Virginia Speed Law Summary

Please Note: This chart is provided for general information only. Virginia Web Traffic School makes no claim that this information is up-to-date or currently in force.

General Reference:Code of Virginia Annotated and Virginia Administrative Code (VAC)Basis for a Speed Law Violation: Basic Speed Rule:A person cannot drive so as to exceed a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit.(1) §46.2-861

Statutory Speed Limit:65 MPH on rural interstate highways, certain highways constructed by the Virginia Highway Corporation and other limited access highways in counties with a population 45,700 but 45,800 §46.2-870 (¶3)

See Other below.55 MPH on other interstate highways, limited access highways with divided roadways, non-limited access highways with 4 or more lanes and all State primary highways §46.2-870 (¶1)

55 MPH on all other highways for passenger motor vehicles, busses, pickup or panel trucks or motorcycles §46.2-870 (¶2)

45 MPH on all other highways for trucks, tractor trucks, a combination of vehicles designed to transport property or a vehicle which is towing either another motor vehicle or a house trailer §46.2-870 (¶2)item1

35 MPH on highways within a city or town excluding interstate or other limited access divided highways §46.2-875Posted (Maximum) Speed Limit:

 I. Based on traffic engineering investigations, the Commonwealth Transportation Commission or other authority may increase or decrease the above speed limits on any highway under its jurisdiction.(2) §46.2-878

II. Based on an investigation, the Commonwealth Transportation Commission may establish a safe maximum speed limit for public bridges, causeways, viaducts or tunnels. §46.2-881Minimum Speed Limit:

 I. No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. §46.2-877 (¶1)

II. A person, driving at less than the normal speed of traffic, shall drive in the lane nearest the right edge or right curb of the highway when such lane is available for travel. There is an exception to this requirement if the right lane of a particular highway has been reserved for slow-moving traffic. §46.2-804(1)

Posted (Minimum) Speed Limit:Based on engineering and traffic investigations, either the State or a local government may establish a minimum speed for a highway. §46.2-877 (¶2)Other:

 I. A school bus cannot be driven >55 MPH on interstate highways or >45 MPH on other highways. In additions, such a vehicle cannot be driven >35 MPH when taking on or discharging children between the first and last stop (not including the school). §46.2-871

II. On highways with a speed limit 55 MPH, vehicles operating under a special permit issued by the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner under §46.2-1139 cannot be driven >55 MPH. §46.2-872

III. The maximum speed limit in a school crossing zone is 25 MPH. Acting on a school board resolution, a local government, via an ordinance, may decrease the speed limit in any school crossing zone to 15 MPH. §46.2-873

IV. Special speed limits may be established for highway work zones. §46.2-878.1

V. The maximum speed for passenger vehicles, that are towing utility, camping or boat trailers having gross weight of 2,500 lbs., shall be the same as for other passenger vehicles. §46.2-876

VI. Special speed limits may be established for highway work zones when workers are present. §46.2-878.1Top of Page

speedcheckedbyradarAdjudication of Speed Law Violations: 

Civil/Criminal Adjudication of Violation:

A Violation of the Basic Speed Rule is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. §§46.2-861 & 46.2-868 All Other Speed Law Violations are Traffic Infractions. §§46.2-113, 46.2-873, 46.2-878.1 & 46.2-878.2Other: Sanctions Following an Adjudication of a Speed Law Violation: Criminal Sanctions: Imprisonment: Term (Day, Month, Years, Etc.):

 Class 1 Misdemeanor-Not more than 12 months §18.2-11(a)

Traffic Infraction-None

Mandatory Minimum Term: NoneFine: Amount ($ Range):Class 1 Misdemeanor-Not more than $2,500 §18.2-11(a)

Traffic Infraction-Not more than $200(3) §§46.2-113 & 46.2-878.2(4)Mandatory Min. Fine ($): None Other Penalties: Traffic School:The court or licensing agency may order an offender to attend a Driver Improvement Clinic. §§46.2-498 & 46.2-505Other:Important. If a Traffic Infraction was committed by a person driving a vehicle designed to transport property and which has a gross weight rating of 26,001 lbs inclusive of a towed vehicle with a gross weight rating 10,00 lbs., the fine is not more than $500. §46.2-113 (¶2)Licensing Action: Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev):

