Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of Utah.

Speed limits in Utah

Utah has one of the highest posted speed limits in the United States, at 80 mph.

80 mph: rural interstates

75 mph: other limited access roads

65-70 mph: urban interstates

55 mph: other highways and roads unless otherwise posted

25 mph: urban and residential districts

20 mph: reduced speed school zones

Utah code on reasonable and prudent speed

Maximum speed law:

According to section 41-6a-601 of UT vehicle code, “A person may not operate a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions, giving regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”

Minimum speed law:

Sections 41-6a-605 and 41-6a-701 states:

“A person may not operate a motor vehicle at a speed so slow as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

“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.”

Due to variations in speedometer calibration, tire size, and margins of error in speed-detecting technology, it’s uncommon for an officer to pull a driver over for going less than five miles above the speed limit. However, technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.

Utah has prima facie speed laws. This means that a driver is presumed to be breaking the speed law, however the driver may argue that they were driving safely despite exceeding the limit. Alternatively, a driver may choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:

  • The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.

  • A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others.

  • The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could have made a mistake and pulled the wrong car over.

Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in Utah

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined up to $870

  • Be sentenced to up to 90 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to one year

Penalty for reckless driving in Utah

There is no set speed in Utah at which violating the speed limit is considered reckless driving. That determination depends upon the circumstances surrounding the violation.

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined up to $1,000

  • Be sentenced to up to six months of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to one year

Violators may be able to reduce fines or points by taking a defensive driving course.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Utah Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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