Speed limits are not arbitrarily imposed on drivers. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, they are a reflection of the reasonable and safe behavior that most drivers display as they go about their daily activities.
Governments at the local, state and federal level have the authority to set speed limits on roads within their jurisdiction. Statutory speed limits are in force where there are no other posted speed limits.
What are statutory speed limits?
The legislative body of each individual state has the authority to set statutory speed limits on different types of roads. Posted speed limits supersede statutory speed limits, but statutory speed limits apply where there are none posted.
What are the statutory speed limits in Arizona?
Statutory speed limits are speeds that, according to the Arizona State Legislature, are reasonable and prudent on certain types of roads. Specific statutory speed limits in Arizona are as follows:
- 25 miles per hour in a residential or business district
- 15 miles per hour at a school crossing
- 65 miles per hour on all other roads
When do statutory speed limits not apply?
If there is a posted speed limit that is higher than the statutory speed limit for a given road, the posted speed limit takes precedence. Otherwise, statutory speed limits do not apply where there are actual or potential hazards that make it reasonable and prudent to maintain a lower speed.
Examples of hazards in which a speed lower than the statutory limit would be reasonable and prudent include winding or narrow roadways, curves, hillcrests and railroad crossings or intersections. Weather conditions may also make a lower speed reasonable and prudent, as can the presence of pedestrians.
Sometimes a government body will post a lower speed limit in response to a specific hazard. If not, the expectation is that drivers will use their judgment and moderate their speed in response to the hazard. Failure to do so may result in a traffic violation.