New York Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines

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Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of New York.

Speed limits in New York

65 mph: limited access freeways and interstates

55 mph: default speed limit where no limit is posted

50 mph: maximum speed for trucks on the New England Thruway (I-95)

45 mph: some divided roads

25-45 mph: residential areas

20 mph: designated residential “Neighborhood Slow Zones” in New York City

15-30 mph: school zones

New York code on reasonable and prudent speed

Maximum speed law:

According to section 1180-a of New York vehicle code, “A person shall not 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.”

Minimum speed law:

Section 1181 states, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

There is no statutory minimum speed limit, however I-787 and I-495 both carry a minimum speed limit of 40 mph. Drivers are advised via postings on the New York State Thruway to use flashers when driving under 40 mph.

Due to variations in speedometer calibration, tire size, and margins of error in speed-detecting technology, it’s uncommon for an officer to pull a driver over for going less than five miles above the speed limit. However, technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.

New York has an absolute speed limit law. This means that a driver cannot argue a speeding ticket on the basis that they were traveling safely despite exceeding the speed limit. A driver may, however, choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:

  • 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 New York

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined up to $300

  • Be sentenced to up to 15 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended (based upon a point system)

Penalty for reckless driving in New York

Exceeding the speed limit by 30 mph is automatically considered reckless driving in this state.

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined between $100 and $300

  • Be sentenced to up to 30 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended (based upon a point system)

Violators may also be required to complete a driver improvement course.


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