The Belt Highway in St. Joseph—one of the most dangerous stretches of road for car accidents in the area—is increasing the speed limit on one of its busiest sections. The increase will add uniformity to the speed limits on the road. It is also supposed to reduce confusion and is not expected to add to the number of car crashes.
Speed Limit on Section of Belt Highway to Increase
The Belt Highway—the section of U.S. Highway 169 that runs through St. Joseph—has a speed limit of 40 miles per hour everywhere in St. Joseph except for one place: The half mile stretch between Frederick Boulevard and Faraon Street, in front of the East Hills Shopping Mall. There, the speed limit is 35 miles per hour.
The City Council of St. Joseph recently approved an ordinance that would increase this short stretch to 40 miles per hour.
Change Aims to Reduce Confusion and Add Uniformity
The Council decided to make the change after determining that the five mile per hour difference did not seem to be impacting crash stats in the area, eliminating the need to decrease speed. Additionally, because the decrease in speed only lasted for half of a mile, council members found that the changes in traffic flow only added to confusion, rather than safety.
In the end, keeping a uniform speed limit on the Belt Highway seemed to be a safer option.
Primary Cause of Car Accidents on Belt Highway: Left Turns
The Council also backed up its decision with hard data from the Missouri Department of Transportation (DOT). According to the DOT, excessive speed was rarely causing crashes on the Belt Highway between Frederick Boulevard and Faraon Street.
Instead, the chief concern for road safety on this stretch of highway is left turns. People turning left out of roadside stores and parking lots or using the center lane to turn left into businesses are causing crashes far more often than speeders.
Possible Impact of Increased Speed Limit
In the end, the difference in the speed limit on this short stretch of road is not likely to change much. Because the difference is only five miles per hour, drivers on the Belt Highway are unlikely to change their habits: It is unlikely that many drivers chose to reduce their speed for this stretch of road, before the new change. Additionally, the typical congestion of this stretch often makes it impossible to reach the speed limit, anyway. In fact, many drivers may not have even noticed that there was a different speed limit for this particular half mile.
However, now that it is being publicized that the speed limit is 40, we may see car accidents get more severe as the added speed takes its toll.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
The personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph represent those who have been hurt in a car wreck in western Missouri. Contact us online or call us at (816) 875-9373 for the legal help you need.