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Q: General Question about Highway Speeds ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: General Question about Highway Speeds
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: eddiearias-ga
List Price: $39.99
Posted: 14 Jun 2005 08:03 PDT
Expires: 14 Jul 2005 08:03 PDT
Question ID: 533181
okay, so i'm well aware that the policy when it comes to highway
driving is that one only gets on the most left lane for passing
vehicles only. however, is it okay, or accpeted to some degree, to go
above the speed limit to pass someone. i know its primarily subjective
to the trooper/officer, but i was hoping that someone here could
provide some information about this in general, i.e., the
catch-22-esque of the situation (passing a seemingly aggitated driver
in my case), or any "did-you-know"-ish info.

Just curious. Thank you.

Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 14 Jun 2005 08:15 PDT
Greetings Eddiearias,

From what state do you need this information?   

Best regards,

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Jun 2005 08:24 PDT
There is generally a 'window' of about 10 mph above the speed limit
where drivers are usually not stopped for speeding.

That is, on a 55 mph highway, police generally won't stop someone for
speeding unless they are going over 65 mph.  I don't think it makes
much of a difference whether they are passing or not.

Would you consider confirmation of the 10-mph rule of thumb an
acceptable answer to your question?  Or are you looking specifically
for information about the situation when a driver is speeding to pass
another driver?

Let me know.


Clarification of Question by eddiearias-ga on 14 Jun 2005 08:44 PDT
re: state, the state is NY

re: 10mph as answer, i'd accept the "general" of thumb w/some solid
info/data to back that up.
Subject: Re: General Question about Highway Speeds
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 14 Jun 2005 08:54 PDT
Hello Eddie,

Thanks for getting back to me so promptly.

This issue just happened to have been in the news the past few days,
so it was fairly fresh in my mind as I read your question.  There are
many newspaper reports on the topic, such as this one at USA Today:

Speeders' 5-10 mph 'free pass' costs lives, report says

"...Motorists in most states get a free pass from police for driving 5
to 10 mph above posted speed limits, a policy that contributes to
"carnage" on the nation's roadways, an association that represents
state highway safety agencies reported Monday..."

Other news stories on the same topic can be seen here:,GGLG:2005-20,GGLG:en&q=Governors+Highway+Safety+Association

and the actual report that these stories are citing comes from this organization:
Governors Highway Safety Association 

Speeding a Serious Problem 10 Years After National Speed Limit Repeal

"...The problem with speeding is not just the increased speed limits
but also the fact that the public feels comfortable driving above the
posted limits, even when road conditions are less than ideal. Of the
50 GHSA jurisdictions surveyed, 42 indicated there exists a ?cushion?
of 5-10 mph, not only in the minds of the public but also in
enforcement practice. Champagne states, ?This cushion truly exists
across this country and in some cases is more than 10 mph above posted
limits. Law enforcement need to be given the political will to enforce
speed limits and the public must get the message that speeding will
not be tolerated.?

This answer is a bit on the brief side, but I trust the information
here fully answers your question.

However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need.  If there's anything more I can do for you, just post a Request
for Clarification, and I'm happy to assist you further.


search strategy -- searched Google News for [ "10 mph" ]
Subject: Re: General Question about Highway Speeds
From: djbaker-ga on 14 Jun 2005 08:28 PDT
I challenged a ticket in court once on the grounds that I was "just
passing someone".  The judge then asked me "what were you doing
passing someoen who was going the speed limit?"
Subject: Re: General Question about Highway Speeds
From: journalist-ga on 14 Jun 2005 09:41 PDT
Greetings again, Eddiearias,

Glad your question was answered to your satisfaction.  From what I
discovered, exceeding the speed limit is exceeding the speed limit.

"MANAGING SPEED: Review of Current Practice for Setting and Enforcing
Speed Limits, Transportation Research Board (1998)
"[Figures on speeding-related crashes] must be interpreted with
caution. The definition of speeding is broad; for the purposes of
coding crash-related information, speeding is defined as ?exceeding
the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions? (NHTSA
1997a, 1)."

Here's the NY breakdown of fines in MPH for exceeding:

"Exceeding the speed limit less than 10 MPH, a fine of $60-$100;
exceeding the speed limit more than 10 MPH but less than 30 MPH, not
more than 30 days in jail and a fine of $120-$200; exceeding the speed
limit more than 30 MPH, not more than 30 days in jail and a fine of
$240-$400. For a second offense within 18 months for any of the
previous offenses, the fine is increased by $100. For a subsequent
offense within 18 months for any of the previous offenses, the fine is
increased by $250."

I would also suggest you have your speedometer tested.  Having a
faulty speedometer wouldn't necessarily cancel the ticket but could
prove excellent fodder for requesting the ticket to be cancelled. 
Especially if you provide the court with a bill for the testing and
repair of the speedometer.

Also, please read this article from World Law about fighting a
speeding ticket - there is reference to radar unit calibration and
numerous references to New York state.

Best regards,
Subject: Re: General Question about Highway Speeds
From: eptompi-ga on 14 Jun 2005 11:34 PDT
As a recently retired long-haul truck driver, I can assure you there
is no state that will give you a 10 mph leeway. They do usually allow
5 mph to compensate for misalignments in their radar, etc. Helps them
in court.
  Of course a lot also depends on when and where. In California be a
good boy no matter when or where. Most states are more reasonable and
leave trucks alone on empty stretches or in the middle of the night as
long as you aren't trying to beat the Indy 500 speed record.
   As with all things in life, moderation and common sense provide the
answers. It is a shame there is so little of either these days.

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