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VIDEO: Beth Osborne explains our broken approach to setting speed limits with WSJ

T4America director Beth Osborne joined Wall Street Journal correspondent George Downs to explain why one controversial method for setting speed limits results in higher and higher speeds.

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about the increasing danger of U.S. roadways, and recently, USDOT released their road safety strategy, which included advice for updated guidance on setting safe speeds and the 85th percentile rule. To explain why this outdated rule for setting speed limits actually leads to higher speeds, Beth Osborne sat down with George Downs. The visuals really nail it!

“A lot of people believe we say, ‘Let’s set the speed limit there and design the road around it.’ We actually do the exact reverse.”

Watch the full video below.

Read the transcript.


  1. Polli Schildge

    2 years ago

    Great visuals and explanation by Beth Osborne and George Downs about the 85th Percentile Rule. More people need to understand how speeding is encouraged by wider streets and about traffic calming methods. It would be even better if George had used the word “crash” rather than “accident” though.

    • Abigail Grimminger

      2 years ago

      Great point! We agree with Jessie Singer—there are no accidents.