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

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

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.

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 (11th ed. 2017) Torts, § 1009
California Tort Guide (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) § 4.16
2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 20, Motor Vehicles, § 20.63[3][a] (Matthew Bender)