Wheels of Justice
No posted speed limit
I was stopped for speeding, but there was no posted speed limit that I saw, and the officer was unable to tell me where the speed limit sign was. How can an officer give me a speeding ticket when there is an unknown speed limit or no posted speed limit?
Have you ever noticed a speed limit sign that says every road or street in this community/town/city is “25 mph on all streets unless otherwise posted?” That sign is sufficient under the law to inform you that every street in the town is 25 mph unless otherwise posted, so the city or town doesn’t have to spend money posting signs all over town every time the speed limit changes.
Every road and highway has a designated speed limit assigned to it by the state. Ensuring that everyone is informed of that speed is the duty of the State Department of Transportation (SDOT). That is why cities and townships must petition the SDOT to change any speed limits, either up or down. The SDOT must survey the road to determine the lowest and highest speed that a vehicle may safely travel on that particular road or part of the road. They must also put speed limit signs on the road to inform the public and put signs up that the speed limit is about to change, so that drivers can safely slow or accelerate to accommodate the upcoming speed zone. States have laws that dictate how far the signs must be apart so drivers can safely modify their speed. This is where many speed traps do their best work, catching drivers before they have completely slowed to the new lower speed limit.
So how do you know a speed limit on a roadway if it is not posted? The answer is that you can’t. However, since all roads have a designated speed limit, your only answer be-comes simply that you did not know the posted speed. That is why most roads have speed limit signs posted when you enter from a different speed zone. Otherwise, you might conclude that the speed limit you were traveling in did not change.
Knowing posted speed limits is important under the new CDL laws. Any moving violation will go on your CDL MVR, plus it will also increase your personal auto insurance rates. You should also factor in the in-crease in insurance premiums you’ll pay for three to five years down the road.
Consider fighting all traffic violations you receive. Make sure you are one of the CDL holders with a good record and you’re able to secure any job you want. Where else can you earn as much as a good truck driver can earn if you lose your CDL or if the new CSA laws make your company fire you?
Jim C. Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd., an organization that provides legal defense protection to commercial drivers. Jim is a lawyer who focuses on transportation law and the trucking industry in particular. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking, and he holds his Commercial Drivers License.