Virginia lawmaker proposes bill to reduce speed limits

Soon some speed limits could be reduced in Northern Virginia.

It’s a move made possible by recently-passed legislation that safety advocates said will make quiet neighborhoods and even busy shopping districts safer, as previously reported by publications the Virginia Mercury and Greater Greater Washington.

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"Mothers with strollers, people on bicycles, people either walking to work or walking to school – this makes our community safer," explained Del. Betsy Carr, D-Richmond, who introduced the bill.

It gives localities the option to drop 25 miles per hour speed limits down to 15 miles per hour, which local governments are not currently allowed to do in most cases. Carr proposed the legislation after a 16-year-old girl was killed by a speeding driver in Richmond, and it has plenty of support in Northern Virginia too.

"Speed matters. Speed kills, speed maims," said Mike Doyle, a founding member of the group NOVA Families For Safe Streets, which has chapters in Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington. Doyle is also the survivor of a crash that nearly killed him.

He said the difference between 15 and 25 miles per hour can be life and death.

"If we reduce speeds, then people have a chance of surviving," Doyle said. "Better yet, it has a better chance of the driver stopping quicker."

The law is expected to kick-in July 1, pending the governor’s signature.

It wasn’t immediately clear which Northern Virginia localities planned to reduce speed limits, although Carr said officials in Alexandria had previously expressed their support for the legislation.