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US Speed Limits by State: Everything You Need to Know

Hollywood movies often show exciting high-speed chases and races, making it seem like America is all about speed and adventure. But in real life, American roads are different. If you speed over the limit on US roads, you can end up with hefty fines and legal problems.

Local traffic authorities quickly respond if drivers ignore the recommended speed limit and drive at 120 mph in a 75 mph zone. The highway police promptly administer immediate punishment. Despite the commonly associated notions of freedom and adventure with high-speed driving on open highways, unforeseen consequences can still arise.

This article will give you a clear understanding of speed limits on different US roads. It aims to make you aware and careful about staying within the speed limit for a safe and lawful driving experience.

What is the Purpose of Setting a Speed Limit

Involving in a traffic accident while driving on roads is the most unfortunate thing that can happen to you. Numerous studies indicate that speeding is one of the primary causes of fatal accidents. 

The authorities define speed limits by considering the suitability for the respective road, region, and traffic circumstances to minimize the risks of collisions and ensure everyone’s safety.

What is the Fastest Speed a Driver in the US is Allowed to Drive?

States in the US have different legal speed limits for drivers. Speed restrictions can vary from 85 mph on rural roadways, whereas you may not drive above 25 mph in metropolitan areas. Authorities usually set these speed limits in increments of five miles per hour.

Which US state has the Highest Speed Limit?

In some areas of Austin, Texas, the maximum speed restriction is 85 mph, the highest in the country. Again, Samoa has the lowest national top speed limit, 30 mph.

US Speed Limits in Different States

The maximum speed restriction for drivers varies from state to state. You will find that the limitation on the fastest speed is higher in rural roadways with lower population and less traffic. 

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), in collaboration with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), prepared the list below to provide a clear view of the differences in speed restrictions on US highways.

List of US Speed Limits in Different States
StateRural Roads (mph)Urban Roads (mph)Other limited access roads (mph)Other roads (mph)
Alabama70656565
Alaska65556555
Arizona75656565
Arkansas75657565
California70657065
Colorado75656565
Connecticut65556555
Delaware65556555
Florida70657065
Georgia70706565
Hawaii60605545
Illinois70556555
Indiana70556055
Iowa70557065
Kansas75757565
Kentucky65656555
Louisiana75707065
Maine75757560
Maryland70707055
Massachusetts65656555
Michigan70 (75 on specific roads)707055
Minnesota70656560
Mississippi70707065
Missouri70607065
Montana80657070
Nebraska75707065
Nevada80657070
New Hampshire65 (70 on specific roads)655555
New Jersey65556555
New Mexico75756555
New York65656555
North Carolina70707055
North Dakota75757065
Ohio70657055
Oklahoma75 (80 on specific roads)707070
Oregon65 (70 on specific roads)556565
Pennsylvania70707055
Rhode Island65555555
South Carolina70706055
South Dakota80807070
Tennessee70707065
Texas75 (80 on specific roads)757575
Utah75 (80 on specific roads)657565
Vermont65555050
Virginia70706555
Washington70 (75 on specific roads)606060
West Virginia70556555
Wisconsin70707055
Wyoming75 (80 on specific roads)75 (80 on specific roads)7070

Note: Every state in the US sets speed limits, which shows how important it is to drive safely.  

US Speed Limits in Residential Areas

When driving through a residential area, you must exercise extra caution with your speed due to the presence of pedestrians, which increases the risk of fatalities at higher speeds. 

In these situations, especially with large vehicles, you should significantly reduce your speed. This is why authorities typically set the maximum speed limit at 25 mph in residential areas. Rural roads or highly curved roads may restrict you to 10 mph.

State-Wise Residential Areas Speed Limits

The speed restriction also applies in residential zones and varies from state to state. The chart below gives you an overview of the state-wise speed barriers in miles per hour.

