Laws Lawyers Find Laws Legal Forms State Laws Bills

NORTH CAROLINA STATUTES AND CODES

§ 20-141. Speed restrictions.

Listen
§ 20‑141.  Speedrestrictions.(a)        No person shalldrive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greaterthan is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.(b)        Except as otherwiseprovided in this Chapter, it shall be unlawful to operate a vehicle in excessof the following speeds:(1)        Thirty‑fivemiles per hour inside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles.(2)        Fifty‑fivemiles per hour outside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles except forschool buses and school activity buses.(c)        Except while towinganother vehicle, or when an advisory safe‑speed sign indicates a slowerspeed, or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful to operate apassenger vehicle upon the interstate and primary highway system at less thanthe following speeds:(1)        Forty miles per hourin a speed zone of 55 miles per hour.(2)        Forty‑fivemiles per hour in a speed zone of 60 miles per hour or greater.These minimum speeds shall beeffective only when appropriate signs are posted indicating the minimum speed.(d)       (1)        Wheneverthe Department of Transportation determines on the basis of an engineering andtraffic investigation that any speed allowed by subsection (b) is greater thanis reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist upon any part of ahighway outside the corporate limits of a municipality or upon any part of ahighway designated as part of the Interstate Highway System or any part of acontrolled‑access highway (either inside or outside the corporate limitsof a municipality), the Department of Transportation shall determine anddeclare a reasonable and safe speed limit.(2)        Whenever theDepartment of Transportation determines on the basis of an engineering andtraffic investigation that a higher maximum speed than those set forth insubsection (b) is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist uponany part of a highway designated as part of the Interstate Highway System orany part of a controlled‑access highway (either inside or outside the corporatelimits of a municipality) the Department of Transportation shall determine anddeclare a reasonable and safe speed limit. A speed limit set pursuant to thissubsection may not exceed 70 miles per hour.Speed limits set pursuant tothis subsection are not effective until appropriate signs giving notice thereofare erected upon the parts of the highway affected.(e)        Local authorities,in their respective jurisdictions, may authorize by ordinance higher speeds orlower speeds than those set out in subsection (b) upon all streets which arenot part of the State highway system; but no speed so fixed shall authorize aspeed in excess of 55 miles per hour. Speed limits set pursuant to thissubsection shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof areerected upon the part of the streets affected.(e1)      Local authoritieswithin their respective jurisdictions may authorize, by ordinance, lower speedlimits than those set in subsection (b) of this section on school property. Ifthe lower speed limit is being set on the grounds of a public school, the localschool administrative unit must request or consent to the lower speed limit. Ifthe lower speed limit is being set on the grounds of a private school, thegoverning body of the school must request or consent to the lower speed limit.Speed limits established pursuant to this subsection shall become effectivewhen appropriate signs giving notice of the speed limit are erected uponaffected property. A person who drives a motor vehicle on school property at aspeed greater than the speed limit set and posted under this subsection isresponsible for an infraction and is required to pay a penalty of not less thantwenty‑five dollars ($25.00).(f)         Whenever localauthorities within their respective jurisdictions determine upon the basis ofan engineering and traffic investigation that a higher maximum speed than thoseset forth in subsection (b) is reasonable and safe, or that any speedhereinbefore set forth is greater than is reasonable and safe, under theconditions found to exist upon any part of a street within the corporate limitsof a municipality and which street is a part of the State highway system(except those highways designated as part of the interstate highway system orother controlled‑access highway) said local authorities shall determineand declare a safe and reasonable speed limit. A speed limit set pursuant tothis subsection may not exceed 55 miles per hour. Limits set pursuant to thissubsection shall become effective when the Department of Transportation haspassed a concurring ordinance and signs are erected giving notice of theauthorized speed limit.When local authorities annex aroad on the State highway system, the speed limit posted on the road at thetime the road was annexed shall remain in effect until both the Department andmunicipality pass concurrent ordinances to change the speed limit.The Department ofTransportation is authorized to raise or lower the statutory speed limit on allhighways on the State highway system within municipalities which do not have agoverning body to enact municipal ordinances as provided by law. The Departmentof Transportation shall determine a reasonable and safe speed limit in the samemanner as is provided in G.S. 20‑141(d)(1) and G.S. 20‑141(d)(2)for changing the speed limits outside of municipalities, without action of themunicipality.(g)        Whenever theDepartment of Transportation or local authorities within their respectivejurisdictions determine on the basis of an engineering and trafficinvestigation that slow speeds on any part of a highway considerably impede thenormal and reasonable movement of traffic, the Department of Transportation orsuch local authority may determine and declare a minimum speed below which noperson shall operate a motor vehicle except when necessary for safe operationin compliance with law. Such minimum speed limit shall be effective whenappropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected on said part of thehighway. Provided, such minimum speed limit shall be effective as to thosehighways and streets within the corporate limits of a municipality which are onthe State highway system only when ordinances adopting the minimum speed limitare passed and concurred in by both the Department of Transportation and thelocal authorities. