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TEXAS

 This chapter summarizes Texas State statutes related to speed.
General Reference: Citations are to Vernon's Texas Transportation Code (Tran. Code).
Basis for a Speed Law Violation:
Basic Speed Rule: No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing or under the conditions and having regard to actual and potential hazards. Tran. Code §545.351(a) & (b)(1)(1)
Statutory Speed Limit: Operating a vehicle in excess of the following speed limits is prima facie evidence that such speed is not reasonable and prudent and is unlawful. Tran. Code §545.352(a)
See Other below. A) 70 MPH during the daytime on "numbered" highways outside an urban district for passenger cars(2) and motorcycles Tran. Code §545.352(b)(2)
B) 65 MPH during the nighttime on "numbered" highways outside an urban district for passenger cars2 and motorcycles Tran. Code §545.352(b)(2)
C) 60 MPH during the daytime on highways that are not "numbered" and that are outside of an urban district for passenger vehicles and motorcycles Tran. Code §545.352(b)(3)
D) 55 MPH during the nighttime on highways that are not "numbered" and that are outside of an urban district for passenger vehicles and motorcycles Tran. Code§545.352(b)(3)
E) 60 MPH outside an urban district unless another speed limit has been established by law. Tran. Code §545.352(b)(4)
F) 30 MPH in an urban district Tran. Code §545.352(b)(1)
G) 15 MPH in an alley Tran. Code §545.352(b)(1)
Posted (Maximum) Speed Limit: I. Based on engineering and traffic investigations, the Texas Transportation Commission may alter the prima facie speed limits on State highways and limited-access or controlled highways inside or outside of any municipality.(3) Tran. Code §545.353(a) & (f)
II. Based on engineering and traffic investigations, the Texas Turnpike Authority may alter the prima facie speed limits on highways under its jurisdiction including those inside or outside any municipality.(4) Tran. Code §545.354(a) & (d)
III. Based on engineering and traffic investigations, county court commissioners may increase the prima facie speed limits on highways under their jurisdiction. In addition, they may declare lower speed limits if the prima facie limits are unreasonable or unsafe.(5) Tran. Code §545.355(a)
IV. Based on engineering and traffic investigations, municipalities may alter the prima facie speed limits on highways under their jurisdiction.(6) Tran. Code §545.356(a) & (b)
V. Texas law gives United States military commanders the authority to alter the prima facie speed limits on state highways within a United States military reservation.(7) Tran. Code §545.358
VI. Based on investigations, the Texas Transportation Commission, the Texas Turnpike Authority or a local government may establish safe maximum speed limits for bridges or other elevated structures under their jurisdiction. Tran. Code §545.361(e)
VII. The State Transportation Commission and local governments are required hold public hearings upon request once each calendar year to consider prime facie speed limits on highways that are under their respective jurisdictions and that are either near (1) public or private elementary or secondary schools or (2) institutions of higher education. Tran. Code §545.357
Minimum Speed Limit:

 

I. No person shall drive so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. Tran. Code §545.363(a)
II. A person, driving at less than the normal speed of traffic, shall drive in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. Tran. Code §545.051(b)
Posted (Minimum) Speed Limit: Based on engineering and traffic investigations, the Texas Transportation Commission, the Texas Turnpike Authority or a local government may establish minimum speed limit for any highway under their jurisdiction. Tran. Code §545.363(b)
Other:



I. Operating the following types of vehicles in excess of the given speed limits is prima facie evidence that such speed is not reasonable and prudent and is unlawful. Tran. Code §545.352(a)


A) A manufactured house or house trailer cannot be towed in excess of the posted speed limit or >55 MPH whichever is less. Code §623.101(a)
B) A school bus cannot be driven >50 MPH outside an urban district on a highway other than an interstate highway. Tran. Code §545.352(b)(5)(A)
C) A school bus cannot be driven >55 MPH outside an urban district on an interstate highway. Tran. Code §545.352(b)(5)(B)
D) 60 MPH during the daytime on highways that are outside of an urban district for trucks (e.g., truck tractor, trailer or semitrailer) and for vehicles towing either a trailer, semitrailer, another motor vehicle or towable recreational vehicle. Tran. Code §545.352(b)(5)(C)
E) 55 MPH during the nighttime on highways that are outside of an urban district for trucks (e.g., truck tractor, trailer, or semitrailer) and for other towed vehicles Tran. Code §545.352(b)(5)(C)

