Maximum Speed Limit in the United States

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Map of the US Showing Maximum Speed Limit in the United States
Map of the US Showing the Maximum Speed Limit in Different US States


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Speed limits are enacted by State governments and determine the maximum speed at which vehicles can be driven in a particular area, regions, or states. Capping the limit of speeds has led to safety less road accidents and fatalities. But speed limits can vary based on the type of vehicle, as there are often separate speed limits for cars and trucks.

Speed limits are set by the federal or state governments, and are enforced by the local police. Driving the vehicles above the posted speed limit can result in a ‘ticket,’ or fine, and even in some cases jail terms.

The history of speed limits dates back to the 19th century. It was first enforced in the United Kingdom at a time when horse drawn carriages dominated the streets. The United Kingdom Stage Carriage Act of 1832 was the first act that put forth the offense of endangering a person or passenger’s safety by indulging in furious driving. Between 1865 and 1896, the maximum speed at which locomotives could travel in populated areas was 2 mph, while in relatively sparsely populated areas they had the luxury to drive at 4mph. On January 28th, 1896, Walter Arnold broke the law by driving his ‘car’ at a dangerously high speed of 8 mph and he had to pay a fine of around one shilling for dangerous driving. The advancements in automobile technology during the last 150 years has led to a dramatic increase in the speed of vehicles. Today in many parts of the world, the speed limits can reach more than 100 mph.

Many countries strictly enforce speed limits, and the United States is no exception. The US takes speed limits quite seriously, and those breaking the law have to pay hefty fines. But the speed limits are not uniform across the county. In some States, it may go as high as 85 mph, while in others a speed of just 55 mph is set.

In Washington D.C, the capital of the United States, the speed limit has been set at 55 mph, while in Hawaii, the maximum speed at which vehicles can be driven is 60 mph. In Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, vehicles cannot be driven at a speed of more than 65 mph.

There are 22 states which have set the speed limit at 70 mph. Some of these are California, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Oregon, Maryland, Pennsylvanian, Georgia, among others. States like Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Washington State will allow drivers to drive at a maximum speed of 75 mph. The speed limit has been set at 80 mph in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. The maximum speed limit can be found in the ‘Lone Star State,’ of Texas. Here the maximum speed limit has been set at 85 mph.

The table below provides information on the maximum speed limit in each stet of the US and Washington D.C.

States Speed Limit
Hawaii 60 mph
Alaska 65 mph
Connecticut 65 mph
Delaware 65 mph
Massachusetts 65 mph
New Jersey 65 mph
New York 65 mph
Rhode Island 65 mph
Vermont 65 mph
Alabama 70 mph
California 70 mph
Florida 70 mph
Georgia 70 mph
Illinois 70 mph
Indiana 70 mph
Iowa 70 mph
Kentucky 70 mph
Maryland 70 mph
Minnesota 70 mph
Mississippi 70 mph
Missouri 70 mph
New Hampshire 70 mph
North Carolina 70 mph
Ohio 70 mph
Oregon 70 mph
Pennsylvania 70 mph
South Carolina 70 mph
Tennessee 70 mph
Virginia 70 mph
West Virginia 70 mph
Wisconsin 70 mph
Arizona 75 mph
Arkansas 75 mph
Colorado 75 mph
Kansas 75 mph
Louisiana 75 mph
Maine Maine 75 mph
Michigan 75 mph
Nebraska 75 mph
New Mexico 75 mph
North Dakota 75 mph
Oklahoma 75 mph
Washington 75 mph
Idaho 80 mph
Montana 80 mph
Nevada 80 mph
South Dakota 80 mph
Utah 80 mph
Wyoming 80 mph
Texas 85 mph

Note: In Washington, D.C, the Capital of the United States, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph.

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