Craig Rosenbaum | February 1, 2023 | New York Laws
A speed limit is just that: a maximum speed at which you can legally drive on that road, barring special circumstances. In the simplest of terms, you can’t exceed the speed limit without the risk of a speeding ticket.
The Purpose of Speed Limits
Speed limits exist for two reasons: to prevent accidents and to improve gas mileage, though the latter reason has become mostly obsolete. There are few speed limits left in the country that were initially set with gas mileage in mind.
However, preventing accidents is, of course, still relevant, and it remains the primary purpose for speed limits to exist and be enforced. The most obvious example of this is in school zones, where speed limits drop very low in order to prevent drivers from hitting young children.
Regardless, everywhere you see a speed limit, it often exists because an engineer determined that number to be the highest speed that would consistently limit the likelihood of car accidents.
Penalties for Speeding in New York
In New York state, the penalty for speeding depends primarily on how much you exceed the speed limit by.
- Up to 10 MPH: $45 to $150 and no more than 15 days in jail
- 11 MPH to 29 MPH: $90 to $300 and no more than 30 days in jail
- 30 MPH or More: $180 to $600 and no more than 30 days in jail
Furthermore, even if you aren’t speeding but are driving at an inappropriate speed for a road’s conditions, you can be ticketed and receive the same penalties as if you were driving up to 10 MPH above the speed limit.
The Fiction of the Buffer Zone
Some people believe that if they drive less than 5 MPH over the speed limit, they can’t be ticketed. That isn’t the case, and you can be ticketed for driving even a single mile per hour over the speed limit.
Exceptions to the Speed Limit
The only exceptions that exist for speed limits involve safety. If circumstances require you to temporarily exceed the speed limit to avoid a potential accident, you are allowed to do so, but you still may be ticketed afterward.
A police officer may still pull you over for exceeding the speed limit, either because they weren’t aware of the extenuating circumstances or don’t believe they are applicable. If that happens, you can argue your case before a judge and potentially have the ticket dismissed if you can prove it was necessary to speed.
New York Traffic Cameras
New York City has cracked down on speeding in recent years, lowering speed limits in areas where accidents were common and adding hundreds of new traffic cameras to the city.
These traffic cameras are another reason why some people believe that they are allowed to go faster than the posted speed limit. Traffic cameras automatically create speeding tickets for anyone who is detected to be going more than 10 mph over the speed limit, but that doesn’t mean that a traffic officer can’t still ticket you for lesser speeding in that area. Only the traffic camera doesn’t ticket you until that speed is reached.
Take Your Time — Observe the Speed Limit
There are very few places that you’ll need to get to or around so quickly that speeding becomes worth the risk. Take your time when driving around New York and avoid the cost of a speeding ticket.
If you are involved in an accident with a speeding driver, you have rights. Our New York City personal injury lawyers can help you recover compensation for your damages. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.