Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of Alabama.
Speed limits in Alabama
70 mph: interstate highways
65 mph: highways with four or more lanes
55 mph: highways that are not interstate or four-plus lanes
55 mph: vehicles carrying flammable liquids, explosives, or hazardous waste (except as authorized by the governor)
45 mph: unincorporated county-maintained paved roads
35 mph: unpaved roads
30mph: urban districts
While these are the specific speed limits for each area, a driver may still be ticketed for driving at a speed considered unsafe for conditions. For example, drivers may be ticketed for traveling 70 mph in a 70 mph zone in the case of heavy rain or a snowstorm.
Alabama code on reasonable and prudent speed
According to Section 32-5A-170 of Alabama code, “no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Consistent with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a safe and appropriate speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.”
The speed limit law in the state of Alabama is “absolute.” This means that there is no leeway in the speed limit – if a driver is traveling at 56mph in a 55 mph zone, they are violating the speed law. A driver may object to these charges in one of three ways:
The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.
A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others.
The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could make a mistake and pull the wrong car over.
Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in Alabama
First-time violators may not be:
Fined more than $100
Sentenced to more than 10 days of jail time
Have their license suspended for more than one year
Penalty for reckless driving in Alabama
First-time violators may be:
- Fined between $25 and $500
First-time violators may not be:
Sentenced to more than 90 days of jail time
Have their license suspended for more than six months
It’s important to understand the difference between fines and costs. Even if a fine is just $20, court and/or administrative costs may be as high as $200 or more – for example, the fine for going less than 25 mph over the speed limit in Decatur is just $20, but the costs are $195, bringing the total owed to $215. Each Alabama county sets its own speeding fines.
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