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The Differential Speed Limit What Was California ThinkingThe speed limit on many California highways is 65 mph, but you may go 70 mph when posted unless you are driving a truck with three or more axles or you are on an undivided highway, then the speed limit is 55 mph. This differential speed limit has caused many problems across the state because of vehicles having to pass other vehicles that are limited to 55 mph on a freeway where most traffic is doing 65-70 mph. Another legal issue concern mainly those truckers coming to CA from another state for the first time and are unaware of the rules of the road.

Truckers and other commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are already faced with a fifty percent higher penalty with the Negligent Operators Treatment System (NOTS) than other drivers. When a driver is convicted of a moving violation in their CMV, they are penalized 1.5 points against their license instead of the one point given a non-commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, not to mention lost employment if they are employed by an employer with a zero-defect mindset or they accrue too many points and get their license suspended, which isn’t hard to do given only four points in a year. When a driver has a minor infraction for 1.5, another mistake could put them on the verge of suspension and unemployment.

Who Must Drive 55 MPH?

CA has a differential speed limit for specific vehicles, according to CVC 22406, 55 mph is the speed limit for these vehicles:

· Trucks with three or more axles

· A school bus with pupils on-board

· Farm vehicles transporting laborers

· Vehicles transporting explosive material

· Any vehicle towing another vehicle, such as boat trailers and RVs

The basis most legislators used to justify this law was that the larger vehicles took longer to stop in an emergency and vehicles towing a trailer could jack-knife when they had to stop quickly. A jack-knifed vehicle can sweep several smaller vehicles with it and cause extensive damage and injuries.

A Magnified Problem at Highway On-Ramps

Two CA laws cause significant problems and traffic snags at highway on-ramps in CA. The first is the differential speed limit of 55-mph limit for trucks and other vehicles with three or more axles and the other is the requirement for those vehicles to stay in the slow lane, which is normally the lane furthest to the right. This lane is normally clogged with trucks and large vehicles that must abide by the 55-mph speed limit and even when the highway hosts four or five lanes the first two lanes get hampered by too much traffic.

A highway on-ramp is supposed to allow merging vehicles to get up to highway speed, but the right most lanes are filled with slow-moving trucks and large vehicles so that those vehicles moving onto the highway must slow down and during high traffic times come to a complete stop and wait for their turn to get on the highway. Traffic accident studies have shown that eighty to ninety percent of all freeway accidents happen at on-ramps and off-ramps. The same could probably be said for traffic back-ups, eighty to ninety percent of traffic jams start at highway on-ramps where traffic is backed up trying to get on the highway.

This traffic congestion might well be solved by allowing all traffic to go the same speed and if all vehicles could move over to allow merging traffic to gain access to the freeway as is done in almost every other state.

Problem with the Differential Speed Limit? Call Bigger & Harman

Bigger & Harman are traffic ticket defenders, call to make an appointment when you have received a ticket for a differential speed limit violation for a FREE, no obligation consultation, today. Call the law office of Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300. Se habla Español 661-349-9755. Or, send us an email: Give us as much detail as possible to better advise you on your next course of action.

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