California Commercial Vehicle Speed Limit Rules

May 12, 20 by Jorian Goes

California Commercial Vehicle Speed Limit Rules

Certain Commercial vehicles have a maximum speed of 55 mph on highways

These include:

(a) A motortruck or truck tractor having three or more axles or any motortruck or truck tractor drawing any other vehicle.

(b) A passenger vehicle or bus drawing any other vehicle.

(c) A schoolbus transporting any school pupil.

(d) A farm labor vehicle when transporting passengers.

(e) A vehicle transporting explosives.

(f) A trailer bus, as defined in Section 636.

California Commercial Speed Limits

The speed limit on many California highways is 65 mph, but you may go 70 mph when posted unless you are driving a truck with three or more axles or you are on an undivided highway, then the speed limit is 55 mph.

This differential speed limit has caused many problems across the state because of vehicles having to pass other vehicles that are limited to 55 mph on a freeway where most traffic is doing 65-70 mph

Another legal issue concern mainly those truckers coming to CA from another state for the first time and are unaware of the rules of the road.

Why do certain commercial vehicles have maximum speed restrictions on highways?

Big vehicles, especially commercial vehicles, are more prone to accidents and safety violations. By implementing a lower speed limit for these vehicles, officials are hoping to curb any high speed collisions and accidents that would typically cause great bodily injury or death. When driving near commercial vehicles, it is important to be aware that they may be driving at lower speeds due to these speed restrictions. When driving around these vehicles, you must be vigilant to avoid collisions due to their lower speeds.

What to do when driving a big truck, bus or towing a vehicle? Commercial drivers who are driving a big truck, bus, or towing a vehicle, they must stay in the right-hand lane or a lane that is specially marked and designated for slower vehicles. If commercial drivers in any of the above-mentioned vehicles are on a road with four or more lanes, they may only drive in the two right lanes.

If you’ve seen a big rig wreck in person or on the news you know the damage that they can cause, having the right lane restriction and 55 mph limit can help reduce these major accidents. There are complaints about it slowing down traffic merging on and getting off the freeway while these complaints are valid they seem to be a small inconvenience compared to the damage that can be caused by a speeding semi-truck.

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The fine for a violation of Vehicle Code 22406 can range from $285.00 to more than $500.00. A truck driver caught speeding over 55 miles per hour will receive either 1 or 1.5 points on his DMV record. You risk getting a negligent operator license suspension if you get 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months or 8 points in 36 months. Truck drivers cannot ignore California speeding tickets. This act will likely result in a charge of failure to appear, per California Vehicle Code 40508, which can be charged as a misdemeanor.

A driver that violates VC 22406 will receive a speeding ticket and must pay a corresponding fine. The exact amount of the ticket will depend on the speed at which the driver was driving.

For example:

A truck driver who speeds over 55 miles per hour on a California freeway, and thereby causes an accident, is likely to be found negligent in a personal injury lawsuit.

California law defines “negligence” as the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others. In the context of an auto accident, the negligent driver is at fault for the accident and may have to pay for any damages caused. Proving negligence in a personal injury case is sometimes difficult.

In California though, a driver is considered “negligent per se” if he violates a statute. Negligence “per se” is a legal theory in which negligence is presumed based upon a defendant’s violation of a statute or ordinance. This means a truck driver would be negligent per se if driving more than 55 miles per hour since he would be in violation of VC 22406.

Please note, however, that even if a truck driver is negligent per se, the driver may still be able to recover for any damages he incurs. This is because of California’s comparative fault laws.

  • Exceeds the speed limit by 1-9 miles per hour, a ticket will cost approximately $285.
  • Exceeds the speed limit by 10 or more miles per hour, a ticket will cost over $500.

Overall, the commercial vehicle speed limit of 55 miles per hour is intended to keep both commercial drivers and surrounding vehicles safe. Because of the size of commercial vehicles, the damage they can cause in an accident can be severe and cutting down their speed it thought to lessen the severity of these accidents.