II. 30 MPH is the maximum speed limit in a county park that borders the Gulf of Mexico. Tran. Code §750.002
III. A vehicle equipped with solid rubber or cushion tires may be operated >10 MPH. Tran. Code §545.361(b)
IV. Self-propelled agricultural machinery used for planting "food materials" and not designed for transportation purposes may not be operated >30 MPH. Tran. Code §545.361(d)
V. A person may not operate a vehicle on a beach >25 MPH during the daytime or >20 MPH during the nighttime. Tran. Code §545.364

Adjudication of Speed Law Violations:
Civil/Criminal Adjudication of Violation: All Speed Law Violations are Misdemeanors. Tran. Code §§542.301 & 750.002(b)
Other:
Sanctions Following an Adjudication of a Speed Law Violation: 
Criminal Sanctions:
Imprisonment:
Term (Day, Month, Years, Etc.): None
Mandatory Minimum Term:
Fine:
Amount ($ Range): $1 to $200 Tran. Code §§542.401 & 750.002(b)
Mandatory Min. Fine ($): None
Other Penalties:
Traffic School:
Other: Double Fines. If a speeding offense occurs in a construction zone, the minimum and maximum fines are doubled. Tran. Code §542.404
Licensing Action:
Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev): Suspension or Revocation at the discretion of the licensing agency. This action is based on either (1) on habitually reckless or negligent vehicle operation or (2) on habitual violation of the traffic laws.(8) Tran. Code §§521.163, 521.294(a) & (b)(4)(9)
Term of License Withdrawal (Days, Months, Years, etc.): Revocation-Indefinite Period Tran. Code §521.306(a)

Suspension-Not more than 1 year Tran. Code §521.306(b)

Mandatory Minimum Term of Withdrawal: Revocation-The revocation period cannot be probated and, therefore, appears to be mandatory. Tran. Code §521.306(a)
Suspension-None A suspension may be probated and is, therefore, not mandatory.(10) Tran. Code §521.303(a)
Miscellaneous Sanctions Not Included Elsewhere:  
Other Criminal Actions Related to Speeding: 
Racing on Highway: Misdemeanor Tran. Code §§542.301(b) & 545.420
Sanctions:
Criminal Sanction:
Imprisonment (Term): None
Mandatory Minimum Term:  
Fine ($ Range): $1 to $200 Tran. Code §542.401
Mandatory Minimum Fine: None
Administrative Licensing Action: 
Licensing Authorized and Type of Action: Suspension or Revocation at the discretion of the licensing agency. This action is based either (1) on habitually reckless or negligent vehicle operation or (2) on habitual violation of the traffic laws.8 Tran. Code §§521.163, 521.294(a) & (b)(4)9
Length of Term of Licensing Withdrawal: Revocation-Indefinite Period Tran. Code §521.306(a)
Suspension-Not more than 1 year Tran. Code §521.306(b)
Mandatory Action--Minimum Length of License Withdrawal: Revocation-The revocation period cannot be probated and, therefore, appears to be mandatory. Tran. Code §521.306(a)
Suspension-None A suspension may be probated and is, therefore, not mandatory.10 Tran. Code §521.303(a)
Other: Double Fines. If a offense occurred in a construction zone, the minimum and maximum fines are doubled. Tran. Code §542.404
Reckless Driving: Misdemeanor Tran. Code §545.401(a) & (b)
Sanction: 
Criminal: 
Imprisonment (Term): Not more than 30 days Tran. Code §545.401(b)(2)
Mandatory Minimum Term of Imprisonment: None
Fine ($ Range): Not more than $200 Tran. Code §545.401(b)(1)
Mandatory Minimum Fine: None
Administrative Licensing Actions:  
Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev): Suspension or Revocation at the discretion of the licensing agency. This action is based either (1) on habitually reckless or negligent vehicle operation or (2) on habitual violation of the traffic laws.8 Tran. Code §§521.163, 521.294(a) & (b)(4)9
Length of Term of License Withdrawal Action: Revocation-Indefinite Period Tran. Code §521.306(a)
Suspension-Not more than 1 year Tran. Code §521.306(b)
Mandatory Term of License Withdrawal Action: Revocation-The revocation period cannot be probated and, therefore, appears to be mandatory. Tran. Code §521.306(a)
Suspension-None A suspension may be probated and is, therefore, not mandatory.10 Tran. Code §521.303(a)
Other: Double Fines. If a offense occurred in a construction zone, the maximum fine is doubled. Tran. Code §542.404
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Operators(11): 
Grounds for Disqualification: A person is disqualified from operating a CMV if while driving such a vehicle they either (1) commit 2 "serious traffic violations"(12) within a 3 year period or (2) commit 3 such violations within a 3 year period.
Tran. Code §522.081(a)
Period of Disqualification: 2 serious violations (within 3 years)-60 days 3 serious violations (within 3 years)-120 days Tran. Code §522.081(a)
Period of Mandatory Disqualification: 2 serious violations (within 3 years)-60 days 3 serious violations (within 3 years)-120 days Tran. Code §522.081(a)