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to farmtractors and other motor vehicles operating at reasonable speeds for the typeand nature of such vehicles.(h)        No person shalloperate a motor vehicle on the highway at such a slow speed as to impede thenormal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed isnecessary for safe operation or in compliance with law; provided, thisprovision shall not apply to farm tractors and other motor vehicles operatingat reasonable speeds for the type and nature of such vehicles.(i)         The Department ofTransportation shall have authority to designate and appropriately mark certainhighways of the State as truck routes.(j)         Repealed bySession Laws 1997, c. 443, s. 19.26(b).(j1)       A person who drivesa vehicle on a highway at a speed that is either more than 15 miles per hourmore than the speed limit established by law for the highway where the offenseoccurred or over 80 miles per hour is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.(j2)       A person who drivesa motor vehicle in a highway work zone at a speed greater than the speed limitset and posted under this section shall be required to pay a penalty of twohundred fifty dollars ($250.00). This penalty shall be imposed in addition tothose penalties established in this Chapter. A "highway work zone" isthe area between the first sign that informs motorists of the existence of awork zone on a highway and the last sign that informs motorists of the end ofthe work zone. The additional penalty imposed by this subsection applies onlyif sign [signs] are posted at the beginning and end of any segment of thehighway work zone stating the penalty for speeding in that segment of the workzone. The Secretary shall ensure that work zones shall only be posted withpenalty signs if the Secretary determines, after engineering review, that theposting is necessary to ensure the safety of the traveling public due to ahazardous condition.A law enforcement officerissuing a citation for a violation of this section while in a highway work zoneshall indicate the vehicle speed and speed limit posted in the segment of thework zone, and determine whether the individual committed a violation of G.S.20‑141(j1). Upon an individual's conviction of a violation of thissection while in a highway work zone, the clerk of court shall report that thevehicle was in a work zone at the time of the violation, the vehicle speed, andthe speed limit of the work zone to the Division of Motor Vehicles.(j3)       A person is guiltyof a Class 2 misdemeanor if the person drives a commercial motor vehiclecarrying a load that is subject to the permit requirements of G.S. 20‑119upon a highway or any public vehicular area at a speed of 15 miles per hour ormore above either:(1)        The posted speed; or(2)        The restrictedspeed, if any, of the permit, or if no permit was obtained, the speed thatwould be applicable to the load if a permit had been obtained.(k)        Repealed by SessionLaws 1995 (Regular Session, 1996), c. 652, s. 1.(l)         Notwithstandingany other provision contained in G.S. 20‑141 or any other statute or lawof this State, including municipal charters, any speed limit on any portion ofthe public highways within the jurisdiction of this State shall be uniformlyapplicable to all types of motor vehicles using such portion of the highway, ifon November 1, 1973, such portion of the highway had a speed limit which wasuniformly applicable to all types of motor vehicles using it. Provided,however, that a lower speed limit may be established for any vehicle operatingunder a special permit because of any weight or dimension of such vehicle,including any load thereon. The requirement for a uniform speed limit hereundershall not apply to any portion of the highway during such time as the conditionof the highway, weather, an accident, or other condition creates a temporaryhazard to the safety of traffic on such portion of the highway.(m)       The fact that thespeed of a vehicle is lower than the foregoing limits shall not relieve theoperator of a vehicle from the duty to decrease speed as may be necessary toavoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering thehighway, and to avoid injury to any person or property.(n)        Notwithstanding anyother provision contained in G.S. 20‑141 or any other statute or law ofthis State, the failure of a motorist to stop his vehicle within the radius ofits headlights or the range of his vision shall not be held negligence per seor contributory negligence per se.(o)        A violation of G.S.20‑123.2 shall be a lesser included offense in any violation of thissection, and shall be subject to the following limitations and conditions:(1)        A violation of G.S.20‑123.2 shall be recorded in the driver's official record as"Improper equipment – Speedometer."(2)        The lesser includedoffense under this subsection shall not apply to charges of speeding in excessof 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit.No drivers license points orinsurance surcharge shall be assessed on account of a violation of thissubsection.(p)        A driver chargedwith speeding in excess of 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit shallbe ineligible for a disposition of prayer for judgment continued.  (1937, c. 297, s. 2; c. 407,s. 103; 1939, c. 275; 1941, c. 347; 1947, c. 1067, s. 17; 1949, c. 947, s. 1;1953, c. 1145; 1955, c. 398; c. 555, ss. 1, 2; c. 1042; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; c.214; 1959, c. 640; c. 1264, s. 10; 1961, cc. 99, 1147; 1963, cc. 134, 456, 949;1967, c. 106; 1971, c. 79, ss. 1‑3; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 1330, s. 7;1975, c. 225; 1977, c. 367; c. 464, s. 34; c. 470; 1983, c. 131; 1985, c. 764,ss. 29, 30; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 852, s. 17; 1987, c. 164; 1991 (Reg.Sess., 1992), c. 818, s. 1; c. 1034, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, ss. 366, 367; 1994,Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 652, s. 1; 1997‑341,s. 1; 1997‑443, s. 19.26(b); 1997‑488, s. 1; 1999‑330, s. 3;2000‑109, s. 7(c); 2003‑110, s. 1; 2004‑203, s. 70(a); 2005‑349,s. 11; 2007‑380, ss. 1, 2; 2009‑234, ss. 1, 2.)
Loading...
  • Play
  • Pause
  • Volume:
  • Mute
  • Half
  • Max
  • § 20‑141.  Speedrestrictions.

