There have been stories and rumors that you can get a ticket for driving too slow and on some highways there’s even a posted minimum speed that’s expected of you, but can you receive a ticket for going too fast when you’re actually travelling below the posted speed limit. Conventional wisdom says you could be driving too fast for the conditions around you, but if you’re not traveling at or above the posted speed limit how could you receive a ticket for speeding? This does pose and interesting question that we can explore and discuss.
The speed laws of the roads around you are written and enforce by the state you live in, not by the federal government. This means different states will have different laws and regulations regarding the speed you can travel at while on the road. The reason these laws differ from state to state has to do with climate changes. You wouldn’t expect the road rules to be the same in Minnesota as they are in Florida because the typical conditions are different and may need a difference in the application of the rules of the road in those areas.
Here is where it gets tricky. Nearly every state has some law that is called the Basic Speed Law. This is a law that allows an officer to use their best judgement to see if you were speeding or not. It has nothing to do with the posted speed and everything to do with the current road conditions and the weather at the time. In most cases this law simply states that you need to follow a speed that is careful and prudent for the conditions at hand to maintain a reasonable speed. This completely leave the application of the law in the hands of the police officers who are working to keep us safe.
Many times this Basic Speed Law is applied when someone is in an accident, but it can be applied at other times as well. The reasoning behind adding this ticket to the mix when in an accident is a judgement of whether or not the accident could be avoided if the vehicle was traveling slower than it had been at the time. The Basic Speed Law can also be applied when an officer observes you travelling a speed they deem to be too fast for the conditions at hand.
Unfortunately for you, these tickets are nearly impossible to argue in court. Unlike a typical speeding ticket that shows the speed you were travelling, there is not burden of proof for the officer. These tickets fall under a civil matter and most likely you’re going to have to pay the fines and/or court costs involved. This may seem harsh, but the reality is you need to travel at a speed that can be judged as being prudent for the conditions around you and be aware of everything happening at the time you’re driving in your vehicle.
The opposite of this speeding issue is also true in some states, but there are many states that have no minimum speed posted that you need to follow. This means you’re not required to maintain any minimum speed regardless of how much you get in the way of others. I did say, in some states this is the case, that means there are states where you are required to maintain a minimum speed that’s prudent with the conditions around you. As you can see, some laws are simply an application of judgement by the police officers who are charged with trying to keep us safe from harm.