The rules and penalties for excessive speeding vary from state to state, and may even vary from county to county or from town to town. There are different categories within speed-related laws, which factor into the penalties assessed with the violation. NOTE: Within the traffic regulations, the term “highway” refers to any publicly maintained area used for vehicular travel.
- Basic Speed Rule: All vehicle operators must drive at a speed that is “reasonable and prudent.”
- Racing on the Highway: The driving of any vehicle in a speed competition or race contest, acceleration contest, drag race, test of physical endurance, or any exhibition of acceleration and/or speed.
- Statutory Speed Limit: A State’s authority to limit speed by highway type or location. State laws vary, and may or may not require these limits be posted.
- Posted Maximum Speed Limit: The ability of State or local authorities to establish speed limits. These limits must be posted.
- Minimum Speed Rule: The prohibition of a vehicle driven at such a slow speed that they impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
- Reckless Driving: The driving of any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property. Speed is often, but not necessarily, a factor in this offense.
Violation of any of these speeding categories may result in a variety of consequences. The cost and severity of tickets and penalties will depend on the vehicle speed in excess of the posted limit, and if the vehicle operator has had previous violations as well as if there was any damage or injuries resulting from these actions. The penalties may be doubled if the ticket is written in a construction or school zone. Click here for detailed state-by-state information.
Possible consequences for speeding:
- Some states impose a fine, some impose jail time and some impose both.
- The maximum jail time imposed by different States varies between 3 days to one year.
- The maximum fines vary from $50 to $2,500.
- Many States use a system of points on drivers’ licenses. Each traffic offense conviction will add points to the license. When a set maximum number of points have accumulated, the license is suspended or revoked.
- Suspension is typically for not less than six months, and as long as two years.
- Even in States not using the point system, speeding can result in a license being suspended or revoked.
- Depending on the classification and severity of the violation, a speeding conviction may result in a criminal record.
- And possibly . . .
- Higher insurance premiums, cancellation or denial of continued coverage.
- Mandatory driver improvement classes.
- Impounding of the driver’s vehicle.
- Mandatory community service.
- Detrimental effects on immigration status, visas, and/or passports.
In addition to the possible consequences listed above, it is important to remember that speeding was a factor in more than 30% of all traffic fatalities, second only to alcohol. If you are found to be significantly in excess of posted speed limits, a speeding ticket may be the least of your worries.