Vermont Speeding Laws

Learn about Vermon's speeding laws and the consequences of a violation.

In addition to "absolute speed limits" (see below), Vermont's "basic speeding law" prohibits driving at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions, having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23, § 1081(a) (2017).)

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

A first-time speeding violator may be:

  • fined $500 or more (depending on the circumstances), and
  • facing a 30-day license.

Penalty for Reckless Driving (Negligent Operation)

Vermont uses the term "negligent operation" instead of "reckless driving." Negligent operation is defined as failing to "exercise ordinary care" while driving. For a first violation, a motorist faces up to a year in jail and/or a maximum $1,000 in fines. The driver is also looking at a 30-day license suspension. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23, §§ 1091, 2502, 2506 (2017).)

(Read more about Vermont's negligent operation laws and penalties.)

Speed Limits

Generally, the maximum speed limit for Vermont highways is 50 miles per hour. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23, § 1081(b) (2017).)

Vermont Speeding Laws

Vermont has what is known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There's no trick to how it works: If the sign says 40 miles per hour and you drive 41 miles per hour or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In Vermont you may be able to make three possible defenses:

  • attacking the officer’s determination of your speed (to do this you must discover what method the officer used to cite you and then learn about the ways to attack that particular method)
  • claiming an emergency forced you to exceed the speed limit to avoid serious damage or injury to yourself or others, and
  • claiming that the officer mistook your car for another car (with so many similar-looking cars, it is possible that a cop could see a speeding car, lose sight of it around a corner, and then wrongly pick out your car farther down the road).

Note that in Vermont you can be ticketed for driving at an unsafe speed, even if that speed does not violate the posted limit—for example, driving exactly at the maximum posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.

Point System

Vermont uses a point system to track motorists' moving violations. Accumulating ten or more points within a two-year period leads to license suspension. Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation is two to eight points. 

(Learn more about Vermont's point system, including the point values for different traffic violations.)

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