The posted speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph. A few highways in California allow vehicles to drive up to 70 mph. Despite this, most trucks are required to drive at slower speeds.
According to the California Vehicle Code, a truck with three or more axles may not drive more than 55 mph on a California highway. This law applies to all California highways, even if a separate truck speed limit is posted on the highway.
Truck Lanes in California
Additionally, any vehicle limited to 55 mph on a California highway may also be limited to what lanes it can drive in. Many California highways have posted truck lanes.
A designated vehicle must use that lane for travel in any section of the highway with a posted truck lane. These vehicles may also use the lane immediately to the left of a truck lane — but only to safely pass another vehicle.
Why Are Trucks Limited to 55 MPH?
The lower speed limit for commercial vehicles with three or more axles exists because trucks are more dangerous at high speeds. High-speed truck accidents are likely to result in fatalities or serious injuries, especially when a truck collides with a smaller vehicle. California laws are designed to minimize truck accidents.
What Are the Penalties for Violating Truck Speed Limits?
The state of California takes it seriously if you violate truck speed limits. If a truck driver is ticketed for exceeding the speed limit, the driver will receive points on their DMV record and a fine. The points and fines will depend on how excessively the trucker was speeding.
The points are meaningful because your license gets suspended if you get more than four points in a year, six points in two years, or eight points in three years.
Furthermore, suppose that a driver gets into an accident while exceeding the speed limit. In that case, they are considered negligent, which will negatively affect them if civil action is taken due to that accident.
Not All Commercial Trucks Are Limited to 55 MPH
Many commercial vehicles have two axles or fewer. As long as those vehicles aren’t farm labor vehicles, towing another vehicle, or transporting explosives, they can drive at the regularly posted speed limit rather than the alternate truck speed limit.
Smaller commercial trucks don’t present the same danger as larger commercial vehicles. Thus they are permitted to drive on California highways at higher speeds.
What to Do If You Get Ticketed for Speeding in a Commercial Vehicle
As with any speeding ticket, you have the right to fight your ticket in court. But if you choose not to fight the ticket, you should pay it immediately. Unpaid tickets are usually charged as a failure to appear and will result in a misdemeanor charge.
If the ticket would result in your license being suspended, you should contact an attorney. An attorney will cost more than the fine but may be able to keep you from losing your license, which would seriously affect your livelihood.
When Should a Commercial Truck Drive Slower on California Highways?
If you drive a commercial truck on a highway, there are times you should drive slower than the top speed of 55 mph.
Slow down when:
- It is foggy
- The roads are slick
- Roads aren’t well lit
- Other drivers are driving dangerously
- Vehicles are parked on the edge of the road
Slowing down will make highway driving safer for you and nearby travelers.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.
Other Truck Accident Cases We Cover
- Tractor-trailer tire blowout
- FedEx and UPS truck accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Truck driver drug and alcohol use
- Lost load accidents