Pennsylvania’s Speeding Laws and Penalties

Read about Pennsylvania’s speeding laws and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

Pennsylvania has two types of speeding laws: a “basic speeding law” and “absolute limits.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.

(Also, check out our article that discusses the different types of speeding laws.)

Basic Speeding Law

Pennsylvania’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed that is “greater than is reasonable and prudent” under the conditions then existing. The law also makes it unlawful to drive faster than will “permit the driver to bring his [or her] vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.” In other words, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, 55 miles per hour might be safe on a bright, sunny day. But if it’s dark and the road is icy, going 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.

(75 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3361 (2017).)

Absolute Speed Limits

There is no trick to how Pennsylvania’s absolute speed limits work: If the fixed speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Unless otherwise posted, Pennsylvania’s absolute speed limits are:

  • 15 miles per hour in school zones
  • 25 miles per hour in most residential districts
  • 35 miles per hour in urban districts
  • 65 or 70 miles per hour (depending on what’s posted) on freeways, and
  • 55 miles per hour on all other roadways.

Pennsylvania law requires that all maximum speed limits be posted.

(75 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 3362, 3365 (2017).)

Penalties for a Speeding Ticket

For most speeding violations, the fine is $35 plus $2 for every mile in excess of five miles per hour over the limit. However, if the maximum limit is 65 miles per hour or higher, the fine is $42.50 plus $2 for every mile in excess of five miles per hour over the limit. And when a motorist exceeds a school zone limit by more than 11 miles per hour, fines can be as much as $500.

(75 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 3362, 3365 (2017).)

Reckless Driving

Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation can lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. A standard first reckless driving conviction is a “summary offense.” The penalties for a violation include up to 90 days in jail, a $200 fine, and a six-month license suspension. (75 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 1532, 3736 (2017).)

(Read more about Pennsylvania’s reckless driving laws and penalties.)

Traffic Violation Points

A speeding violation will add two or three points (depending on the type of violation) to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.

(Learn more about Pennsylvania’s traffic violation point system.)

 

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