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Explaining Connecticut’s Speeding Laws

October 12 2022 | Car Accidents

Speeding is a dangerous practice that contributes to thousands of car accidents in the U.S. each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding took at least 11,258 lives in 2020. Understanding the nuances of Connecticut’s speeding laws can help you avoid breaking the law and stay safe on the road.

What Is Speeding?

Speeding can refer to operating a motor vehicle faster than the posted speed limit or faster than a speed that is reasonable based on the present conditions. Every state, including Connecticut, enforces speed limits. Speed limits differ according to the type of road. They are based on the perceived potential hazards and level of risk associated with the road. In a residential area or neighborhood in Connecticut, for example, the speed limit is lower than on the Interstate.

Speeding is a dangerous practice that increases the risk of automobile accidents. When a driver is traveling too fast for conditions, it cuts the driver’s reaction times. A speeding driver may not have time to hit the brakes before colliding with a stopped car or pedestrian crossing the road, for example. Adhering to the speed limit, on the other hand, can give a driver ample time to stop or otherwise safely avoid an accident.

Basic Speed Limits vs. Absolute Speed Limits

Connecticut has two different types of speed limits: the basic speeding law and absolute speed limits. The basic speeding law is a responsibility that is placed on all drivers to operate their vehicles at speeds that are reasonable in regard to the “width, traffic and use of the highway, road or parking area, the intersection of streets, and weather conditions.” In other words, drivers have a duty to travel at a speed that is safe and reasonable based on the current conditions.

Absolute speed limits are the specific speeds, gauged in miles per hour traveled, that are posted on street signs throughout Connecticut. Absolute speed limits in Connecticut do not go higher than 65 miles per hour. This limit applies to most rural state freeways. The speed limit is reduced to 45 to 55 miles per hour on urban freeways and 25 miles per hour in residential and business districts. It is easier to tell if a driver has violated an absolute speed limit, as it uses a specific number rather than a driver’s best judgment.

What Are the Penalties for Speeding?

The penalties for speeding in Connecticut depend on the speed at which the driver was traveling and how far this speed was above the posted speed limit. In general, absolute speed limit violations in Connecticut can lead to the following fines:

  • $137 at 1 to 9 miles per hour over the limit
  • $142 at 10 miles per hour over the limit
  • $166 at 15 miles per hour over the limit
  • $191 at 20 miles per hour over the limit
  • $223 for a driver’s actual speed of 71 to 75 miles per hour
  • $264 for a driver’s actual speed of 76 to 80 miles per hour
  • $304 for a driver’s actual speed of 81 to 85 miles per hour
  • $323 for “reckless driving” at a speed of 86 miles per hour or more

In addition to having to pay a fine for speeding, drivers will also receive points against their licenses in Connecticut. If a driver accumulates 10 or more points on his or her license within two years, it will be suspended for 30 days. With another 10 points, the driver’s license will be suspended for 24 months.

Can a Speeding Driver Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?

Yes. Speeding is viewed as a tort, or a wrongful act, that can make a driver who is guilty of this traffic violation responsible for a related car accident. If you get injured in a car crash involving a driver who was speeding, consult with an attorney about your right to file a claim against that driver’s insurance company. You may be eligible for financial compensation.

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