There are several posted speed limits throughout the state of California, which are discussed below. However, there are times when unexpected conditions like weather, vision and traffic that call for a lower speed limits. California Vehicle Code 22350 describes how drivers must operate vehicles at a reasonable speed where safety is never compromised.
California Speed Limits
California Highways require that drivers operate vehicles at the posted speed limit of 65 MPH, unless it’s a two-lane undivided highway, which calls for lower speeds of 55 MPH. Tow trucks are additionally required to drive at no more than 55 MPH on highways.
On rural roadways the speed limit is 70 MPH for cars, and 55 MPH for trucks.
What Conditions Require Lower Speeds
The California Department of Motor Vehicles states that speeds driven should be based on several factors including:
- Traffic Levels— this means the amount of cars on the roadways, as well as the speed at which these cars are driving
- Road Surfaces—whether the roadway is leveled, wet, dry, too wide or narrow, uneven or coarse, these should be taken into consideration for everyone’s safety
- Pedestrians and Bicyclists – drivers should pay attention to other passersby on the roadways
- Weather – rain, fog, dust, snow and wind can all affect how safe the posted speed levels are
Other conditions for reduced speed entail:
- School Zones – the speed limit ranges from 15-25 MPH depending on the school district and if there is fencing present
- Blind Intersections – the speed limit is 15 MPH
- Alleys – which are narrow require drivers to drive at reduced speeds of 15 MPH
- Railroads – if there are no warning signs, gates or flag men present, then speeds should be lowered to 15 MPH.
- Businesses or Residential Areas – the speed limit is 25 MPH
- Trolleys, Buses, Street Cars – speed should be lowered to 10 MPH
- Animals – all drivers must slow down when an animal is sighted
Penalties for California Basic Speed Laws
The penalties outlined for violation of California Vehicle Code 22350 vary based on the speed at which the driver was driving, as well as the county in which this occurred. Despite statewide laws, each county has varied methods and rules surrounding varied legal codes.
Unsafe Speed for Prevailing Conditions 1-15 MPH over Limit
Total Penalties: $154 and are based on:
Base Fine: $35 | State Penalty: $40 | County Penalty: $28
DNA: $16 | Court Fees: $20 | Surcharge $7 | EMS: $8 | Points: 1
Unsafe Speed for Prevailing Conditions 16-25 MPH over Limit
Total Penalties: $280 and are based on:
Base Fine: $70 | State Penalty: $70 | County Penalty: $49
DNA: $28 | Court Fees: $35 | Surcharge $14 | EMS: $14 | Points: 1
Unsafe Speed for Prevailing Conditions ≥ 26 MPH over Limit
Total Penalties: $400 and are based on:
Base Fine: $100 | State Penalty: $100 | County Penalty: $70
DNA: $40 | Court Fees: $50 | Surcharge $20 | EMS: $20 | Points: 1
More Information Regarding Vehicle Code 22350
Reference the California Department of Motor Vehicles which reads:
“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or
How to Fight an Infraction or Speed Ticket in California
If you’ve been ticketed for violating basic speed laws, our criminal defense attorneys may be able to help. We’ll bring our 40 years of combined experience to help you avoid serious penalties. Call us today at 888-250-2865.