Speeding Tickets in Connecticut
Connecticut Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Connecticut
Trial Procedures for Speeding Tickets in Connecticut
Frequently Asked Questions about Speeding Laws in Connecticut
Connecticut has codified its laws to establish the process for enacting state speed limits and has established punishments for violating those limits. Generally, Connecticut laws have created definitive regulations that define maximum and minimum thresholds for posted speeding limits (for example, no vehicle may travel on most limited access highways in excess of 65 miles per hour, and are prohibited from driving below 45 miles per hour on most highways). While the statutes establish the threshold for maximum and minimum speed limitations, discretion is given to Connecticut’s State Traffic Commission to create the exact speed limits posted within the state. The commission is required to sufficiently post these zones within each area and create speed limits that are safe and reasonable for the type of roadway or highway they regulate.
While discretions for maximum and minimum speeds are established by the state (and posted by the State Traffic Commission), Connecticut law has established a policy for safe speed regulations known as “presumed” speed limits. For maximum speeds, the state has stated that in addition to following the posted speed limitations, a driver is not to exceed speeds that would endanger the life of any passengers in the vehicle, and are reasonable in regards to the traffic and the road on which the individual is driving. For minimum speeds, the state has stated that, in addition to the posted speed limitations, a driver is not to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. There is an exception for minimum presumed speeds, however, if the reduction of speed is for the safety of other drivers and other vehicles on the road. In addition, Connecticut law establishes that vehicles may not follow other vehicles on roadways and highways in a manner that is not reasonable and prudent.
Absolute Speed Limits in Connecticut
Connecticut law has established some absolute speeding limitations and regulations. The laws are separated based on the road that the speed limit is regulating. The following are the statutorily established speeding limitations for Connecticut:
Multiple Lane, Limited Access Highways: No more than 65 miles per hour in designated areas.
Any Other Highway: No more than 55 miles per hour in designated areas.
The actual posted speed limits are at the discretion of the State Traffic Commission. For instance, no statutorily maximum or minimum speed limits are established by state law for bridges or parkways built or maintained by the state, and it is up to the State Traffic Commission to establish the appropriate speed limits that are reasonable and prudent for the road or bridge. In addition, Connecticut has given its township’s proper traffic authorities the right to establish speed limits for highways and roadways that are completely within the town’s jurisdiction. Therefore, each township has the right to create the speed limits it feels to be appropriate, notwithstanding a confirmation from the State Traffic Commission.
It is also important to note that the above speed limit laws are only the guidelines that the Traffic Commission and town authorities must follow when establishing the posted speed limitations in the state. The Traffic Commission and town authorities have the right to post speeds that are lower than the maximum statutory limitations. Therefore, the statutorily established multiple-lane, limited access highways of no more than 65 miles per hour does not require the Traffic Commission or town authorities to list all highways at 65 miles per hour, but at a speed that is reasonable and prudent for the specific highway.
The Traffic Commission also has the right to establish posted minimum speed limits in addition to the maximum limits. The following is the statutory limitation for Connecticut concerning slow speeds:
Limited access divided highway: No less than 45 miles per hour
The above limitations are for typical motor vehicles. Connecticut has also established laws for when individuals are operating trucks and other vehicles over a certain weight. The speed limitations may be different depending on the roadway or highway. It is important to find out what the regulations set by the Traffic Commission are concerning any nontraditional vehicle that you might find on Connecticut roadways or highways prior to taking those vehicles on the road.
Presumed Speed Limits in Connecticut
In addition to the posted guidelines that have been established by the legislature (including the speed limits determined by the Traffic Commission and town authorities), the legislature has established “presumed” speed limits, which are additional speed regulation requirements that all drivers must follow. The presumed speed limits are not established speed limitations, but are discretionary limitations established to protect the safety of the drivers on the roads. The legislature has established these discretionary limitations for both maximum and minimum speed limits.
For maximum speed limitations, Connecticut has made it an offense for any individual to drive in a manner which would endanger the life of the driver’s fellow passengers, or in a manner that is not reasonable given the width of the road and the traffic at the time of the alleged offense. A driver on a Connecticut highway may violate the presumed speed limit even while staying under the posted limits of the road, if the circumstances reasonably require that the driver lower his or her speed. Therefore, while speed limits on a highway may be 65 miles per hour, the circumstances (i.e road work, weather, etc…) may require a reasonable driver to drive at a speed less than what is posted. For example, one Connecticut case charged an individual with the presumed speed limit statute after the individual was found to be driving at a “dangerous” speed after passing a vehicle in a two lane, narrow road way. Though the individual did not effectively break any of the speeding posted laws, he did operate his vehicle in an unreasonable manner, breaking the law and receiving the infraction.
For minimum speed limitations, Connecticut has made it an offense for any individual to drive at a speed that would impede or hinder the normal traffic of the road. An exception to this law exists if lowering an individual’s speed would be necessary for maintaining the safety of the driver or others. Again, this law could mean that an individual violated the Connecticut speeding regulations, even though he or she was driving within the necessary speed limits, if his or her speed was hindering the flow of traffic on the roadway.
Only minor differences separate the “absolute” and “presumed” speed limits. It is best for a driver in Connecticut to drive at a rate of speed that is both within the speed limits AND reasonable based on the surrounding circumstances of the roadway.