SOUTH LAKE TAHOE POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE
The Basic Speed Law Still Exists on US Highway 50
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Contact: Lt. Brian Williams
Address: 1352 Johnson Blvd. South Lake Tahoe, Ca. 96150
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department desires to share some important information with our public about the raising of speed limit on US Highway 50 through the city limits. Based upon the latest Caltrans traffic and engineering study, the speed limit will increase by 5 mph from what is currently posted. However, until the new speed limit signs are posted along US Highway 50, the existing speed limit signs are currently not enforceable, per se. While we are in this transition, we strongly encourage our residents and visitors to continue following the currently posted speed limit signs.
We also want to remind motorists on US Highway 50 that, regardless of any posted speed limit signs, the basic speed law always exists on all California highways at all times as described in section 22350 of the California Vehicle Code, “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
Although the general speed limit is currently defined as 55 mph on US Highway 50 where there exists a single lane of traffic in either direction, or 65 mph where there are two lanes of traffic in either direction, those speeds are not a safe speed in the city limits of South Lake Tahoe at any time. Chief Brian Uhler has instructed SLTPD officers to continue enforcing the basic speed law on US Highway 50 by issuing speeding citations to those drivers who operate their vehicles in violation of Vehicle Code § 22350.
Chief Uhler states, “It is unreasonable for anyone to consider 55 mph or 65 mph a safe speed on Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe. Driving at those speeds could potentially constitute reckless driving.” The California Vehicle Code defines reckless driving in section § 23103 as, “A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving is a misdemeanor criminal offense, and can be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days or more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department remains committed to the safety of our public, regardless of their mode of transportation. Please drive defensively and with great care and consideration for all those who rely on the safe traveling conditions on US Highway 50.