    (a)        No person shalldrive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greaterthan is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.

    (b)        Except as otherwiseprovided in this Chapter, it shall be unlawful to operate a vehicle in excessof the following speeds:

    (1)        Thirty‑fivemiles per hour inside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles.

    (2)        Fifty‑fivemiles per hour outside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles except forschool buses and school activity buses.

    (c)        Except while towinganother vehicle, or when an advisory safe‑speed sign indicates a slowerspeed, or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful to operate apassenger vehicle upon the interstate and primary highway system at less thanthe following speeds:

    (1)        Forty miles per hourin a speed zone of 55 miles per hour.

    (2)        Forty‑fivemiles per hour in a speed zone of 60 miles per hour or greater.

    These minimum speeds shall beeffective only when appropriate signs are posted indicating the minimum speed.

    (d)       (1)        Wheneverthe Department of Transportation determines on the basis of an engineering andtraffic investigation that any speed allowed by subsection (b) is greater thanis reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist upon any part of ahighway outside the corporate limits of a municipality or upon any part of ahighway designated as part of the Interstate Highway System or any part of acontrolled‑access highway (either inside or outside the corporate limitsof a municipality), the Department of Transportation shall determine anddeclare a reasonable and safe speed limit.

    (2)        Whenever theDepartment of Transportation determines on the basis of an engineering andtraffic investigation that a higher maximum speed than those set forth insubsection (b) is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist uponany part of a highway designated as part of the Interstate Highway System orany part of a controlled‑access highway (either inside or outside the corporatelimits of a municipality) the Department of Transportation shall determine anddeclare a reasonable and safe speed limit. A speed limit set pursuant to thissubsection may not exceed 70 miles per hour.

    Speed limits set pursuant tothis subsection are not effective until appropriate signs giving notice thereofare erected upon the parts of the highway affected.

    (e)        Local authorities,in their respective jurisdictions, may authorize by ordinance higher speeds orlower speeds than those set out in subsection (b) upon all streets which arenot part of the State highway system; but no speed so fixed shall authorize aspeed in excess of 55 miles per hour. Speed limits set pursuant to thissubsection shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof areerected upon the part of the streets affected.

