Variable Speed Limit (VSL) Systems in Texas

Reynolds and Reynolds Law Firm
Traffic in TexasAre you familiar with the recent groundbreaking changes in Texas, evolving traffic challenges to enhance road safety? The new driving law is now effective as of September 1, 2023, where the amendments revolve around new Variable Speed Limit (VSL) systems, on select highways. The purpose for this is to adjust speed limits based on real-time traffic and weather conditions.

Key Benefits of the VSL System Law:

Not only do these VSL systems have the capability to adapt when needed, based on various factors, they also enhance the safety of Texas roads. This strategic change will reduce accidents due to weather conditions and heavier traffic volumes. Adherence to the recommended speed limits fosters safer driving practices. These systems allow for a smoother flow of traffic, and reduces sudden stops and traffic outbreaks.

Transformation in Texas

Due to recent growth and transformation, it is necessary for the state to evolve the changing needs and challenges of their residents and motorists. These new traffic laws reflect the commitment Texas has to road safety, accountability, and environmental responsibility.

If you are a motorist in Texas, familiarize yourself with the modifications and new traffic regulations. Just as other traffic regulations, it is to ensure you are within the bounds of the law, to avoid danger on the roads and transportation in the Lone Star State.

Enacted through House Bill 1885, this provision allows VSL systems to temporarily alter speed limits on the roads. The reasoning is to prevent accidents caused by speeding in hazardous conditions, such as construction zones, congested traffic, and adverse weather.

Understanding Variable Speed Limits:

A variable speed limit is a dynamic traffic management strategy that allows real-time adjustments to the speed limit. Unlike traditional fixed speed limits, which remain constant regardless of conditions, VSLs provide a more flexible approach to vehicle speed control. It will also require drivers to be more alert, in order to adhere to the speed changes.

When Do Variable Speed Limits Apply in Texas?

House Bill 1885 empowers local Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) engineers to make temporary speed limit adjustments under specific conditions. These adjustments do not require statewide transportation commissioner approval. Adjustments may apply in various situations. They will apply in emergencies, heavy fog, ice or snow, inclement weather conditions, poor visibility, rain, road construction, road maintenance, and special events.

Effectiveness of Variable Speed Limits:

The efficacy of VSLs in preventing car accidents was tested in a TxDOT pilot program initiated by House Bill 2204 in 2013. The program was executed in 2014 in in San Antonio, Temple, and Eastland County. During this program, it demonstrated marked safety benefits and a reduced risk of accidents in adverse traffic and weather conditions.

Enforcement and Consequences:

Under Texas’ new law, compliance with variable speed limits is mandatory. Violating these temporary speed limits is treated as a traffic infraction. This will ultimately translate into citations for the driver and potential legal consequences. In the event of a car accident caused by a driver breaking a VSL, the driver may be held financially responsible for the collision.

Contact the professionals at Reynolds and Reynolds as your dedicated legal team. If you are injured in an accident where these new VSL systems are in place, we will fight for you. Our expert attorneys in Frisco are here to help you receive the settlement you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation here or call (972) 684-5011 to speak with a local attorney today.  Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more information.