Many blog sites discuss how to avoid a speeding ticket using California’s Basic Speed Law. Unfortunately, many — if not all — of these sites are full of misinformation. Some people claim that CVC section 22351 allows them to drive faster than posted speed limits under the basic speed law. This is not true. The California basic speed law requires drivers to drive at speeds that are safe for the road conditions. This means that you cannot drive 70 mph in a 55 mph zone and claim that you had to do it in order to keep up with traffic and travel “safely.”
The basic speed law does not give you an excuse to exceed the posted speed limits — ever. Maybe you could get by with it in an extreme emergency, but even then, it’s questionable.
If you are driving in bad weather — such as a rainstorm — you can get a speeding ticket under the basic speed law even if you are going the posted speed limit. The purpose of CVC 22350 is to get drivers to drive at speeds that are safe for the conditions at the time. The posted speed limit is for ideal conditions when the roads are dry and the skies are clear. The basic speed law picks up any slack for those less-than-ideal days.
If you get a ticket, the court will use the ticketing officer’s discretion to determine whether your speed was unsafe. If you get a ticket under the basic speed law, you are guilty — unless you have some strong evidence to prove that your speed was safe for the weather and road conditions at the time.
Officers who patrol the streets every day can testify against you in court. These officers are driving in all types of weather, and they’ve had specialized training to be able to drive in both good and bad weather. If it’s strictly their word against yours, you will probably lose. If a CHP officer claims you were driving too fast for the conditions then you probably were.
If you’ve been injured by a speeding driver who is trying to use the basic speed law as a defense, you need expert legal representation. The lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have devoted their lives to helping injured people recover damages.
Learn more about California driving laws at California Motor Vehicle Codes.