Speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents in Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles, speeding killed 337 people in 2020. It was the most commonly reported driver violation. To combat this dangerous driving behavior, Arizona has speed limits that drivers must obey. Breaking the speed limit can lead to a speeding ticket – which can cost a driver up to $500 in fines and even result in jail time.
Cost and Penalties of a Speeding Ticket in Arizona
Speeding is penalized harshly in Arizona to serve as a warning to drivers to operate their vehicles safely and within the confines of the law. A normal speeding ticket is classified as a civil traffic violation. This ticket can result in fines of $150 to $500, depending on the case. The exact amount depends on the county, the speed and whether a car accident occurred. A speeding ticket fine is doubled in an active construction zone. In addition to fines, a speeding ticket adds three points to the driver’s license.
Certain circumstances can lead to an aggravated speeding violation in Arizona. This is a class 3 misdemeanor offense that can result in a maximum of $500 in fines plus up to 30 days in jail. A driver can be charged with this offense if he or she exceeds 35 miles per hour in a school zone, 25 in a business or residential district (or 45 if no limit was posted), and 85 miles per hour in any other location. If a speeding driver causes serious bodily injuries or vehicular homicide or manslaughter, he or she could face additional criminal charges.
Arizona’s Basic Speeding Law
Arizona has three types of speeding laws: basic, prima facie and absolute. The basic speeding law states that all drivers must operate at a speed that is reasonable and prudent based on the weather, road and traffic conditions, and actual and potential hazards that exist. It requires drivers to maintain a speed that is safe based on circumstances. If conditions are dangerous, such as during a storm or high winds, motorists must reduce their speeds. They may be required to drive below the posted speed limit to avoid violating the law.
Prima Facie Limits
The prima facie speed limits in Arizona, also referred to as presumed speed limits, are the general speed limits that create a presumption of speeding if a driver surpasses them. In Arizona, the prima facie speed limits are the following unless posted otherwise:
- 15 miles per hour in school zones and approaching school crosswalks
- 25 miles per hour in residential areas and business districts
- 65 miles per hour in all other locations
Presumed speed limits are indicated with signs. Breaking the prima facie speed limit does not automatically mean a driver receives a speeding ticket. The driver can appear in court to argue that his or her speed was safe based on the conditions to avoid a fine.
Absolute Speed Limits in Arizona
An absolute speed limit in Arizona is a strict maximum speed limit that, if violated, will result in a speeding ticket. If an absolute speed limit is posted and a driver surpasses it, that driver is in violation of state law. Arizona has the following absolute speed limits unless otherwise posted:
- 65 miles per hour on an interstate that is located in an urbanized area (one that has a population of 50,000 people or more)
- 35 miles per hour while operating a motorcycle that does not have a headlight that enables the rider to see at least 300 feet ahead
Speeding is a dangerous driving behavior that drastically increases the risk of a car accident. If there is evidence that a driver was speeding at the time of an accident, he or she can be held liable for the related property damage and medical bills in addition to having to pay for a speeding ticket. Should you get into a crash with a driver that was speeding, contact the Phoenix car accident lawyers at Stone Rose Law to discuss your legal options moving forward.