Alabama has two types of speeding laws: a “basic speeding law,” and “absolute speed limits.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.
Alabama’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is “reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.” In other words, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. As noted above, a safe speed on a certain roadway depends on the current conditions.
There’s no trick to how Alabama’s absolute speed limits work: If the absolute speed limit is 55 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Unless otherwise posted, Alabama’s absolute speed limits prohibit motorists from driving faster than:
But, again, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. So, depending on the conditions, the basic speed limit might require driving at a speed that's slower than the absolute limit.
The consequences of a speeding violation depend on the circumstances. But a driver caught speeding is generally looking at $190 to $300 in fines and fees. The exact amount typically depends on speed and the county where the violation occurred. And fines are typically doubled for speeding violations committed in construction zones.
A speeding violation will also add two or five points (depending on the speed) to the motorist’s driving record. Accumulating 12 or more points within a two-year period will lead to license suspension. Alabama's traffic violation points system also outlines the number of points corresponding to different citations.
Depending on the circumstances, speeding could lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. Alabama defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle “in a manner that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to a person or to property.”
And for speeding violations that involve fatalities, the driver could face vehicular homicide charges.