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Traffic survey results in speed limit increase for ten West Sacramento streets

WEST SACRAMENTO – In California, more than 30 percent of car crashes are caused by speeding – and the state has seen a double-digit increase in the number of fatal accidents caused by drivers going too fast.

So why is one city actually raising its speed limits on some streets?

Fernando Maurizio says it's common to see people driving down his street going way over the posted 25 mph speed limit.

"We see accidents on a regular basis," Maurizio said.

And he's concerned about cars crashing into his home.

"I'm always scared that somebody's going to actually go through my window," he said.

But Maurizio's street is one of ten in the City of West Sacramento where drivers can now legally go 5 mph faster.

"We're doing our due diligence to make sure that the speed limits are up-to-date and current with the data that's actually out there," said Arianna Adame with the City of West Sacramento. 

In California, cities are required to do traffic surveys every seven years.

"We, the City of West Sacramento, have been conducting this process for a good part of a year now," Adame said.

And speed limits on streets like these must be set at what's called the "85th-percentile."

"They'll measure the speed of vehicles free flowing through that area, and then they select about what 85 percent of what the vehicles are traveling," said attorney John Campanella. 

Campanella says if drivers are constantly going faster than the posted limit, it may have to be raised to be enforceable by police.

"If there's not a speed survey to justify the speed, then that speed limit can be challenged in court," Campanella said.

And he says allowing drivers to go faster could actually make streets safer.

"So you don't have such a diverse speeding amongst travelers," Campanella said. "The more similar the speed, generally, it's safer that way."

But people like Fernando are concerned higher speed limits will cause more crashes.

"Raising the speed limit won't actually fix anything, it will make things worse," Maurizio said.

The West Sacramento city council voted to approve the speed changes this week – and the new signs are expected to go up in the next 30 to 60 days.

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