    (e1)      Local authoritieswithin their respective jurisdictions may authorize, by ordinance, lower speedlimits than those set in subsection (b) of this section on school property. Ifthe lower speed limit is being set on the grounds of a public school, the localschool administrative unit must request or consent to the lower speed limit. Ifthe lower speed limit is being set on the grounds of a private school, thegoverning body of the school must request or consent to the lower speed limit.Speed limits established pursuant to this subsection shall become effectivewhen appropriate signs giving notice of the speed limit are erected uponaffected property. A person who drives a motor vehicle on school property at aspeed greater than the speed limit set and posted under this subsection isresponsible for an infraction and is required to pay a penalty of not less thantwenty‑five dollars ($25.00).

    (f)         Whenever localauthorities within their respective jurisdictions determine upon the basis ofan engineering and traffic investigation that a higher maximum speed than thoseset forth in subsection (b) is reasonable and safe, or that any speedhereinbefore set forth is greater than is reasonable and safe, under theconditions found to exist upon any part of a street within the corporate limitsof a municipality and which street is a part of the State highway system(except those highways designated as part of the interstate highway system orother controlled‑access highway) said local authorities shall determineand declare a safe and reasonable speed limit. A speed limit set pursuant tothis subsection may not exceed 55 miles per hour. Limits set pursuant to thissubsection shall become effective when the Department of Transportation haspassed a concurring ordinance and signs are erected giving notice of theauthorized speed limit.

    When local authorities annex aroad on the State highway system, the speed limit posted on the road at thetime the road was annexed shall remain in effect until both the Department andmunicipality pass concurrent ordinances to change the speed limit.

    The Department ofTransportation is authorized to raise or lower the statutory speed limit on allhighways on the State highway system within municipalities which do not have agoverning body to enact municipal ordinances as provided by law. The Departmentof Transportation shall determine a reasonable and safe speed limit in the samemanner as is provided in G.S. 20‑141(d)(1) and G.S. 20‑141(d)(2)for changing the speed limits outside of municipalities, without action of themunicipality.

    (g)        Whenever theDepartment of Transportation or local authorities within their respectivejurisdictions determine on the basis of an engineering and trafficinvestigation that slow speeds on any part of a highway considerably impede thenormal and reasonable movement of traffic, the Department of Transportation orsuch local authority may determine and declare a minimum speed below which noperson shall operate a motor vehicle except when necessary for safe operationin compliance with law. Such minimum speed limit shall be effective whenappropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected on said part of thehighway. Provided, such minimum speed limit shall be effective as to thosehighways and streets within the corporate limits of a municipality which are onthe State highway system only when ordinances adopting the minimum speed limitare passed and concurred in by both the Department of Transportation and thelocal authorities. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to farmtractors and other motor vehicles operating at reasonable speeds for the typeand nature of such vehicles.

    (h)        No person shalloperate a motor vehicle on the highway at such a slow speed as to impede thenormal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed isnecessary for safe operation or in compliance with law; provided, thisprovision shall not apply to farm tractors and other motor vehicles operatingat reasonable speeds for the type and nature of such vehicles.

    (i)         The Department ofTransportation shall have authority to designate and appropriately mark certainhighways of the State as truck routes.

    (j)         Repealed bySession Laws 1997, c. 443, s. 19.26(b).

    (j1)       A person who drivesa vehicle on a highway at a speed that is either more than 15 miles per hourmore than the speed limit established by law for the highway where the offenseoccurred or over 80 miles per hour is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

    (j2)       A person who drivesa motor vehicle in a highway work zone at a speed greater than the speed limitset and posted under this section shall be required to pay a penalty of twohundred fifty dollars ($250.00). This penalty shall be imposed in addition tothose penalties established in this Chapter. A "highway work zone" isthe area between the first sign that informs motorists of the existence of awork zone on a highway and the last sign that informs motorists of the end ofthe work zone. The additional penalty imposed by this subsection applies onlyif sign [signs] are posted at the beginning and end of any segment of thehighway work zone stating the penalty for speeding in that segment of the workzone. The Secretary shall ensure that work zones shall only be posted withpenalty signs if the Secretary determines, after engineering review, that theposting is necessary to ensure the safety of the traveling public due to ahazardous condition.

