Guest Post by Mark Perkins, Perkins and Associates
While there are statutory maximum speed limits, there are no statutory minimum speed limits in Louisiana. In recent years there have been attempts to institute minimum speed limits but no law has ever been passed setting a minimum speed limit.
The closest thing to a statutory minimum speed limit is set forth in La R.S. 32:64, which mandates that drivers cannot drive so slowly as to impede traffic. The law does not set a specific minimum speed.
32:64. General speed law….”B. Except when a special hazard exists that requires lower speed for compliance with paragraph A of this section, no person shall operate or drive a motor vehicle upon the highways of this state at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic…”
This statute essentially mandates that vehicles must not drive too slowly under the circumstances. Well, thanks but that’s not very helpful. There are few cases that help us understand what is “too slow”.
There is one case from 1975 that indicates that operating a tractor at 10 mph in a 70 mph zone was too slow and was a violation of RS 32:64.
Gray v. Poplar Grove Planting & Refining Co., Inc., App. 1 Cir.1975, 321 So.2d 919, application denied 325 So.2d 280 involved a tractor pulling a sugarcane cart at ten miles per hour in the inside or passing lane of four-lane divided highway having posted speed limit of 70 miles an hour. This situation constituted a violation of this section providing that no person shall operate or drive motor vehicle upon highways at such a slow speed as to impede normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
Well, that’s a pretty obvious situation, but what about a fully loaded tractor entering the interstate on an incline from the shoulder of the road? Without any doubt, a fully loaded tractor-trailer cannot accelerate to highway speeds on an incline in less than 20 seconds, right?
Would it matter if the tractor-trailer were entering the interstate at night? What if he had his four-ways flashing? What if he had been fully in his lane for several seconds, but still had not gotten up to interstate speed and was hit from behind? These are issues that continually interest me defending truckers and trucking companies.
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