Michigan's Speeding Laws and Penalties

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

Michigan 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. But be mindful, you also may have viable ways of fighting your speeding ticket.

Basic Speeding Law

Michigan’s basic speeding law requires motorists to drive at a “careful and prudent speed not greater than nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other condition existing at the time.” The law also prohibits driving at a speed “greater than that which will permit a stop within the assured, clear distance ahead.”

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.

Driving too slow can also violate the basic speeding law. For instance, driving five miles per hour on the freeway when all other cars are going 70 miles per hour would be unreasonable and likely lead to a citation.

Absolute Speed Limits

Michigan’s absolute speed limits include (unless otherwise posted):

  • 25 miles per hour in business districts
  • 25 miles per hour in residential districts
  • 25 miles per hour within the boundaries of a public park
  • 55 miles per hour on truck-line and county highways
  • 55 miles per hour on gravel highways, and
  • 70 miles per hour on limited-access freeways.

There is no trick to how Michigan’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 and can get a ticket.

Penalties for a Speeding Ticket

Speeding is a civil infraction. Generally, a speeding ticket will cost the driver up to $100 in fines and a maximum of $100 in court costs. Depending on the driver's speed as compared to the speed limit, a speeding violation can also lead to demerit points being assessed the motorist's driving record.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation can lead to a “reckless driving” conviction, which is a misdemeanor. And if a motorist causes the death of another person while speeding, felony vehicular manslaughter charges are a possibility.

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