Alaska 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.
Alaska’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is “reasonable and prudent considering the traffic, roadway, and weather conditions.” 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.
(Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13, § 02.275(a) (2017).)
There’s no trick to how Alaska’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, Alaska’s absolute speed limits prohibit motorists from driving faster than:
(Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13, § 02.275 (2017).)
The consequences of a speeding violation depend on the circumstances. But generally, a driver caught speeding faces a maximum $300 in fines. And fines are typically doubled for speeding violations committed in a highway work zone or traffic safety corridor.
(Alaska Stat. Ann. § § 28.90.010, 28.90.030 (2017).)
Depending on the circumstances, speeding could lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. Alaska 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.” A standard first offense carries up to a year in jail and a maximum $1,000 in fines. (Alaska Stat. Ann. § 28.35.400 (2017).)
A speeding violation will also add two to six points to the motorist’s driving record. Accumulating 12 or more points within 12 months or 18 or more points within 24 months will lead to license suspension.