Speed Limits in California

July 17, 2018

If you’re hitting the road in California, it’s important to understand the state’s speed limits and the steep penalties associated with speeding tickets. Whether you’re new to the state or just here for a vacation or business trip, you can seek the assistance of a speeding ticket lawyer if you are pulled over for exceeding the speed limit.

Basic Speed Law

This California regulation indicates that you must travel at a safe speed for the current road conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit. To determine a safe speed, drivers must consider:

  • How many other vehicles are on the road
  • How fast other vehicles are traveling
  • Whether pedestrians and/or cyclists are present
  • What the road surface is made out of and its condition
  • Whether rain, snow, fog, wind, or dust is present

Use careful judgment in inclement weather and unusually crowded road conditions. Keep in mind that you can fight speeding ticket with the help of an attorney if you are pulled over and given a speeding ticket when traveling under the posted limit.

Maximum Speed Limit

In California, 65 mph is the maximum speed allowed on highways, except where 70 mph is posted as the speed limit. However, you should not exceed 55 mph if you are towing a trailer or if you are on a two-lane highway with no dividers.

Off the highway, maximum speed limits are posted depending on the road and traffic conditions in that area. These are meant to indicate the speed you can travel in ideal weather and when no other hazards such as construction are present.

Unless otherwise posted, maximum speed limits in the state are as follows:

  • 25 mph in business and residential districts
  • 10 mph when passing a bus, trolley, or streetcar in a legal passing zone
  • 15 mph within 100 feet of a railroad crossing
  • 15 mph in an alleyway
  • 15 mph at a blind intersection, meaning that you cannot see in 100 feet in either direction for at least 100 feet before reaching the intersection
  • 25 mph in a school zone

Speeding Fines and Penalties

California’s speeding ticket penalties are among the highest in the nation. Fines for speeding convictions are as follows:

  • $238 for traveling up to 15 mph over the speed limit
  • $367 for traveling 16 – 25 mph over the speed limit
  • $490 for traveling more than 26 mph over the speed limit

In addition, if you are traveling at more than 100 mph, you will receive a fine of $900. Fines are also higher when a speeding ticket is received in a construction zone.

All traffic tickets are subject to a 20 percent surcharge, which is added to the base fine. This means that if you get pulled over for doing 35 mph in a 25 mph zone, you’ll pay a fine of $285.60.

Each speeding ticket also adds one point to your driving record. Conviction for traveling more than 100 mph carries two points. If you get more than four points in 12 months, your California driver’s license will be suspended. Based on the judge’s discretion, speeding can result in automatic suspension.

Because of these steep penalties, it’s important to engage the help of a California ticket lawyer if you receive a speeding ticket. He or she is well-versed in state driving laws and can help negotiate for reduced penalties depending on the specifics of your case. It’s especially important to consult an attorney if you are a commercial driver, since a speeding violation carries even higher penalties and can result in the loss of your career and livelihood.

The California Ticket Clinic has more than an 80 percent success rate in defending drivers who have received traffic tickets. If you’ve been pulled over for speeding, contact us at 1-800-CITATION for a free consultation with one of our experienced traffic attorneys.