California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

706. Basic Speed Law (Veh. Code, § 22350)

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706.Basic 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.
New September 2003; Revised December 2016
Directions for Use
Driving at an unreasonable speed is negligence per se (see Hert v. Firestone Tire &
Rubber Co. (1935) 4 Cal.App.2d 598, 599 [41 P.2d 369]), which establishes the
first element of CACI No. 400, Negligence—Essential Factual Elements. Plaintiff
must still prove the other two elements of harm and causation. (See CACI No. 430,
Causation: Substantial Factor.)
Sources and Authority
• 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].)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 878
California Tort Guide (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) § 4.16
508
0010
2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 20, Motor Vehicles, § 20.63[3][a] (Matthew
Bender)
MOTOR VEHICLES AND HIGHWAY SAFETY CACI No. 706
509
0011