Vermont has two types of speeding laws: “absolute limits” and a “basic speeding law.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.
There's nothing complicated about how Vermont’s absolute speed limits work: If the absolute speed limit is 30 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. The absolute speed limit in Vermont is 50 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.
Notwithstanding the absolute limits, Vermont’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is “reasonable and prudent under the conditions, having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be controlled as necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other object on or adjacent to the highway.”
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.
The fines for a speeding violation depend on where the violation occurred and how fast the driver was going. But generally, speeding violators will have to pay a $47 surcharge plus a fine. The fine is calculated as $5 to $8 (depending on the type of violation) for each mile per hour over the limit plus another 15% of the total. For violations in roadwork zones, the amount for each mile per hour over the limit is doubled.
Also, a motorist who’s caught going at least 60 miles per hour and exceeding the speed limit by at least 30 miles per hour faces up to three months in jail and/or a maximum $300 in fines for a first offense. A second offense carries not more than six months in jail and/or a maximum fine of $500.
Of course, if you're able to successfully fight a speeding ticket, you won't have to deal with any of these penalties.
Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation can lead to a “negligent operation” conviction. Generally, negligent operation violation carries up to a year in jail and/or a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
And if a speeding violation results in the death of another person, it’s possible to be convicted of "vehicular homicide."
A speeding ticket will typically add two demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.