Speed Limits in the USA 2019 : Everything You Need to Know

Thanks to the United States focus on freedom and safety, each individual state in the US can have different freeway, highway, and road speed limit laws. Some places are vastly different than others, and TrafficSigns.com is here to help you figure out how fast you can go, and where.

Types of Speed Limits

Before we talk about the speeding penalties and fines, we need to talk about new speeding laws, and the different kinds of speeding limits that exist. Surprisingly, there are different kinds of speed limits that exist in 2019, and you need to know what to look out for to avoid speeding penalties.

Statutory Speed Limit

Statutory Speed limits are established by the STATE for specific road types. For example: interstate, rural highway, urban streets. These speed limits can vary from state to state. They are enforced by State Law and are applicable even if there is no sign posted. You can consider these speed limits as properties of the highway or road set by the state.

Examples of Statutory Speed limit’s include

  • 25 mph speed limit in residential school districts
  • 55 mph speed limit on rural highways
  • 70 mph on interstate highways

The speed limit signs for these laws aren’t always visible, but the fact that these speed limit laws are statutory means they don’t need to be posted to be enforced. You can receive a speeding penalty regardless.

Posted Speed Limit

Posted speed limits are as their name implies, speed limits that are clearly posted for drivers to follow. These are sometimes referred to as regulatory speed limits. They can be the same as the statutory speed limit (and often are), or they can be different based on the conditions of the area. These Posted Speed Limits will take precedence over any statutory speed limit because posted speed limits are based on more recent data on that specific road or highway. They can also be special speed limits for specific areas. Sometimes, a city or state will place a blanket speed limit for all roads in a district.

Posted Speed Limit Signs

 

Special Conditions Speed Limits

School Zone Safety Speed Limit

School Zone Safety Speed Limits are used in, obviously, school zones with lots of children present. In most states the speed limit law says 15 - 25 mph in these zones. The maximum fine for speeding in a school zone is harsh. Don’t do it. Think of the children

Work Zone Speed Limits

These are set inside the work zones area of influence. These speed limits are a part of the work zone’s traffic control plan to help keep the work zone safe. Some of the factors that are involved in deciding this speed limit are:

  • The posted speed limit when no work is going on
  • The location of the work zone in relation to traffic
  • The type of traffic control device (light, cone, barrel, etc)
  • The complexity of the work zone and it’s surrounding environment

Work Zone Speed Limit Signs

 

Variable Speed Limits

Variable speed limits are displayed on changeable message displays for locations where the required speed for safety is significantly slower (at least 10 mph) than the Posted Speed Limit. These conditions are usually caused by weather, accidents, or work zones.

 

Advisory Speeds

Advisory speeds are non-regulatory speeds that give drivers advice on the maximum recommended speed. These apply to a small section of roadway that is significantly different that the rest of the locations road surface. They are set using engineered speed studies and should be taken seriously. Usually these are found at tight turns, or begin one ways.

Warning / Advisory Signs

 

*What does an engineering speed study include?
  • Speed of motorists in normal conditions
  • Traffic volume
  • Road type (interstate, freeway, rural highway)
  • Road features (curves, hills, etc)
  • Road setting (urban, rural, residential, etc)
  • Number of driveways
  • Sight range
  • On street parking
  • Pedestrian activity
  • Crash history
  • Pavement health

All of these factors are carefully considered before making any decision on speed limits and the maximum fine for speeding.

 

Enforcing Speed Limits

Speed limits don’t mean anything if there is no penalty for speeding. We’ve all gone a few over the limit on our way to work, that’s unavoidable. But setting a consistent, reasonable limit to the speed of drivers can go a long way in keeping people alive and reducing crash related injury.

While police officers and speed limit signs do a lot to enforce our traffic safety laws, sometimes a physical barrier is needed to limit the speed of drivers.