 I. Class 1 Misdemeanor Offense-Suspension §46.2-392 (¶1)

II. Suspension via a Point System(5) §§46.2-492 et seq.Term of License Withdrawal  (Days, Months, Years, etc.):

 I. Class 1 Misdemeanor Offense-10 days to 6 months §46.2-392 (¶1)

II. Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506 (B)Mandatory Minimum Term of Withdrawal:

 I. Class 1 Misdemeanor Offense-None §46.2-392 (¶1) Note: This court action is discretionary. In addition, if the court orders suspension, it may, nevertheless, issue an offender restricted driving privileges for employment, educational or medical purposes. §46.2-392 (¶3)

II. Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506(B) Note: This licensing action appears to be mandatory.Miscellaneous Sanctions Not Included Elsewhere: Other Criminal Actions Related to Speeding: Racing on Highway(6):Class 1 Misdemeanor §§46.2-865 & 46.2-868Sanctions: Criminal Sanction: Imprisonment (Term):Not more than 12 months §18.2-11(a)Mandatory Minimum Term:NoneFine ($ Range):Not more than $2,500 §18.2-11(a)Mandatory Minimum Fine:NoneAdministrative Licensing Action: Licensing Authorized and Type of Action:1st, 2nd & 3rd offense-Suspension §46.2-865 4th offense-Revocation §46.2-394Length of Term of Licensing Withdrawal:Suspension-6 months to 2 years §46.2-865 Revocation-5 years §46.2-394Mandatory Action--Minimum Length of License Withdrawal:Suspension-6 months §46.2-865 Revocation-5 years §46.2-394 Note: These licensing actions appear to be mandatory.Other:

 I. If the offense occurred as a result of a race that was prearranged, organized or planned, the vehicle used and owned by an offender must be forfeited to the State. §46.2-867

II. The court or licensing agency may order an offender to attend a Driver Improvement Clinic. §§46.2-498 & 46.2-505

III. An offender also accumulates points for this offense.5Exceeding the Speed Limit(7):Class 1 Misdemeanor §§46.2-862 & 46.2-868Sanctions: Criminal Sanction: Imprisonment (Term):Not more than 12 months §18.2-11(a)Mandatory Minimum Term:NoneFine ($ Range):Not more than $2,500 §18.2-11(a)Mandatory Minimum Fine:NoneAdministrative Licensing Action: Licensing Authorized and Type of Action:I. Suspension via Court Order §46.2-393

II. Suspension via a Point System5 §§46.2-492 et seq.Length of Term of Licensing Withdrawal:

 I. Suspension via Court Order-60 days to 6 months §46.2-393

II. Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506 (B)Mandatory Action--Minimum Length of License Withdrawal:

 I. Suspension via Court Order-None Note: This licensing action is discretionary with the court.

II. Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506(B) Note: This licensing action appears to be mandatory.Other:The court or licensing agency may order an offender to attend a Driver Improvement Clinic. §§46.2-498 & 46.2-505Other Criminal Actions Related to Speeding: Reckless Driving(8):Class 1 Misdemeanor §§46.2-852, 46.2-864(9) & 46.2-868Sanction: Criminal: Imprisonment (Term):Not more than 12 months §18.2-11(a)Mandatory Minimum Term of Imprisonment:NoneFine ($ Range):Not more than $2,500 §18.2-11(a)Mandatory Minimum Fine:NoneAdministrative Licensing Actions: Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev):I. Suspension via Court Order §46.2-392 (¶1)

II. Suspension via a Point System5 §§46.2-492 et seq.Length of Term of License Withdrawal Action:Top of Page

 I. Suspension via Court Order-10 days to 6 months(10) §46.2-392 (¶1)

II. Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506 (B)Mandatory Term of License Withdrawal Action:

 I. Suspension via Court Order-None Note: This court action is discretionary. In addition, if the court orders suspension, it may, nevertheless, issue an offender restricted driving privileges for employment, educational or medical purposes. §46.2-392 (¶3)

II. Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506(B) Note: This licensing action appears to be mandatory.Other:

 I. If the offender has caused the death of another person, the discretionary suspension period is not more than 12 months. §46.2-396

