Arkansas's Speeding Laws and Penalties

Read about Arkansas’s speeding laws and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

Arkansas has two types of speeding laws: a “basic speeding law” and “absolute limits.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.

Basic Speeding Law

Arkansas’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed that is “greater than is reasonable and prudent” under the conditions then existing. The law also requires motorists to drive at a speed as may be necessary to avoid collisions. 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.

(Ark. Code Ann. § 27-51-201 (2017).)

Absolute Speed Limits

There is no trick to how Arkansas’s absolute speed limits work: If the absolute speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Unless otherwise posted, Arkansas’s absolute speed limits are:

  • 25 miles per hour in school zones
  • 35 miles per hour in urban districts
  • 55 miles per hour for large trucks (one-and-one-half-ton capacity or more) on other roadways, and
  • 65 miles per hour for cars and light trucks on other roadways.

(Ark. Code Ann. § § 27-51-201, 27-51-212 (2017).)

Penalties for a Speeding Ticket

The consequences of a speeding violation depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties are:

  • First violation. A first speeding ticket within a year is a misdemeanor and carries up to $100 in fines and/or a maximum ten days in jail.
  • Second violation. A second speeding violation within a year is a misdemeanor and carries up to $200 in fines and/or a maximum 20 days in jail.
  • Third violation. A third speeding violation within a year is a misdemeanor and carries up to $500 in fines and/or a maximum six months in jail.
  • Exceeding limit by more than 15 miles per hour. When a driver gets caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour it’s a class C misdemeanor. Convicted drivers are looking at up to $500 in fines and a maximum 30 days in jail.

Generally, fines are doubled for speeding violations in construction zones. And for any moving violation, including speeding, the court can suspend the driver’s license for up to one year.

(Ark. Code Ann. § § 5-4-201, 5-4-401, 27-50-302, 27-50-306, 27-50-408 (2017).)

Reckless Driving

Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation can lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. A standard first reckless driving conviction is a class B misdemeanor and carries up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum $500 in fines. (Ark. Code Ann. § § 27-50-302, 27-50-308 (2017).)

Traffic Violation Points

A speeding violation will add at least three points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension. Arkansas’s traffic violation point system also outlines the number of points corresponding to different citations.


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