1. See also §1 of Ch. 295, Laws of 1995. Sec. 1 of Ch. 295, Laws of 1995, amended §166(a) of Art. 6701d even though such section was repealed and replaced by Tran. Code §§545.351 & 454.352. See Ch. 165, Laws of 1995. However, because of the provisions of Government Code §311.031(c) and the fact that, Ch. 295, Laws of 1995 was enacted after §166(a) of Art. 6701d was repealed and replaced, §1 of this chapter is given effect.

2. The speed limits established for passenger cars also applies to (1) light trucks, (2) passenger cars and light trucks that are either towing a vessel or trailer (or semitrailer) designed to transport livestock, (3) vehicles used to transport passengers for hire and (4) vehicles used to transport United States mail. Tran. Code §545.352(c) A "light truck" is defined as a truck with a carrying capacity of 2,000 lbs. and includes pick-up trucks, panel delivery trucks and carry-all trucks. Tran. Code §545.352(d)(1) <

3. However, the following limitations apply. A speed limit cannot be established >70 MPH. And, the speed limits established for per Tran. Code §545.352(b)(5) for certain vehicles outside an urban district cannot be changed. Tran. Code §545.353(d)

4. However, a speed limit cannot be established >70 MPH. Tran. Code §545.354(f)(2)

5. However, a speed limit can neither be established >60 MPH nor <30 MPH. Tran. Code §545.355(a)

6. However, a speed limit cannot be established >60 MPH. Tran. Code §545.356(a) & (b) Also, if there is a conflict in the established speed limits by a municipality and the Texas Transportation Commission for any highway, the speed limit established by the State prevails. Tran. Code §545.359

7. However, a speed limit cannot be established >60 MPH. Tran. Code §545.358 Also, if there is a conflict in the established speed limits by the U.S commander and the Texas Transportation Commission for any highway, the speed limit established by the State prevails. Tran. Code §545.359

8.An "habitual violator" is defined as a person who has committed either 4 or more traffic offenses within 12 months or 7 or more offenses within 24 months. Tran. Code §521.294(h)

9. See also §2 of Ch. 434, Laws of 1995. Sec. 2 of Ch. 434, Laws of 1995, amended §22(b) of Art. 6787b even though such section was repealed and replaced by Tran. Code §521.294. See Ch. 165, Laws of 1995. However, because of the provisions of Government Code §311.031(c) and the fact that, Ch. 434, Laws of 1995, was enacted after §22(b) of Art. 6687b was repealed and replaced, §2 of this chapter it is given effect.

10. If a license suspension is probated, the offender must be placed on probationary status for a period of 90 days to 2 years. Tran. Code §521.303(c)

11.A person who has obtained a commercial driver's license (CDL) and is qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A commercial motor vehicle is defined as a vehicle designed to carry either passengers or property and either has a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 lbs., is designed to transport 16 or more persons, or is transporting hazardous materials which requires that the vehicle to be placarded in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Tran. Code §522.003(5)

12. A "serious traffic violation" includes exceeding the speed limit by 15 or more MPH or reckless driving. Tran. Code §522.003(25)

 

 

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