Most people are aware that speeding can lead to serious accidents but drivers continue to break them anyway. Recently, the City of Boston reduced speed limits to 25 miles-per-hour with the goal of reducing the number of traffic-related pedestrian deaths and injuries. According to recent reports, Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston City Council are considering reducing the speed limit to 20 miles-per-hour to provide even greater protections.
The move to reduce speed limits originated with the City’s VisionZero program, which was backed by Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature. In 2016, Governor Baker signed a piece of legislation called the Municipal Modernization bill that allows municipalities to reduce speed limits from 30 miles-per-hour to 25 miles-per-hour as the default for areas where no speed limits are posted. This is especially important for high-traffic areas that adjoin residential communities like Boston, Quincy, Dedham, Cambridge, and Arlington. It is important for drivers to be aware of this change and to reduce their speed to 25 miles-per-hour in affected areas.
Although the speed limit reduction may not seem like it will make a big difference, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study concluding that the 5 mile-per-hour reduction from 30 miles-per-hour to 25 miles-per-hour led to a 29% reduction in vehicles traveling 35 miles-per-hour or more. Also, data shows that 90% of pedestrians who are hit in a vehicle accident are hit by a vehicle that was traveling faster than 20 miles-per-hour.