Like most other states, Florida has two types of speeding laws: “absolute speeding limits” and a “basic speeding law.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of each type of violation.
Florida’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed that is “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. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, on a certain road, 55 miles per hour might be safe on a bright, sunny day. But if it’s dark and the road is wet, going 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.
(Fla. Stat. Ann. § 316.183 (2017).)
There’s no trick to how Florida’s absolute speed limits work: If the sign says the speed limit is 40 miles per hour and you drive faster than 40 miles per hour, you’ve violated the law. Florida law requires that maximum speed limits be clearly posted. And generally, highway speed limits are 70 miles per hour or below and the maximum limits for residential and business zones are 30 miles per hour or less.
(Fla. Stat. Ann. § 316.187, 316.189 (2017).)
Generally, a speeding violation carries up to $500 in fines. However, if the violation occurred in a school or construction zone, the maximum fine is $1,000. The judge just can also order the driver to participate in a driver improvement school in addition to or lieu of the fine.
(Fla. Stat. Ann. § 318.14 (2017).)
Depending on the circumstances, speeding can lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. Florida defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” or fleeing in a vehicle from a law enforcement officer. A first reckless driving conviction carries $25 to $500 in fines and/or up to 90 days in jail. (Fla. Stat. § 316.192 (2017).)
(Learn more about Florida’s reckless driving laws.)
Typically, a speeding violation will add at least three points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.
(Find out about Florida’s traffic violation points system, including the number of points corresponding to different citations.)