Speed Limits

Texas Speed Limit Laws

Speed limits in Texas are governed by the Texas Transportation Code, Title 7: Vehicles and Traffic, Subtitle C: Rules of the Road, Chapter 545: Operation and Movement of Vehicles, Subchapter H: Speed Restrictions. All relevant laws and regulations regarding speeding and speed limits are found in this subchapter of Texas laws.

How fast can you drive in Texas, and what are legal speed limits in this state? Let’s do a brief overview of Texas speed limit laws.

Texas speed limit laws summary:

  • Urban district or street: 30 MPH
  • Alley, beach, or roads adjacent to beaches: 15 MPH
  • Numbered state or federal highway outside urban district: 70 MPH
  • Non-numbered highways outside urban districts: 60 MPH

Always watch out for local speed limit traffic signs! Our overview of Texas speed limits above is based on general state laws. Every municipality, county, town or even road can have specific regulations and restrictions. This is why you must always watch for traffic signs with posted speed limits which supersede these general rules.

Texas has the highest speed limits in United States, where some rural highways have up to 85 mph speed limits.

“Presumed” speed limits

Texas is one of very few states which uses a “prima facie” or “presumed” speed limits. This means you are permitted to drive above legal speed limits if conditions allow. For example, in case you are driving 35mph on a street with 30 mph limit and the road has very little or no traffic, you may drive faster than legal speed limits in Texas allow.

You can claim in court that you were still driving safe given conditions. It’s up to individual police officer to determine whether you were driving unsafely and whether to issue you a ticket. Generally speaking, you are unlikely to be issued a ticket for driving 5mph over the speed limit.

However, this should not be used as an excuse for reckless speeding. Fighting traffic tickets in court can be costly and often not worth the hassle, so it’s always best to adhere to legal speed limits.

Minimum speed limits

Texas Transportation Code (Sec. 545.363) regulates the following:

An operator may not drive so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

Furthermore, this Section also allows authorities to set specific minimum speed limits where needed. Where minimum speed signs are erected you must adhere to their posted limits.

Speeding Penalties

Driving over speed limit in Texas has different penalties and fines. First time violators are typically fined between $1 and $500, and their driver license may be suspended for no longer than one year.

Fines vary greatly depending on where you received the ticket. Here are usual fines in some of the largest cities in Texas:

  • San Antonio: driving over 10mph over speed limits results in a $166 fine, and additional $5 for every additional 1 mph above limits. For example driving 45 mph in a 30 mph zone will result in a $191 fine.
  • Austin: speeding ticket in Austin will set you back $143 for driving 5 mph or less over the limit, and up to $273 for 26 mph or more over the speed limit.
  • Houston: speeding fine in Houston is $165 when driving 5 mph or less over speed limit, and up to $300 for speeds greater than 30 mph over legal limits.

Additional surcharges or costs and driver license penalty points may also be issued.

Note that driving less than 5 mph over legal speed limit in Texas state is typically considered acceptable and you should not get a traffic ticket for it. This is a reasonable margin of error and most law enforcement officers will not pull you over for exceeding speed limits by less than 5 miles per hour.

All fines and penalties may increase in case you have been convicted with another speeding violation in the past. Additional traffic violations may also increase penalties.

Excessive speeds may get you in other legal trouble based on Street Racing Laws or Reckless Driving Laws. Driving 30 mph over legal or posted speed limits is often considered reckless driving, which can carry harsh fines and even prison sentences.

Sources and references:

  1. Texas Transportation Code, Title 7, Subtitle C, Chapter 545, Subchapter H: Speed Restrictions
  2. Texas Department of Transportation – Speed Limits
This article about Texas Speed Limit Laws was last updated in 2024. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!