Maryland 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.
In Maryland, drivers need to abide by the maximum (absolute) speed limit and also always drive at a safe speed as required by the basic speeding law.
Maryland's basic speed law isn't a set limit. Instead, it prohibits driving at a speed "that, with regard to the actual and potential dangers existing, is more than that which is reasonable and prudent under the conditions."
In other words, under the basic speed law, 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.
There is no trick to how Maryland'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, Maryland's absolute speed limits prohibit motorists from driving faster than:
But, again, even if you drive slower than the maximum limit, you can still get a ticket for a basic speed violation if your speed is unsafe.
The consequences of a speeding violation depend on the circumstances. But, generally, a speeding ticket carries a fine and adds "points" to the motorist's driving record. Here's an overview of the penalties for different types of violations:
Generally, the fines and points are increased if a speeding violation contributed to a collision or took place in a highway work or school zone.
Depending on the circumstances, speeding could also lead to a "reckless driving" conviction. Maryland defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle "in wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property" or in a manner that indicates such a disregard. A standard first offense carries up to $1,000 in fines.