Speeding Tickets and Penalties in Massachusetts

How Massachusetts’s speeding limits work and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

Massachusetts has three types of speeding laws: a “basic speeding rule,” maximum limits, and presumed limits. This article explains the differences between the three and the consequences of a speeding violation.

Massachusetts Speed Limits

Massachusetts’s basic speeding rule prohibits motorists from driving faster than is “reasonable and proper” based on current conditions. In other words, motorists must always drive a safe speed taking into consideration traffic, weather, visibility, and other potential hazards.

Motorists who drive faster than any of Massachusetts’s presumed speed limits are presumed to have violated the basic speed rule. The presumed limits include:

  • 55 miles per hour on divided highways, outside business districts and thickly settled areas
  • 40 miles per hour on non-divided highways, outside business districts and thickly settled areas
  • 30 miles per hour in business districts and thickly settled areas, and
  • 20 miles per hour in school zones.

Motorists who are cited for a presumed speeding violation may be able to beat the ticket by proving to the judge that their speed—though over the presumed limit—was safe and reasonable.

Massachusetts’s maximum speed limits are straightforward—if you exceed the maximum limit, you’ve violated the law and can be ticketed. Certain portions of Interstates 90 and 95 have a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour.

Penalties for a Speeding Ticket

Generally, the fines for speeding violations are $50 plus $10 for every mile per hour over the limit in excess of ten miles per hour over the limit. For example, the fine for exceeding the speed limit by 20 miles per hour would be $150.

Fines are doubled for violations that occur in construction zones. So the fine for exceeding the speed limit by 20 miles per hour in a construction zone would be $300.

A speeding violation will also lead to surcharge points being assessed to the motorist’s driving record.

Reckless Driving and Vehicular Homicide

If a speeding violation endangers others, the driver can be charged with reckless or negligent driving. And if a speeding violation leads to the death of another person, homicide-by-motor-vehicle charges are a possibility.

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