Speeding Tickets in Arkansas
Arkansas Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Arkansas
Limits of Specific Vehicles and Zones in Arkansas
The main purpose of speed limits is to increase road safety and minimize accidents. Arkansas has specific laws regarding the speed limits within the state.
Presumed Speed Limits in Arkansas
No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.
A presumed speed limit is one which is not on the rectangle black-and-white sign that you normally see along the road with a posted limit; it is the speed that is reasonable and safe, given the current road conditions. For example, if the posted speed limit is 40 mph and there is a severe rain storm, it would not be reasonable or safe to drive at 40 mph because of actual and potential hazards from the storm. However, let’s say driving at a speed of 30 mph would be reasonable and safe under these conditions. In this case, although the posted speed limit is 40 mph, you could be ticketed for speeding for driving at 40 mph, or even 31 mph, if that speed is unreasonable and unsafe during the severe rain storm.
The police officer will have discretion to decide what speed is reasonable and safe. If the officer thinks that driving 50 mph in a 60 mph zone when it is snowing is unsafe, the officer can ticket you. There is a legal presumption that driving at the posted speed limit, 60 mph, is safe, and this presumption will be in your favor unless the officer can prove that driving at 50 mph was unsafe when it was snowing.
At trial, the State does not have to prove your exact speed as long as there is enough evidence showing that the driver was speeding beyond a reasonable doubt. The State does not have to prove the exact location of where the speeding violation took place. However, you will have to prove that your driving was safe in order to successfully contest the ticket.
In every event, speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
This is another presumed speed limit. Drivers in Arkansas are required to keep the vehicle under control and to keep a lookout for other vehicles and persons on the street or highway. For example, if the posted speed limit is 40 mph, and there is heavy traffic or there is an area where pedestrians frequently cross the street, it would be unreasonable and unsafe to drive at 40 mph. Drivers in Arkansas must exercise care as not to cause an accident, even if that means driving below the speed limit to be safe.
Similarly, a driver can be ticketed for driving too slowly. If you are driving at 40 mph in a zone that has a speed limit of 60 mph, and there are no hazardous road conditions, and every other vehicle is traveling at 60 mph, you can be ticketed for driving too slowly because you would be a hazard to other drivers by impeding traffic.
Specific Zones and their Limits in Arkansas
No person shall drive a vehicle over any bridge or other elevated structure constituting a part of a highway at a speed which is greater than the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to the bridge or structure when the structure is signposted. Upon the trial of any person charged with a violation of this section, proof of the determination of the maximum speed by the commission and the existence of the signs shall constitute conclusive evidence of the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to the bridge or structure.
The section of the Arkansas law specifically requires a reduced speed when approaching intersections, railroad crossings, curves, hillcrests, and along narrow and winding roadways. However, the speed required is not specified here; it just says reduced. So in order not to break the law, you must drive below the speed limit at these locations. For example, the speed limit on a city road is 35 mph. You are approaching an intersection, so Arkansas requires that you drive at an appropriate reduced speed. If it is a busy intersection, a reasonable reduced speed might be 25 mph instead of 35 mph, depending on how heavy traffic is.
Absolute Speed Limits in Arkansas
The State Highway Commission is in charge of determining the speed limit on controlled-access highways. These speed limits, posted on rectangular black and white signs along the highway, are authorized as the maximum lawful speeds. Driving a vehicle in excess of the posted maximum speed is a violation of the law. Similarly, driving a vehicle below a posted minimum speed is a violation of the law. At trial, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the one driving and voluntarily exceeded the posted speed limit or must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your driving below the posted speed limit was unsafe.
No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed in excess of the following limits:
(1) 30 mph in any urban district;
(2) 50 mph for trucks of one-and-one-half-ton capacity or more in other locations;
(3) 60 mph for other vehicles in other locations.
Additionally, rural highways and freeways have a speed limit of 70 mph, urban freeways 65 mph, and undivided two-way roads 55 mph.