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.
(Also, check out our article that discusses the different types of speeding laws.)
Maryland’s basic speeding law 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, 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.
(Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-801 (2017).)
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:
(Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-801.1 (2017).)
The consequences of a speeding violation depend on the circumstances. But generally, 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.
Depending on the circumstances, speeding could 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. (Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-901.1 (2017).)
(Read more about Maryland’s reckless driving laws and penalties.)