Updated on April 19th, 2023

Traffic Car Motorcycle Truck Speed Law (Veh. Code, § 22350)

A person must drive at a reasonable speed. Whether a particular speed is reasonable depends on the circumstances such as traffic, weather, visibility, and road conditions. Drivers must not drive so fast that they create a danger to people or property.

If [name of plaintiff/defendant] has proved that [name of defendant/plaintiff] was not driving at a reasonable speed at the time of the accident, then [name of defendant/plaintiff] was negligent.

  • Speeding. Vehicle Code section 22350.

  • “The so-called basic speed law is primarily a regulation of the conduct of the operators of vehicles. They are bound to know the conditions which dictate the speeds at which they can drive with a reasonable degree of safety. They know, or should know, their cars and their own ability to handle them, and especially their ability to come to a stop at different speeds and under different conditions of the surface of the highway.” (Wilding v. Norton (1957) 156 Cal.App.2d 374, 379 [319 P.2d 440].)

  • “Whether Vehicle Code section 22350 has been violated is a question of fact.” (Leighton v. Dodge (1965) 236 Cal.App.2d 54, 57 [45 Cal.Rptr. 820], internal citation omitted.)

  • “A number of cases have held that it is proper to give an instruction in the terms of this section and to inform the jury that a violation of the statute is negligence.” (Hardin v. San Jose City Lines, Inc. (1953) 41 Cal.2d 432, 438 [260 P.2d 63].)

  • Compliance with the posted speed law does not negate negligence as a matter of law. (Maxwell v. Colburn (1980) 105 Cal.App.3d 180, 186 [163 Cal.Rptr. 912].)

  • The operator of a motor vehicle has a constant duty to observe traffic conditions and he cannot plead ignorance as to what speed, under the existing observable conditions, would be reasonable and prudent. Wilding v. Norton, 156 Cal. App. 2d 374.

  • While a passenger in a motor vehicle cannot be presumed to know everything the operator must know, he cannot ignore the speed at which the car is traveling or the manner in which it is being operated; he must be reasonably alert to conditions that would affect his own safety, but he does not have the absolute duty the operator has to know at hat speed the car can be driven with safety. Wilding v. Norton, 156 Cal. App. 2d 374.

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