Neighborhood Traffic Safety

Speeding: A Major Neighborhood Concern

The basic speed limit on all Pierce County local roads is 25 miles per hour. Drivers who exceed this limit concern both residents and officials. Often the biggest offenders are residents of the neighborhood who are familiar with the streets, as well as other drivers seeking alternatives to busy arterials.

Uniformity of Speed

Realistic speed limits help preserve uniformity of speed. Uniformity of speed is valuable because:
  • It maintains consistency in traffic gaps for crossing traffic
  • It helps pedestrians to better judge the speed of traffic
  • It reduces the possibility of conflict between faster and slower drivers
  • It makes unreasonable violators more obvious to law enforcement

Unreasonably low posted speed limits interfere with uniformity of speed, which increases the potential for accidents.

The Basic Speed Law

A commitment to establishing realistic speed limits is the foundation of the nationally recognized Basic Speed Law. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW 46.61.400) states:
'No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.'

This law places responsibility on drivers to modify their driving behavior according to roadway conditions.

How Specific Speed Limits Are Established

State law allows counties to set their standard speed limit for roads where no speed limit is posted. In Pierce County the limit is 25 miles per hour (MPH). The 25 MPH limit is in effect for all local roads, unless otherwise posted.

Higher speed limits for arterials are determined through individual traffic investigations. Prevailing speed studies, accident history, and roadway conditions are considered in the investigation.
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