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Does New York Have a National Speed Limit?

In 1974, the federal government passed the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act that prohibited speed limits above 55 miles per hour. This was done in response to the rising oil prices and supply disruptions that occurred in the early 1970s. While the law was modified twice to allow speed limits up to 65 miles per hour, in 1995 the U.S. Congress repealed the law, returning the responsibility back to individual states.

New York Speed Limit

In New York, the highest posted speed limit is 65 miles per hour on limited-access freeways that include some state highways, most New York State Thruways, and some interstate highways.

The default speed limit, which is referred to as the “state speed limit,” is 55 miles per hour, which is in effect unless otherwise posted or speed limit signs are absent.

The New York State Department of Transportation is usually the agency that determines the speed limit in New York. Additionally, individual New York counties and most towns must petition the New York Department of Transportation to change a speed limit.

However, state law does allow villages, cities, towns with more than 50,000 residents, and certain towns defined by statute as “suburban,” to set the speed limits on state, county, or local roads that fall within their borders.

New York Minimum Speeds

While there isn’t a New York state law regarding minimum speed limits, there is a minimum speed posted on certain interstate roads, thruways, and other expressways.

New York Area Speed Limits

New York state law does allow for area speed limits, which applies to all highways in a specified area, except ones that are specifically excluded. The area speed limit may refer to an entire city or town, or just a specific neighborhood.

An area speed limit could also apply to an area around a school, hospital, or similar places.

The speed limit in many residential/urban or business districts is 30 miles per hour and state law prohibits speeds lower than 25 miles per hour, with some exceptions.

A school speed limit may be as high as 30 miles per hour or as low as 15 miles per hour. There are also neighborhood slow zones with speeds of 20 miles per hour.

As any New York accident attorney will tell you, the New York Criminal Procedure Law prevents the police or other law enforcement agency to issue a ticket for any offense they didn’t personally witness. This means the New York electronic toll collection system can’t be used for speed enforcement.

It’s also vital to note that speed limits are not absolutes. You must adapt your speed if current conditions require you to do so. The conditions could include sharp or blind curves, wet or slippery roads, driving on hills, and where pedestrians and/or driving hazards are present.

If you or a loved one has run into problems with the law as it relates to New York speed limits, then you may want to contact a lawyer who will help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities.

The attorneys at Greenberg & Stein have handled all types of automobile cases in New York City, including speeding, road rage, and aggressive driving, and we will be here to help you along every step of the way while we fight on your behalf. Likewise, if you’ve been injured by the negligent actions of someone else behind the wheel, it is imperative that you speak with a team of qualified professionals who can ensure you receive the necessary compensation to cover hospital bills, lost wages, and other damages.

We offer a free consultation and a 24-hour phone line, so don’t hesitate to call us if you need an auto accident attorney in New York City. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free legal consultation.