engineering perspective an "Engineering Study" is, in effect, a periodic safety audit of roadway or highway system, and the setting of reasonable speed limits is a byproduct of that process. Engineering studies have been required on all roadways open to public travel since 1988. The following sections will clearly explain the rationales behind setting speed limits and Best Practice. Before that though, we must make it clear regarding speed limits, this is not an intellectual debate per se, because this truly is a safety issue. Because the statutory minimum required establishing a speed limit is an engineering study, a safety review of a roadway system. They are not being done, and worse NHTSA has undertaken a successful campaign to eliminate their importance altogether. Public safety has clearly been sacrificed to special interests, and they are literally killings us by the thousands to maintain their power and financial base. Strong words. Yes! But true, and here are some of the facts for background. PDF VERSION
REBUTTAL: AzDOT Final Report 551: Actual Speeds on the Roads Compared to the Posted Limits October 2004
12/2004 By, Chad Dornsife, WELL WRITTEN, SERIOUSLY FLAWED FOUNDATIONS, Since the 1990’s, all new research has had forgone agenda driven conclusions built in which are designed to further undermine engineering best practices. This paper relied almost totally on the research that resulted from this outcome control.
When compared to the unanimity of all prior engineering findings, and the law - MUTCD, the following from your report highlights how wrong a conclusion outcome can be when pseudo research and irrelevant related data is given equal value to actual research.
While there is no clear consensus on the impact that raising or lowering speed limits has on the number of crashes; studies seem to show number of crashes decreases when speed limits are lower and the number of crashes increases or remains unchanged when speed limits are raised.
MONTANA PARADOX: NOW ILLEGALLY POSTED SPEED LIMITS!
8/11/2001 By, Chad Dornsife, WHAT IS DONE FOR MONEY, “ What wasn’t an error! The legislature was clearly misled during the hearings on speed limit legislation. MDT report relied heavily on unsupported propaganda, scare tactics, uninformed conjecture, half truths, engineering practice being testified to completely out of context with its intended applications, and irrelevant data and references to provide volume and a sense of authority – to sell an agenda to the legislature rather than advise it with facts.”“ regardless of how it happened, Montana ended up with virtually all its speed limits being illegally posted.” This is as story about greed, power, government lying and We the People are seen as the prey of this enterprise. Change the name MONTANA to your state’s name, and everything applies there as well. When examined in detail it becomes a Nation’s disgrace!
MONTANA: FATAL ACCIDENTS DOUBLE
5/10/2001 By, Chad Dornsife, FOLLOW UP STUDY to MONTANA PARADOX, “The doubling of fatal accidents occurred after Montana implemented its new safety program; complete with federal funding, artificially low speed limits and full enforcement. The evidence strongly suggests that some of these lives lost were a direct result of Montana’s politicians succumbing to unfounded conjecture. They passed a politically correct law at a time when the state’s fatalities were at a modern low and its roads were never safer.”
2/11/2000 By, Chad Dornsife, STUDY,“The study on the effects of no daytime speed limits in Montana is clear. Traffic safety, if anything, actually improved without posted limits or massive enforcement efforts. Highway safety wasn’t compromised nor can the lowest fatality rates recorded in modern times be ignored. Something happened, it was positive, and it needs further research to analyze what worked and why.”
A VICTORY FOR COMMON SENSE IN BC!
5/30/2001 VANCOUVER, BC – Nearly six years after the NDP first announced plans for photo radar, Premier–elect Gordon Campbell made it very clear that he will stand by his word and photo radar will soon be history in BC.
FHWA – Millennium Edition of the MUTCD
12/2000 LETTER, Re: Statutory Speed Limit Definition – inclusion in MUTCD illegal act. There are links within to 3 letters written in regards to this problem, including cites to where they violated the law.
CALIFORNIA – COOPER
6/2009 Statutory Speed Limit: Brief, Federal Supremacy, MUTCD, illegally posted speed limits, invented numbers and illegal not to exceed absolute maximums, racketeering, officer incompetent to testify, no factual foundation.
NEBRASKA – HICKMAN
12/2000 Brief, APPEAL of speeding ticket on county road.
MICHIGAN – PHILLIPS
2/2001 Brief, MOTION TO DISMISS of speeding ticket on county road.
NEVADA – MEAD/ACTIVE CASE
6/2001 Brief, MOTION TO DISMISS of speeding ticket on City of Henderson city street.
CALIFORNIA – LEVINE — PHOTO RADAR WIN!
1997 Brief, MOTION TO DISMISS of speeding ticket In City of Oakland. As result of this case, the next day the Judges had a meeting and the Oakland Court decided to stop accepting photo radar cases for prosecution.
FHWA – SPEED MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP — RENO, NEVADA, 1996 - RECOMMENDED PRACTICE
Realistic Speed LimitsWhy & How — Speed limits and the law; Speed limits, speed and accident risk; Speed limits and driver acceptance; Design speed vs posted speed; Methods for setting speed limits; Recommended approach; Implementation & federal assistance. Interesting twist, the federal safety engineers where trying to offer grant money to entice posting authorities to raise speed limits to the 85th percentile, raised to the next 5 mph increment, because they had found this to be best practice.