Brian White | April 15, 2023 | Texas Laws
Some people ask whether Texas has a speeding law. The short answer is yes. In fact, Texas has some of the harshest speeding punishments in the nation. For example, you could receive a speeding ticket in Texas for driving one mile above the posted speed limit at any given time. However, this isn’t always the case.
That’s because Texas has two types of speeding laws: the prima facie speed limit and the basic speed rule. Understanding more about the speeding laws in Texas is crucial when living or traveling in the state.
Texas’s Two Speeding Laws
As mentioned, Texas roads are governed by two primary speeding laws, the basic speeding law and prima facie speed limits. Understanding the nuances of these laws is crucial to staying safe and keeping out of trouble.
Basic Speeding Law
The basic speeding law states that drivers operating on roadways must always drive safely in accordance with present conditions, regardless of the posted speed. This means that if current conditions necessitate a faster speed to keep the road safer, all drivers on the roadway must adhere.
Conversely, speeding through the rain isn’t safe, so the driver in that scenario would likely be cited if they are pulled over. Another example could involve harsh weather conditions such as snow. If the snow lessens visibility or sticks to the ground, drivers could receive a citation for going the posted speed limit.
Prima Facie Speed Limit
On the other hand, the Texas Transportation Code Section 545.352 dictates that driving at a speed greater than the limits is “prima facie proof” that your speed is unreasonable.
This presumed speeding limit law is different from nearly any other state, most of which have clearly defined limits. Texas claims these presumed violations give drivers more room for error and allow for subjective discretion.
To note, a driver may not receive a citation if road conditions are optimal and the driver only exceeds the speed limit by a small amount. However, this law leaves a lot for interpretation and is ultimately up to the officer responsible for issuing the citation.
Understandably, this section of Texas law can be confusing and frustrating for residents and visitors since it leaves much to the interpretation of law enforcement.
Penalties for Speeding in Texas
In the state of Texas, a speeding violation constitutes a misdemeanor. Anyone convicted will likely have to pay a fine and associated court costs. The amount of these fines varies depending on the driver’s speed and the location of the infraction.
Speeding in a School Zone or Construction Zone
If the infraction was in a marked school zone or construction zone, expect the fines to be much steeper. Depending on the speed, additional charges may be levied. If the speed is much faster than the posted limit, the driver could receive a reckless driving charge, which carries stiff fines and potential jail time.
Felony Speeding Violations
If a speeding driver causes the death of another person, the driver will be charged with felony vehicular homicide, resulting in thousands of dollars in fines and prison time.
Protect Yourself and Others By Following the Speeding Rules in Texas
Now that you are more familiar with the basic speed and prima facie rules in Texas, you can be more aware of others’ safety and your own while on the road. Adhering to the Texas speeding rules will benefit other drivers, passengers, and yourself by promoting a safe commute and avoiding car accidents.
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