    A law enforcement officerissuing a citation for a violation of this section while in a highway work zoneshall indicate the vehicle speed and speed limit posted in the segment of thework zone, and determine whether the individual committed a violation of G.S.20‑141(j1). Upon an individual's conviction of a violation of thissection while in a highway work zone, the clerk of court shall report that thevehicle was in a work zone at the time of the violation, the vehicle speed, andthe speed limit of the work zone to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

    (j3)       A person is guiltyof a Class 2 misdemeanor if the person drives a commercial motor vehiclecarrying a load that is subject to the permit requirements of G.S. 20‑119upon a highway or any public vehicular area at a speed of 15 miles per hour ormore above either:

    (1)        The posted speed; or

    (2)        The restrictedspeed, if any, of the permit, or if no permit was obtained, the speed thatwould be applicable to the load if a permit had been obtained.

    (k)        Repealed by SessionLaws 1995 (Regular Session, 1996), c. 652, s. 1.

    (l)         Notwithstandingany other provision contained in G.S. 20‑141 or any other statute or lawof this State, including municipal charters, any speed limit on any portion ofthe public highways within the jurisdiction of this State shall be uniformlyapplicable to all types of motor vehicles using such portion of the highway, ifon November 1, 1973, such portion of the highway had a speed limit which wasuniformly applicable to all types of motor vehicles using it. Provided,however, that a lower speed limit may be established for any vehicle operatingunder a special permit because of any weight or dimension of such vehicle,including any load thereon. The requirement for a uniform speed limit hereundershall not apply to any portion of the highway during such time as the conditionof the highway, weather, an accident, or other condition creates a temporaryhazard to the safety of traffic on such portion of the highway.

    (m)       The fact that thespeed of a vehicle is lower than the foregoing limits shall not relieve theoperator of a vehicle from the duty to decrease speed as may be necessary toavoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering thehighway, and to avoid injury to any person or property.

    (n)        Notwithstanding anyother provision contained in G.S. 20‑141 or any other statute or law ofthis State, the failure of a motorist to stop his vehicle within the radius ofits headlights or the range of his vision shall not be held negligence per seor contributory negligence per se.

    (o)        A violation of G.S.20‑123.2 shall be a lesser included offense in any violation of thissection, and shall be subject to the following limitations and conditions:

    (1)        A violation of G.S.20‑123.2 shall be recorded in the driver's official record as"Improper equipment – Speedometer."

    (2)        The lesser includedoffense under this subsection shall not apply to charges of speeding in excessof 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit.

    No drivers license points orinsurance surcharge shall be assessed on account of a violation of thissubsection.

    (p)        A driver chargedwith speeding in excess of 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit shallbe ineligible for a disposition of prayer for judgment continued.  (1937, c. 297, s. 2; c. 407,s. 103; 1939, c. 275; 1941, c. 347; 1947, c. 1067, s. 17; 1949, c. 947, s. 1;1953, c. 1145; 1955, c. 398; c. 555, ss. 1, 2; c. 1042; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; c.214; 1959, c. 640; c. 1264, s. 10; 1961, cc. 99, 1147; 1963, cc. 134, 456, 949;1967, c. 106; 1971, c. 79, ss. 1‑3; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 1330, s. 7;1975, c. 225; 1977, c. 367; c. 464, s. 34; c. 470; 1983, c. 131; 1985, c. 764,ss. 29, 30; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 852, s. 17; 1987, c. 164; 1991 (Reg.Sess., 1992), c. 818, s. 1; c. 1034, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, ss. 366, 367; 1994,Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 652, s. 1; 1997‑341,s. 1; 1997‑443, s. 19.26(b); 1997‑488, s. 1; 1999‑330, s. 3;2000‑109, s. 7(c); 2003‑110, s. 1; 2004‑203, s. 70(a); 2005‑349,s. 11; 2007‑380, ss. 1, 2; 2009‑234, ss. 1, 2.)

    North Carolina Forms by Issue

    North Carolina Gun Forms
    North Carolina Real Estate Forms
    North Carolina Tax Forms

    North Carolina Law

    North Carolina State Laws
        > North Carolina Child Support
        > North Carolina Gun Laws
        > North Carolina Statute
    North Carolina Tax
        > North Carolina State Tax
    North Carolina Labor Laws
        > North Carolina Unemployment
    North Carolina Agencies
        > North Carolina Department of Corrections
        > North Carolina DMV
        > North Carolina Employment Security Commission
        > North Carolina Real Estate
        > North Carolina Secretary of State

    North Carolina Court Map

    Tips