 

Some common ways speed limit laws are enforced

Speed Humps

Usually located in residential developments, these wide, low raised pavement structures force motorists to slow down to a safe speed. Speed humps are effective at reducing residential road speeds limits of up to 10 mph. Here is an example of some Speed Bump Warning Sign

 

Speed Feedback Sign

These highly advanced speed limit signs are interactive and display a motorist’s current speed on an LED display. Studies have shown drivers instinctively slow down when their current speed is shown to them. Here is an example of a Driver Feedback Sign.

 

Enhanced Curve Delineation

By improving signage or pavement markers along horizontal curves, drivers are keenly aware of the road’s shape and direction and are much more likely to reduce their maximum speed limit. Better signage and markings means more awareness, which translates to more drivers slowing down. Here is an example of some Bend in Road Signs

For more help choosing the correct type of Maximum Speed Limit enforcement, Visit the FHWA website section on Speed Management Countermeasures

Speeding Limits and Penalties by State

courtesy of Road and Track

Alabama

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 days imprisonment, and/or 6mo license suspension

Alaska

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 1 year imprisonment, and/or 30 day or more license suspension

Arizona

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 30 days imprisonment

Arkansas

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 1 year imprisonment, and/or 12mo license suspension

California

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 90 days imprisonment, and/or 30 day license suspension

Colorado

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $300, 90 days imprisonment, and/or 12mo license suspension

Connecticut

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $300, 30 days imprisonment, and/or 90 day license suspension

Delaware

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $300, 30 days imprisonment, and/or 12mo license suspension

Florida

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 days imprisonment, and/or 12mo license suspension

Georgia

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 1 year imprisonment, and/or 5 year license suspension

Hawaii

Max Highway Speed: 60mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 5 days imprisonment, and/or 30 day license suspension

Idaho

Max Highway Speed: 60mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 5 days imprisonment, and/or 30 day license suspension

Illinois

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1500 (Class B), 6 months imprisonment; $2500 (Class A), 12 months imprisonment

Georgia

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 180 days imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Iowa

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 30 days imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Kansas

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 days imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Louisiana

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $200, 90 days imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Maine

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 60 months imprisonment, and/or 30 day license suspension

Maryland

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 2 year license revocation

Massachusetts

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $100, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 90 day license suspension

Minnesota

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Massachusetts

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $100, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 90 day license suspension

Mississippi

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $100, license suspension

Missouri

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 6 months imprisonment, and/or 30 day license suspension

Montana

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $300, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Nebraska

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Nebraska

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Nevada

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 6 months days imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

New Hampshire

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 6 month license suspension

New Jersey

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $200, 60 day imprisonment, and/or 180 day license suspension

New Mexico

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $100, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 90 day license suspension

New York

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $600, 30 day imprisonment

North Carolina

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 60 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

North Dakota

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Ohio

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $100, 6 month license suspension

Oklahoma

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Oregon

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $5000, 1 year imprisonment, and/or 90 day license suspension

Pennsylvania

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: 15 day license suspension and/or special on-road-drivers exam

Rhode Island

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 1 year imprisonment, and/or 30 day license suspension

South Carolina

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $200, 30 day imprisonment, and/or license suspension

South Dakota

Max Highway Speed: 75mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $100, 1 year imprisonment, and/or license suspension

Tennessee

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 6 month imprisonment, and/or license suspension

Texas

Max Highway Speed: 85mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $200, 30 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Utah

Max Highway Speed: 80mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $1000, 6 month imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Vermont

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $300, 3 month imprisonment, and/or 30+ day license suspension

Virginia

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $2500, 1 year imprisonment, and/or 6 month license suspension

Washington State

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $5000, 1 year imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

West Virginia

Max Highway Speed: 70mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $500, 90 day imprisonment, and/or 1 year license suspension

Wisconsin

Max Highway Speed: 65mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $300, 15 day license suspension

Wyoming

Max Highway Speed: 80mph
Maximum Speeding Penalty: $750, 6 months imprisonment, 90 day license suspension

 

We hope you walk away from this post a safer, more educated driver. Thank you for your eyes!