VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hi. My name is Robert Mansour, and today I'm broadcasting from my home office here in Los Angeles, California. I'm a lawyer in the Los Angeles area, and one of my areas of practice is personal injury. One of the major Vehicle Code sections that pops its head up in police reports in accidents is Vehicle Code Section 22350.
In fact, if you have a police report dealing with your personal injury matter, you might see that cited by the police officer somewhere in the report, 22350. That means that somebody was driving too fast for the circumstances.
And a lot of clients ask me what is this exactly. What is California Vehicle Code Section 22350? And basically, it's the basic California speed law. And what it says is that you should not be driving too fast for the circumstances. You should drive in a reasonable fashion given the circumstances around you.
So a lot of clients will call me and they'll say, "Well, I was driving the speed limit. I don't see what the problem is." But, you see, the California speed law, Vehicle Code Section 22350, doesn't say anything about the speed limit. It just says you need to be driving in a reasonable fashion given the circumstances, and there's no mention of the speed limit.
So if the speed limit is 35, that simply means that's the fastest you should be going ever in that particular location, not that's how fast you should be going all the time, because if it's a school day and there's kids walking around, people crossing the street, other cars stopped for some reason, or the weather is not very good, or whatever the case may be, driving 35 miles per hour, which might be the speed limit, may not be reasonable for that particular circumstance.
I had a case long ago where I was able to prove that the other party, although driving the speed limit, was partly negligent in the case because that was too fast for the circumstances. Vehicles in the number one lane had come to a stop. Vehicles in the number two lane had come to a stop. And this woman was barreling down the number three lane, arguing, "Look, my lane was clear. I'm driving the speed limit." But we were able to successfully argue to a jury that that wasn't reasonable for the circumstances given the fact that other vehicles were stopped in other lanes.
So sometimes the Vehicle Code can be misleading. The speed limit can be misleading. California's basic speed law, codified in Vehicle Code Section 22350, says nothing about the speed limit.
Thank you very much for watching this brief video. Again, my name is Robert Mansour, and thank you very much for joining me.
* Call (661) 414-7100 for a free consultation regarding your personal injury case.
California's basic speed law is governed by California Vehicle Code section 22350. What most people don't know is that the speed limit has little to do with the basic speed law.
Here is the text of Vehicle Code section 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."
The speed law essentially states one should not drive more than what is "reasonable" or "prudent" given the circumstances. Of course, driving above the posted speed limit is not a wise decision just because you think it's reasonable. However, if you cause an accident while driving, the fact you were driving the speed limit is not a defense, especially if circumstances were such that even the speed limit was too fast. Therefore, if you see all traffic coming to a stop, you can't simply drive 35 mph and hit a little kid crossing the street. The reasonable thing to do would be to slow down and perhaps come to a stop. Driving the speed limit in that situation is not a defense, even though the posted speed limit might indeed be 35 mph at that location.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,