Written by Gregory Monte.
My last blog post described a technicality in the Pennsylvania speed limit statutes which could be used in court to win your case – the requirement that signs be posted at least every ½ mile. If you want to know the details, go to Beating a Speeding Ticket in PA – You may be able to use this interesting technicality to win your case.
In that article, I mentioned that there was another speed limit statute that also involves the proper use of signs – Chapter 212, Section 108. This statute includes two other technicalities that may be of use.
- Subsection (e): “A Speed Limit Sign (R2-1) or variable speed limit sign showing the maximum speed limit shall be placed on the right side of the highway at the beginning of each numerical change in the speed limit …”
- Subsection (e)(1): For areas where the speed limit is 50 miles per hour or less – “A Reduced Speed Ahead Sign (R2-5) or a Speed Reduction Sign (W3-5), shall be placed on the right side of the highway 500 to 1,000 feet before the beginning of every speed reduction …”
Caveat with Technicality #2
Technicality #2 has several caveats that you need to be aware of. There is no need to place a sign warning of the speed reduction in three instances:
- If the reduction in speed is less than 10 miles per hour (like from 55 to 45).
- If the speed reduction begins at an intersection where all traffic either has to stop or turn.
- “The new speed limit is posted on variable speed limit signs.”
I put caveats 1 & 2 in my own words because the meaning of the law is relatively clear. But the third caveat was quoted directly from Subsection (e)(1)(i)(C) because I wanted to make sure that you could see the wording of the statute rather than my interpretation of it.
With regard to caveat #3 (at least from what I can gather), the legislature was trying to make sure that roads that have those digital variable speed limit signs (for varying road conditions) didn’t have to comply with the speed reduction signs because the speed limit could, potentially, change several times a day. It wouldn’t be fair to make someone come out and place/remove an R2-5 or W3-5 sign every time the weather changed.
Normally I like to find some case law to support my interpretation of a statute, but after spending about ½ hour on Google Scholar, I failed to find any. This does not mean, of course, that the two technicalities that I identified are no good, by the way. All it means is that, so far, no one has challenged a ticket based on them (either that or I have to continue searching for a case).