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Washinton's Speeding Laws

Posted Monday, April 1, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

Washington has two types of speeding laws: “absolute speed limits” and a “basic speeding law.” The difference between the two are significant.

Basic Speeding Law

Washington’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a “speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.” In other words, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, driving 55 miles per hour might be safe on a sunny day with little traffic on the roads. However, if you are driving that same road on a dark night with and icy conditions, then traveling 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.

Absolute Speed Limits

Washington’s absolute speed limits are pretty basic. These limits prohibit driving faster than:

60 miles per hour on state highways50 miles per hour on country roads25 miles per hour on city and town streets25 miles per hour when passing school or playground crosswalks

Penalties for Exceeding Speed Limit

Generally, a speeding citation will cost you up to $250 in fines. The maximum fine is doubled for speeding violations in school and playground crosswalks.

Reckless Driving and Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, speeding could lead to a “Reckless Driving” charge depending on the speed and circumstances. Washington defines Reckless Driving as operating a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

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