A newly proposed Missouri law could increase the speed limit to 75 MPH in rural areas. Currently, speed limits are capped at 70 MPH. If Rep. Mike Kelley succeeds in convincing his fellow lawmakers of the bill’s merits, the revised speed limit would apply to “cars and trucks traveling on parts of interstates and other four-lane roads that lie outside urban areas.”
While this introduced bill may soon become law, it may also raise questions regarding liability for excessive speeds. What happens if you are in a collision where excessive speed could be a potential cause? Does the other driver automatically become liable for medical bills? How about lost time away from work, or loss of opportunity to enjoy your life pain-free? Sometimes the only resolution to financial and emotional losses can be found by speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney who can represent you in court.
Excessive speed is still a common cause of highway collisions, but it is not a “de facto” or automatic proof of negligent driving. Missouri case law has stated that the posted speed limit is only one factor in determining liability in a collision. “There are numerous cases which have stated that speed may be excessive even though the driver was obeying the speed limits,” Hill v. Boling (1975).
During a car crash personal injury claim, the court will always consider the posted speed limit. But the court will also look at the road conditions, weather, and anything else that can be factored into what was reasonable at the time of the collision. Again, Missouri courts have said that, “[D]riving at a speed which endangers persons and property under then existing conditions may constitute negligence even though that rate of speed is within the limits of a statute,” Powell v. Watson (1975).
Factoring in things like wintry road conditions, visibility, traffic congestion, and other potential hazards, the posted speed limit becomes one of several factors in determining excessive speed. If you have been injured in St. Louis following what you believe to be speeding, contact a car crash attorney familiar with Missouri law for help.