Personal InjuryRep. Israel Files Bill to Reduce Urban Neighborhood Speed Limits

February 20, 2017by Aaron Allison

Reduce Urban Neighborhood Speed LimitsState Representative Celia Israel of Austin’s District 50 has filed a bill that would reduce urban neighborhood speed limits from 30 miles per hour down to 25. The bill comes in response to a spate of pedestrian accidents in Austin, such as the one that hospitalized young Ben Sokolic last year.

The Story of Ben Sokolic

Ben Sokolic is a 10-year-old Austin boy whose story became one of the prime motivators behind the proposed speed limit changes. Ben’s aunt Kathy shared his story at the Texas Capitol when State Rep. Israel filed House Bill 1368.

Ben was a smart, very focused child who loved to read. One day last year, he was stepping out of the family vehicle in Austin’s Mueller neighborhood when a truck came barreling down his street at 30 miles per hour and hit him. He was left with broken bones, bruises on his heart and lungs, a traumatic brain injury and a broken neck. By all odds, the accident should have killed him – but it did not. He survived, and now lives in a Dallas medical facility with round-the-clock care. His family takes turns traveling to Dallas to see him as he recovers.

How Speed Affects Pedestrian Injuries

If the speed limit on that road had been 25 miles per hour instead of 30, the outcome may have been much different. The driver may have had more time to react. Ben may have been able to see the car coming and gotten out of the way. Even if the hit was unavoidable, Ben’s injuries may not have been so severe. Data from AAA Texas shows that a reduction from 30 miles per hour to 25 on neighborhood streets results in an almost 50 percent better survival rate for victims of pedestrian accidents.

Say you are driving 25 miles per hour and you strike a fire hydrant. The impact would likely not kill you, but your car is going to be pretty messed up, because the mass of the car moving at that speed is pretty, well, massive (thanks, Isaac Newton). Suppose you are driving 35 – how much worse is the damage? You might think it would be 40 percent worse, since you are driving 40 percent faster. Wrong! The force would be nearly doubled. At 50? Four times as powerful. At 75, NINE times as powerful as the same mass at 25 miles per hour. As you can see, a minor decrease in speed can make a world of difference.

Aaron Allison

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Aaron Allison

Aaron Allison, a second-generation personal injury lawyer from Austin, follows in the footsteps of his father, who founded their firm in 1978. Admitted to practice by the Texas Supreme Court, the Federal Court for the Western District of Texas, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court, Aaron brings extensive legal expertise to his clients.

Specializing in personal injury cases, Aaron offers a distinct advantage for Texas workers injured on the job. With Texas workers' compensation laws leading many attorneys to avoid these cases, Aaron is one of only 40 lawyers among 95,000 in Texas who represent injured workers in straight workers' compensation cases. His firm continues to provide dedicated support for those suffering catastrophic work injuries, maintaining a proud tradition of advocacy spanning decades.