West Virginia Speeding laws

No person may drive a vehicle at speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions and the actual and potential hazards.

Basic Speed Law: No person may drive a vehicle at speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions and the actual and potential hazards.  W. VA § 17C-6-1(a)

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

A first time violator may be:

  • fined not more than $100, and
  • the violator’s license may be suspended not more than one year.

Penalty for Reckless Driving

West Virginia defines "reckless driving" as driving "in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." First offenders face up to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $500 in fines.

(Read more about West Virginia's reckless driving laws and penalties.)

Speed Limits

  • 55 MPH on open country highways, controlled-access highways and interstate highways. Note: The law provides, that for controlled-access and interstate highways, the speed limit shall be not be less than 55 MPH
  • 25 MPH in a business or residential district 
  • 15 MPH in a school zone

West Virginia Speeding Laws

West Virginia has what is known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There is no trick to how this works: If the sign says 40 mph and you drive 41 mph or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In West Virginia 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.
  • 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 West Virginia 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 mph posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.

Point System

The licensing agency has established the following point system to assist it identifying offenders who may be subject to licensing action because of frequent violations of the traffic laws. When an offender has accumulated 12 points, they may be subject to either a waning letter, probation for not more than 1 year or license suspension for not more than 1 year. The following points have been assigned to speeding or speed related violations:  Reckless driving-6 points; speeding in a school zone-6 points; speeding more than 75 MPH on highways with a speed limit less than 65 MPH-6 points; speeding more than 80 MPH on highways with a speed limit of 65 MPH-6 points; driving too fast for conditions-3 points; speeding in excess of the speed limit where speed was less than 75 MPH-3 points; and, all other moving violations-2 points.

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