List of State-Wise Residential Areas Speed Limits
Alabama, 30Idaho, 35Massachusetts, 30New Mexico, 35South Dakota, 25
Alaska, 25Illinois, 30Michigan, 25Delaware, 25 
Arizona, 25Indiana, 30Minnesota, 25-30North Carolina, 35Texas, 30
Arkansas, 30Iowa, 20-25Montana, 25North Dakota, 25Utah, 25
California, 25Kansas, 30Nebraska, 25Ohio, 25Virginia, 25
Colorado, 30Kentucky, 35Montana, 25Pennsylvania, 35Virginia, 25
Georgia, 30Maryland, 30New Jersey, 25-35South Carolina, 30Wisconsin, 25

In some regions, the residential speed limit under state law is the same as the indicated state speed limit unless specific instructions are displayed. These states include Mississippi (65 mph), Missouri (60 mph), Oklahoma (65 mph), Vermont (50 mph), Tennessee (65 mph), Louisiana (55 mph), and Nevada (75 mph).

Limiting Speeds for Truck Movements

Trucks are heavy commercial vehicles that primarily run on highways while carrying various loads. If you are driving trucks across state borders, you should know the maximum speed permissible in a specific state. Here is a summary indicating how fast you can move your truck without violating the law.

  • Arkansas: Restricts truck speeds on rural interstates to 70 mph.
  • California: All interstates and roads have a 55 mph speed restriction for trucks.
  • Idaho: Trucks can only travel 70 mph on rural interstates and 65 mph on urban areas.
  • Indiana: The speed restriction for rural interstate trucks is 65 mph.
  • Michigan: The maximum truck speed in rural areas is 65 mph.
  • Montana: The rural interstate truck speed limit is 70 mph.
  • Oregon: Trucking is allowed at a top speed of 70 mph.
  • Washington: Rural interstates require a maximum speed of 60 mph.

Trucking speed can be restricted depending on the cargo you carry. While transporting hazardous materials in your semi-truck, you need to maintain a speed of 55 mph when you are in the state of Alabama.

Again, there are localized speed limitations. In California, you can drive up to 55 mph on two-lane highways, on multi-lane tracks, it is typically 65 mph.

Consequences for Crossing Speed Limits

Driving at high speed on open highways may be exciting. Still, it is crucial to note that overspeeding can be risky and lead to significant accidents. Therefore, to ensure the safety of drivers and other road users, a control on speed is necessary, which also helps you remain compliant with legal regulations. 

Many US states, including Florida, deal with speed restriction violations severely. Over-speeding in Florida has severe consequences, including fines and license point accumulation.

Florida traffic guards will charge you with a fine of between $193 and $226 for exceeding the restricted speed by 10 miles per hour, whereas driving thirty miles per hour over the speed limit requires you to settle the matter through court proceedings. 

Georgia decides penalties for speeding violations based on your excess speed above the specified. If you exceed the speed limit by 10–14 miles per hour, authorities could fine you $100 for your first offense.

Speed Limitations at Night Driving

The figures we discussed so far are mostly the general speed limit applicable at any time of the day. However, in certain states, there are special instructions to maintain limits on the speed at which vehicles drive at night.

  • In Montana, night driving limits are 65 mph on restricted access routes.
  • Colorado and Florida adjust their speed limits at night as wildlife will likely move on specific routes.
  • Washington also requires reducing the speed of trucks because there are a lot of deer roaming on certain highways at night.

Conclusion

Speed restrictions for drivers are implemented around the US to address the need for efficient transportation, safety compliance, and environmental concerns. The article emphasizes how crucial it is to keep attention on speed limits to adjust to regional regulations, traffic patterns, or even natural surroundings. 

To be aligned with the changing transportation requirements, you need to focus on sensible speed limits to ensure a secure and effective national road network. A balanced approach to speed limits is required to create a compliant and safe driving environment, which is possible with more awareness and accountability.

Matrack’s advanced technology proactively assists commercial fleet operators in identifying the overspeeding of trucks and taking steps to control risky driving practices. The Matrack GPS trackers in the vehicle generate real-time alerts to promptly notify fleet managers when a driver exceeds the relevant speed limit. The dash cams from Matrack allow monitoring of unsafe driving practices of excess speeding, enabling you to end aggressive driving behavior.