Speed limits are probably the last thing that comes to mind when traveling to an awesome and iconic place such as the U.S. state of New York. However, the state’s traffic authority sets out clear guidelines that must be followed in order to avoid getting a speeding ticket, points added to your license and subsequent insurance, or, worse, jail time!

If you are moving to New York from another state, visiting or relocating from another country, or simply driving through the state, understanding the New York state speed limits extremely useful knowledge to have.

New York speed limits

Knowledge of the correct speed limits in New York is not only about avoiding punishment. It is also about driving safely on the roads to prevent accidents. Driving within the speed limit helps reduce the possibility of crashes and promotes efficient use of the road.

Traffic laws, including New York state speed limits and other motor vehicle-related laws, are established by the New York Department of Transportation. They are defined by two different types of speed limits, basic speeding law, and absolute speed limits.


The basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the current conditions and hazards. This means that motorists must always drive at a safe speed for the conditions and environment they are driving in.

An example would be that if you were driving on a 55 mph road on a windy, dark, and snowy evening, you would be required to slow down the speed to significantly less than the signed speed limit of 55 mph. This is because the weather and road conditions would be considered dangerous, and if you were caught driving at the signed limit, you will likely be slapped with a fine.

New York State Speeding Laws

The absolute New York state speed limits are what you see signposted. Essentially, what you see is what you get. If the weather conditions are good and safe, you may go at the maximum signposted speed limit. Surpassing the limit will again, likely cost you in fines.

The various absolute speed limits include

  • 25 mph is the speed limit in school zones.
  • 45 mph is the speed limit in residential areas.
  • 55 mph is the maximum speed limit for undivided roads.
  • 55 mph is the maximum speed limit for divided roads.
  • Urban highways in New York are 55 mph.
  • Rural highways in New York are 65 mph (trucks included).

When driving through residential areas, something to be aware of is schools, hospitals, and construction zones (on the interstate) as these areas often have temporarily lowered speed limits and enforce these limits very strictly. You don’t want to receive a hefty fine for not being aware of the New York State speeding laws.

Speed Limits in New York

One thing you do not want to receive when driving on New York roads is a speeding ticket! Surpassing the basic New York state speeding laws will carry fines between $45 to $100, and you could face up to 15 days in jail.

The majority of absolute speed limit violations in New York will carry between $45 and $600 fine depending on the severity of the offense, and/or up-to 30 days in jail. The exact amount you will be fined and the possible jail time is totally dependant on the circumstances, including the speed, location, and multiple offenses!

Violating the absolute speed limit in school zones will result in a much bigger penalty, for example, the maximum fine for speeding in a school zone is doubled from $600 to $1,200, with up to 30 days in jail still being a possibility!

There is not much to say when it comes to the point system in New York, if you speed and get caught, you will receive a fine and also be subject to points being added to your license, which, in turn, can result in license suspension for accumulating too many points over a certain period of time.

Typically, you will have at least three points added to your license and record if you abuse the New York state speeding laws.

When visiting or relocating your family to the bustling state of New York, it is normal to have your mind focused on fun things to do. Knowledge of the speed limits in New York – and adhering to them – will ensure your time is well spent and minimize the chance of you being fined or getting into an accident.