Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines in Georgia and South Carolina

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

(WRDW/WAGT) -- Georgia State Patrol and South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers are cracking down on speeding during a week-long speed enforcement initiative called "Operation Southern Shield" from Monday, July 17 to Sunday, July 23.

You may be wondering what the certain speed limits are on most roads in Georgia and South Carolina, and what fines you could face if you are caught speeding.

Georgia

Be mindful of the speed on roads all across the state, even if a speed limit isn't marked. Maximum driving speeds are determined based on the following general rules in Georgia unless otherwise posted.

NOTE: These are only general rules. Local jurisdictions, the Georgia Department of Transportation, or the Georgia Department of Public Safety may deem it necessary to adjust speed limits based on local conditions, whether temporary or permanent.

Speed Limits:


· Interstates in Rural Areas: 70 mph
· Interstates in Urban Areas / Multi-Lane Divided Highways: 65 mph
· State Roads / Other Roads: 55 mph
· Urban or Residential District: 30 mph
· Unpaved County Road: 35 mph

According to section 40-6-180 of Georgia vehicle code “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards than existing.”

There are also applicable laws that apply to drivers who drive well-under the speed limit.

According to section 40-6-184(a)(1) of Georgia vehicle code “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

Georgia vehicle code also states nobody should drive in the left lane of a highway with at least four lanes at less than the maximum speed limit, except when turning left. Slow traffic should stay in the right-hand lane.

What fines do I face if I am caught speeding?

If you're a first-time violator of the posted speed limit, you could face a fine between $25 and $500 depending on the county, and points on your license. Subsequent violations will result in increased fines and more points.

According to the Georgia DDS, the points range from 2 to 6 points. A driver with 15 points in a 24 month period will be suspended. The number of points each ticket is worth depends on the severity of the violation.

It is likely you can get no points on your license, if you are less than 15 mph over the posted speed limit or if you are convicted of driving 'Too Fast for Conditions.'

If you're convicted of a Super Speeder violation (75 mph or more on a two-lane road, or 85 mph or more on any road or state highway), you must pay the $200 Super Speeder fine on top of any other traffic ticket fines and court costs. You have 120 days from the notice date to pay it, and if you don't pay on time you face license suspension and a $50 reinstatement fee.

You could also face a year of jail time if you're speeding through a construction zone, and you could have your license suspended for up to five years.

Click here for the full point schedule posted by the GA Department of Driver Services

In accordance with O.C.G.A §40-5-86, licensed Georgia residents may request that DDS reduce the number of points assessed against their Georgia driver's license up to 7 points once every 5 years. To qualify for a Points Reduction, you must successfully complete a certified Driver Improvement (defensive driving) course and present the original certificate of completion to the DDS by mail or in person.

Section 5: Traffic Laws | eRegulations - Georgia

3 Click here to read more about Georgia's traffic laws.





South Carolina

Much like Georgia, you should pay attention to all posted speed limits across South Carolina and be mindful of the speed limit on road where it isn't marked. Maximum driving speeds are determined based on the following general rules in South Carolina unless otherwise posted.

NOTE: These are only general rules. Local jurisdictions, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, or the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division may deem it necessary to adjust speed limits based on local conditions, whether temporary or permanent.

Speed Limits:


· Interstates in Rural Areas: 70 mph
· Interstates in Urban Areas / Multi-Lane Divided Highways: 60 mph
· Two-Lane State Roads and Four-Lane Bypasses: 55 mph
· Urban or Residential District: 30 mph
· Unpaved County Road: 40 mph
· Urban Areas: 35 mph
· Central Business Districts: 30 mph (some 25 mph)
· Residential Areas: 30 mph

According to section 56-5-1520 of SC vehicle code, “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”

There are also applicable laws that apply to drivers who drive well-under the speed limit.

Sections 56-5-1560(a) and 56-5-1810(b) state “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic," and “A person driving at less than the normal speed of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.”

What fines do I face if I am caught speeding?

South Carolina traffic law states that it is uncommon for an officer to pull anyone over if they are going less than five miles an hour above the speed limit, HOWEVER it should be noted that technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.

If you're a first-time violator of the posted speed limit, you could face a fine up to $445 depending on the county, and points on your license. Subsequent violations will result in increased fines and more points. You could also be sentenced up to 30 days of jail time and have your license suspended up to 6 months.

South Carolina's point system operates slightly differently, however. According to the SCDMV, your license will be suspended if you accrue 12 points or more on your driving record, and the DMV may allow you to take a defensive driving course.

Much like Georgia, how many points you receive on your license varies on the severity of the traffic offense. For example, if you speed no more than 10 mph, you'll get 2 points; over 10 mph but under 25 will give you 3 points; and 25 mph or over will give you 6 points. You can also accrue points for traffic violations such as making an illegal u-turn (4 points), following another vehicle too closely (4 points), and failure to yield (4 points).

For the complete point schedule, take a look at South Carolina's code of motor vehicle laws.

How do I clear the points?
SCDMV will remove half of the points one year after the conviction date. If your record shows multiple traffic tickets, each reduction will correspond to the date that each ticket was posted—they will NOT be grouped together.

To remove points sooner, you can enroll in a defensive driving course. By successfully completing a course, you can remove points from your South Carolina driving record. You can only take one driving course for point reduction every three years.

Click the below link to learn more about South Carolina's traffic laws:
Code of Laws Title 56 Motor Vehicles



How can I contest a speeding ticket?


You can fight a speeding ticket in both Georgia and South Carolina, however it is difficult to do so. In order to do that, you must go to court and claim your innocence based on one of the following conditions:

- You oppose the speed determination. In order to claim this defense, you must know how your speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.

- You can claim an emergency situation caused you to break the speed limit, in order to prevent injury or damage to yourself or others.

- You can claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it is theoretically possible that they could have made a mistake and pulled the wrong car over.

To find out more about Georgia and South Carolina's traffic laws, visit their respective DMV websites. You can also find out possible "speed traps" in our local area using the resource attached to this story.