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California Vehicle Code 22356 dictates maximum speed limits and helps regulate other laws. The legislation also pp for p prescribes penalties for particular violations of California speed limits and laws. It goes on to state that no motor vehicle user may drive on a California Highway at a speed above 70 miles per hour (mph). Because this statute is absolute, any violation is grounds for law enforcement to act. Specifically, California Vehicle Code 22356(b) has allowed the California Department of Transportation to increase the speed limit to 70 mph.

California’s Maximum Speed Limits Law:

California’s Basic Speed Limits Law

To ensure that motorists are operating their vehicles at a safe speed and in a safe manner on all streets, California utilizes what is known as the Basic Speed Law. The Basic Speed Law ensures that all California Drivers drive at a reasonable and safe speed on the highway. The Basic Speed Limit Law enforces the following highway driving regulations in California:

  • Typically, the maximum speed limit for California Highways is 65 miles per hour (mph)
  • On two-lane highways, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph unless a signpost indicates otherwise
  • The maximum speed limit for vehicles towing trailers or other vehicles is 55 mph

In addition to these regulations under the Basic Speed Law, California Vehicle Code also establishes and enforces the following speed limits regardless of postings:

  • At blind intersections, blind railroad crossings, and alleys, the maximum speed limit is 15 mph.
  • When children are present at parks, school zones, and areas where senior citizens reside, the maximum speed limit is 25 mph in residential and business districts.

Though California Vehicle Code 22356 allows California Officials to increase the speed limit beyond the Basic Speed Limit Law, it has not increased the Basic Speed Limit Law or amended the legislation for widespread application. Therefore, understanding the absolute ramifications of violating the newly amended vehicle code section will help protect drivers from facing unnecessary traffic tickets due to committing unintentional violations. Individuals should reference the California Driver Handbook for more information on the regulations enforced by the California Division of Motor Vehicles.

California Vehicle Code 22356

California Vehicle Code 22356 is a section of the California Vehicle Code only utilized when necessary. Specifically, legislators wrote 22356 into the vehicle code to allow the California State Department of Transportation and the Department of California Highway Patrol to increase the Basic Speed Limit by five (5) mph. These departments implement VC 22356 when they believe doing so would best serve drivers and exemplify the most orderly movement of vehicles on the new section of highway as possible.

California Vehicle Code 22356 allows the California State Department of Transportation and the Department of California Highway Patrol to increase the maximum speed limit to 70 mph for vehicles not subject to the regulations set forth by Vehicle Code Section 22406. Speed limit increases occur only so long as they continue following all federal policies and regulations. California Vehicle Code 22356 is an absolute policy. Absolute means that drivers who exceed the posted speed limit of 70 mph violate the law, and law enforcement may ticket them.

Penalties for violating the California Vehicle Code on Speed Limits:

The penalties for violating the California Vehicle Code vary based on the vehicle code section in which the violation appears. Most commonly, officers issue speeding tickets for violations of Vehicle Code Section 22356 (b) and Vehicle Code Section 22349(a). The speed of each violation classifies which code officers use. This classification subsequently outlines the penalties for each infringement. Further, each offense carries a different amount of Negligent Operator Points. Each section of the California Vehicle Code outlines the number of points.

Negligent Operator Points

A violation of the California Vehicle Code will carry a different number of points depending on the severity of the offense committed. These points are formally known as Negligent Operator Points (NOPs). In California, a point indicates the severity of the driving offenses committed on driving records. The California Department of Motor Vehicles must assign at least one NOP to crimes involving the unsafe use of any motor vehicle on state highways. If individuals reach more than four points in 12 months, they will have their license revoked. Receiving six points within two years and getting eight points within three years are also grounds for license suspension.

Vehicle Code 22356(b): Maximum Speed Limits

A violation of Vehicle Code 22356(b) carries one point in the state of California. Specifically, VH 22356b states that no driver in California may drive on a highway greater than 70 mph speed. This section of the vehicle code outlines the following penalties for speeding violations:

  • Exceeding 70 mph on a California Highway by going 1 – 15 miles over results in a $238 fine.
  • Breaking the speed limit by 16 – 25 mph over 70 mph results in a $367 fine.
  • Going 26 or more mph over 70 mph results in a minimum fine of $490.

Vehicle Code 22349(a): Maximum Speed Limits on the California Freeway

In California, the second most common vehicle code violation that officers penalize drivers for is Vehicle Code 22349(a). Section 22349(a) of the Vehicle Code outlines the penalties drivers face when they exceed 65 mph on a California Freeway. Though this 65-mph speed limit regulation may seem contradictory to drivers familiar with vehicle code 22365(b), it is vital to understand the difference between the two. Vehicle Code 22349(a) is responsible for regulating the speed of vehicles that the code does not specify in Vehicle Code 22356(b). The critical difference between the two is that Vehicle Code 22349(a) pertains to the legal speed of drivers on two-lane highways.

A violation of the vehicle code under 22349(a) will include the following penalties:

  • Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit of 65 mph by 1-15 mph will be liable for a $238 fine.
  • Offenders going 16 – 25 mph over the legal limit of 65 mph increases to $367.
  • More severe violations, where an officer cites the driver for going 26 mph or more over the posted 65 mph speed limit, will be liable for at least $490.

Statistically, drivers in California most often accrue tickets for speeding violations under Vehicle Code 22356(b) and Vehicle Code 22349(a). However, these are not the only speed violations a driver may receive. If you have been ticketed and are unsure of how to proceed, it is best to contact a licensed attorney before taking action against the ticket.


Can I take traffic school to lower my speeding ticket charge?

Yes. The State of California allows drivers who have been ticketed for a violation of Vehicle Code 22356 to attend traffic school to pay their fine and reduce their penalty. However, this option is not available to all drivers who violate the vehicle code. To qualify for a penalty reduction through the successful completion of traffic school, the ticket must only carry one point on the offender’s driving record. Violations with more than one point are not eligible for the penalty reduction through traffic school completion.

Do my insurance rates go up when I get a speeding ticket?

Yes. The amount that your insurance rates will increase after receiving a speeding ticket will depend on your insurance company, the policy you hold, and other factors such as your age and previous driving record. In California, the average increase is between 18% to 42% following a traffic ticket.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one have questions regarding California Speed limits and laws or need help with a vehicle code violation, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.

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