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Speed Limit - Be In It

Save Gas:  You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. See www.fueleconomy.gov for more on this.

Save Money:  A speed fine could cost you over a thousand dollars.

Save Your License:  Speed violation points range from 3 to 11. Your license will be suspended at 11 points.

NYC Speed Limit Changes to 25

New York City is lowering the speed limit to 25 mph for a safer NYC.

Frequently Asked Questions
Speed Limit Sign
Speeding and Speed Limits
Index & Overview (Top)

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Why is speeding viewed as such a problem?

Your safety is the reason that speed enforcement is a police priority.  Over 42,000 people die as the result of traffic crashes each year on our nation's highways and hundreds of thousands are seriously injured. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 3 - 33.

In New York State, nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities list speeding as a contributing factor and that percentage has been increasing in recent years.  Consequently, traffic enforcement in general and speed enforcement in particular, is a method to reverse this trend and reduce deaths and injuries due to crashes.

Vehicles traveling at higher speeds require more time to stop,  will need to dissipate more energy in a crash (the crash will be more violent), and will reduce the effectiveness of vehicle's safety devices and crash barriers that help protect occupants in crashes.

Do I have to drive at the maximum speed limit or can I drive slower? 

The maximum speed limit is just that, the maximum speed at which drivers can lawfully operate their motor vehicles. This does not mean that drivers must drive at this speed limit; they can, and should in many cases, drive at speeds less than the maximum speed limit, such as when the pavement is wet or icy. However, driving too slowly can also be dangerous. Some Interstate highways have posted minimum speeds, usually 40 mph. In general, it is safest to drive with the flow of traffic unless that flow is exceeding the speed limit. On Interstate and other limited-access highways drivers should use the right lanes when possible to help prevent congestion and acts of aggressive driving.

Where can I drive at 65 mph?

Speeds of 65 mph are permitted only on controlled access highways, such as the Northway (I87) or Thruway,  that are specifically posted for the 65 mph speed limit. However, even these highways are not posted for 65 mph over their entire lengths.  You should be aware of speed zones where 65 mph stretches of highway end and lower speed limits begin.  These lower limit areas are generally densely populated, high-traffic locations.

Is New York State planning to raise the speed limit on all roads to 65 miles per hour?

New York has no plans to increase the speed limit to 65 mph on any additional roads.

What is the state's strategy for enforcing the speed limit laws?

State police with radar gunThe New York State Police and many Sheriff's and municipal police departments conduct speed enforcement as part of their daily, routine patrols.  Whether an officer is enforcing a 20 mpg school zone limit, or the 65 mph limit on an interstate it is done with safety in mind.  Each month, the State Police conduct special speed enforcement details in every Troop.  The New York City Police Department conducts special speed enforcement as part of their Combat Aggressive driving program. Over 200 Sheriff's departments and municipal agencies participate in the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program which targets speeding as well as other unsafe violations.

Each year, the state Department of Transportation and the Division of State Police identify  traffic corridors where speeding is contributing to unsafe conditions as indicated by crash data.  Working together with local police agencies, an enforcement strategy is devised so enforcement efforts can be directed to improve conditions in the corridor. Most of the corridor enforcement locations are interstate or state routes.

During peak holiday travel times the State Police increases the number of patrols assigned to traffic duty in order to enforce the speed limit and traffic laws for the safety of the public using New York's highways.

Local traffic safety officials and police agencies often plan enforcement efforts to target specific areas such as streets near neighborhood playgrounds or areas that experience a high rate of crashes.

What can I do to if I feel there is a problem with driver obeying the speed laws on a specific road?

If you feel there is a specific stretch of roadway in your community where speeding is a problem, you can report this to the State Police, your local police, state or local highway officials or other local official such as a Town Supervisor.

What do I do when it seems that everyone else is exceeding the speed limit?

Always drive at or below the speed limit.  If you choose to follow the crowd and travel at the same speed as everyone else, you could receive a ticket for speeding. The law does not make exceptions because everyone else is speeding too.   You just might be the unlucky one in the one pack who happens to get caught – or the one who has to take an evasive action to prevent a crash.

What are the fines, penalties and points for speeding?

For non-commercial vehicles, the fines and possible prison sentences are:

Speed Minimum fine Maximum fine Possible prison time
up to 10 mph over $90 $150 not more than 15 days
more than 10 mph over - less than 30 mph over $180 $300 not more than 30 days
more than 30 mph over $360 $600 not more than 30 days
inappropriate speed $45 $150 not more than 15 days
Fines increase if your are convicted of more than one speed violation in 18 months.  License is revoked for 3 convictions in 18 months.  Fines may vary for speeding in school zone or restricted highway.  Fines are doubled in work zones.

The driver penalty points are:

MPH over speed limit Points
MPH over speed limit not indicated 3
1 - 10 mph 3
11 - 20 mph 4
21 - 30 mph 6
31 - 40 mph 8
More than 40 mph 11
Traffic ticket

In addition to the fines and penalties shown, you will have to pay a state surcharge and possibly a Driver Responsibility Assessment if you receive six or more points on your driver record during a period of 18 months and the violations occurred on or after November 18, 2004.

Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone.

Do I always have to obey the posted speed limits in work zones?

You must obey the posted speed limits in work zones, whether or not construction activities are actually going on at the time.  In addition to protecting  the construction workers, reduced speed limits also protect motorists.  In many cases, a work zone can include road modifications like reduced lane width, lane shifts or one lane bridges.  In New York State, fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone.

Can I be ticketed for speeding if I am not actually exceeding the posted speed limit?

Yes. Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1180(a) requires that: "No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing." Where this very often comes into play is during the winter months when the roadway is slippery due to ice and/or snow. Under these conditions, and others like them, motorists are required to reduce their speed – even to a speed below the posted speed limit - to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, that is, to a speed at which the motorist can maintain control of the vehicle despite inclement road or weather conditions.

Traffic stop

In addition, Section 1180(e) states, in part, that drivers are required to "drive at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when any special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians, or other traffic by reason of weather or highway condition."

Many crashes, especially fatal and serious injury crashes, occur because motorists failed to reduce their speed for one of these special conditions. Remember, not only can motorists be ticketed for these violations, but drivers and vehicle owners can be civilly liable for some driving acts that result in injury or death.

Remember, speeding is a serious driving behavior that contributes to nearly 30 percent of highway fatal crashes in New York.  Speed enforcement is designed to save lives by reducing speeding.  Please do your part by slowing down.
Information For more information about speeding, see the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (V&T Law), Section 1180-a, "Maximum speed limits". This section of law allows the state of New York to post certain highways at 65 MPH. All others are posted at the maximum of 55 MPH.