II. The court or licensing agency may order an offender to attend a Driver Improvement Clinic. §§46.2-498 & 46.2-505Improper Driving(11):Traffic Infraction §46.2-869Sanction: Criminal: Imprisonment (Term):NoneMandatory Minimum Term of Imprisonment: Fine ($ Range):Not more than $500 §46.2-869Mandatory Minimum Fine:NoneAdministrative Licensing Actions: Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev):Suspension via a Point System5 §§46.2-492 et seq.Length of Term of License Withdrawal Action:Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506 (B)Mandatory Term of License Withdrawal Action:Suspension via a Point System-90 days or until the offender completes  a driver improvement clinic §§46.2-506(B) Note: This licensing action appears to be mandatory.Other:The court or licensing agency may order an offender to attend a Driver Improvement Clinic. §§46.2-498 & 46.2-505Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Operators(12): 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"(13) within a 3 year period or (2) commit 3 such violations within a 3 year period. §46.2-341.20(B)Period of Disqualification:2 serious violations (within 3 years)-60 days 3 serious violations (within 3 years)-120 days §46.2-341.20(B)Period of Mandatory Disqualification:2 serious violations (within 3 years)-60 days 3 serious violations (within 3 years)-120 days §46.2-341.20(B)

1. Driving too fast for conditions is a reckless driving offense. §46.2-861

2. The Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner may establish different speed limits for different times of the day. §46.2-878 However, Virginia law does not specifically state whether different speed limits may be established for different types of vehicles or for various weather conditions.

3. The fine for exceeding the maximum posted speed limit in a work zone is not more than $250. §46.2-878.1 Likewise, the fine for exceeding either the 25 or 15 MPH speed limit in a school crossing zone is not more than the $250. §46.2-873

4. Sec. 46.2-878.2 makes it a traffic infraction with fine of not more than $200 to exceed the maximum posted speed limit on a highway in a residential district.

5. Point System. I. An offender's license is subject to suspension if they accumulate 18 points within 12 months or 24 points within 24 months. §46.2-506 II. The following points have been assigned to speeding and speed related offenses: Reckless driving-6 points; speeding 20 MPH above the speed limit-6 points; racing on the highway-6 points; speeding 10 to 19 MPH above the speed limit-4 points; exceeding a reasonable speed-3 points; improper driving-3 points; speeding 1 to 9 MPH above the speed limit-3 points; impeding traffic (slow speed)-3 points; and, other violations-3 points. §46.2-492 and Title 24 VAC 20-30-40 (Rule 3.1), 20-30-50 (Rule 3.2) & 20-30-60 (Rule 3.3) III. Persons under 18 years old, who receive points, are subject to the following sanctions: For 1st violation where points have been assigned, the person shall be directed to attend a driver improvement clinic. For a 2nd violation where points have been assigned, the person shall have their driving privileges suspended for 90 days. And, for a 3rd violation where points have been assigned, the person shall have their driving privileges revoked for either 1 year or until they reach 18 years old whichever is the longer revocation period. §46.2-334.01(1)(a), (2) & (3)

6. Racing on the highways is a reckless driving offense. §46.2-865

7. The "Exceeding the Speed Limit" offense is a reckless driving offense and is defined to mean driving either (1) 20 MPH over the maximum posted speed limit of 30 MPH, (2) 60 MPH over the maximum posted speed limit of 35 MPH, (3) 20 MPH over the maximum posted speed limit of 40 MPH or (4) 80 MPH regardless of the maximum posted speed limit. §46.2-862

8. In this State, "reckless driving" is defined as driving "a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person." §46.2-852 Important. Under Virginia law, the term "reckless driving offense" includes numerous moving violations.

9. Under §46.2-864, a person commits a reckless driving offense if they operate a "motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person" on a church, school, recreational facility, business property open to the public or the public parking space of an industrial establishment.

10. For a violation of §46.2-864, the discretionary suspension period is 60 days to 6 months. §46.2-393Top of Page

11. The court may reduce any reckless driving offense to improper driving if "the degree of culpability is slight." §46.2-869 Important. Under Virginia law, "improper driving" is not a defined crime. As such, law enforcement offices do not charge a person with this offense. Instead, a driver is normally charged with an offense which has been "labeled" as "reckless driving" and, if the circumstances warrant, the court reduces such charge to "improper driving" for sentencing purposes.

12. 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. §46.2-341.4

13. A "serious traffic violation" includes exceeding the speed limit by 15 or more MPH or reckless driving. §46.2-341.20(A)(1) & (2)

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