Northern Virginia Beltway Express Lanes Just Got Faster

Posted on Jun 29, 2013

It’s supposed to be smooth sailing for commuters on the 495 express lanes on the beltway soon. On June 24, 2013, the Northern Virginia Beltway will have a speed limit of 65 mph instead of 55 mph. After an investigation by the Virginia Department of Transportation, the study concluded that the increase would benefit drivers of the beltway.  

Gov. Bob McDonnell was quoted as saying, “The new speed limit increase will help Northern Virginia Beltway drivers save even more time on their commute. A faster trip on the Express Lanes improves access to key employment centers, sets the region up for growth, and makes Northern Virginia an even more attractive place to live and work.”  

According to the study conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation, the average driver currently travels at 65 mph on the beltway, with the flow of traffic between 59 mph and 68 mph. Some question whether the increase will lead to even higher speeds on the express lanes, increasing the likelihood of car accidents. Their thinking is that if drivers are comfortable driving 10 mph over the speed limit, increasing the speed limit to 65 mph may drive the average to 75 mph.  

The study results indicate that the increase in the speed limit for the express lanes should not have a negative impact on the traffic, but only a study after the increase is put into effect will be able to determine if the express lanes are just as safe.   

The car accident attorneys at Shevlin Smith would like to remind all drivers to remain alert and exercise caution while driving in the express lanes on the beltway.  

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Michael J. Shevlin
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Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.