What Are Variable Speed Limit Signs?

Learn more about variable speed limit signs that are popping up all over the country. Find out what they are and how they could make your drive safer.

Every driver in West Virginia knows and understands a speed limit sign. However, there is a movement across the country that could change the look and function of speed limit signs. It is the variable speed limit sign. While West Virginia is not currently using them or considering them, neighboring states, such as Ohio and Virginia, are using them or considering their use. This could mean West Virginia drivers may encounter them and should understand how they work.

The Function of a Variable Speed Limit Sign

A normal speed limit sign has the speed limit printed on it. It does not change unless someone comes along and replaces the sign with a new one. This is the main difference with variable speed limit signs.

According to the Huffington Post, variable speed limit signs are electronic so authorities can change the listed speed limit as needed. There are 15 states already using this type of sign. They change the speed limit on a sign to adjust for traffic flow, road conditions and weather.

These signs require a bit of technology to operate correctly. There must be sensors in the road that gather information. This information goes to an operations center where someone will analyze it and determine if the speed limit should go higher or lower.

The agency or authority over speed limit signs vary from state to state. In some states, added a variable speed limit sign is just a matter of buying the equipment and installing it. In other states, it requires legislature approval to begin using the signs.

Reasons to Use Variable Speed Limit Signs

There is a push to use these high-tech signs because experts say they help make the roadways safer by reducing accidents. This is especially true when it comes to bad weather conditions. Experts also say they can help with congestion and reducing the number of overall accidents on a roadway. The National Center for Rural Road Safety say they work best in high traffic areas or areas where drivers may not always be aware of bad road conditions.

Pros and Cons

The biggest disadvantage of this system is the cost. It can cost over $250,000 to install the signs and keep them operational. There is also some push back with people saying they create speed traps. Law officers also have given negative feedback because they feel it is too difficult to enforce because they are not always kept up-to-date on the current posted speed limit.

On the other hand, this system has shown great results in many states. It helps reduce accidents in almost all situations. It allows for better traffic management and has great potential to reduce congestion in busy areas, making roads safer for everyone.

Knowing and paying attention to speed limits is important to avoid tickets and accidents. If you have had an accident due to such issues, contact our attorneys at Warner Law Offices PLLC.


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