Variable speed limits along I-285 aimed at reducing accidents

Safe driving depends on the circumstances and conditions of the road. On a sunny Georgia day, with little traffic, going 65 mph can be no more dangerous than going 55 mph. Weather and traffic conditions, however, can make driving at much lesser speeds risky.

That is the theory behind the Georgia Department of Transportation's new rule to have variable speed limits on I-285. On clear days, without construction or traffic, some areas of the highway in DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb Counties will have the speed limit raised to 65 mph. As part of that initiative, however, GDOT will institute electronic speed limit signs that can lower the speed limit in 10 mph increments. The Department of Transportation maintains that this will make the highway safer and decrease congestion.

The speed limit will officially change this September.

Atlanta has notoriously congested traffic along I-285 and other city roads. During last winter's ice and snow storms, the city came to a deadlock and numerous accidents occurred. State planners hope that variable speed limits may reduce the type of deadlock that shut the city down in January. It may also help the highway become a safer place to drive when inclement weather, construction and accidents occur.

Negligent driving can depend on many factors

Anything to help promote safety on the state's roads is beneficial. Unfortunately, it is very hard to prevent bad drivers from endangering other motorists and their families. According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, every year over 1,000 fatalities occur through motor vehicle accidents on the state's roads. Many more are seriously injured. These accidents may involve alcohol or drug use, excessive speed or distracted driving.

A person drives negligently if he or she fails to act with reasonable care when operating a vehicle. Going faster than the posted speed limit is indicative of negligence, but it is not the only factor. If there is construction on the roads, or a previous accident, for example, a driver must use proper care when driving. Just because a driver is technically under the speed limit does not mean he or she was driving safely.

While prevention is an important goal, car accident victims do have legal options if they become injured because of the negligence of another driver. A personal injury attorney can help victims recover medical expenses, lost wages and other money damages. In the aftermath of an accident, victims do not want to think about dealing with insurance companies or paying for medical care - they just want to work on getting healthy. People injured in car accidents in Atlanta should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss legal options.

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