Speeding and Aggressive Driving

Speed Limits

Setting speed limits has traditionally been the responsibility of states, except for the period of 1973-1994. During that time, the federal government enacted mandatory speed limit ceilings on interstate highways and similar limited access roads through a National Maximum Speed Limit.

Congress repealed the National Maximum Speed Limit in 1995. Since then, 41 states have raised speed limits to 70 mph or higher on some portion of their roadway systems.

In many states, maximum speeds vary depending on vehicle type (car or truck), roadway location (urban or rural), or time of day. GHSA tracks state maximum speed limits for both urban and rural interstates, as well as other limited access roads.

In a few states, speed limits are not set by law.

Aggressive Driving

The term aggressive driving covers a range of unsafe driver behaviors. State laws define what constitutes aggressive driving and stipulate the related fines and penalties. Often, a driver must demonstrate more than one action to be considered aggressive.

To date, 15 states have addressed aggressive driving in their legislatures.

11 states have passed laws specifically defining aggressive driving actions.

  • California and Utah have amended existing reckless driving laws to include actions similar to those defined as "aggressive" by other states.
  • Pennsylvania has passed a resolution against aggressive driving.
  • New Jersey enforces agressive driving under existing laws.

Last Updated: 12/3/2018

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on speed limit or aggressive driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.

Short Term Description
GHSA tracks speed limits for both urban and rural interstates, as well as other limited access roads. In addition, GHSA tracks state aggressive driving laws, which cover a range of unsafe driver behaviors.

Is the American Autobahn next? How states are pushing highway speeds past the limit

A recent proposal in California would establish a speed limit-free autobahn on a stretch of road. GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins speaks to the dangers of increasing – or eliminating – speed limits.

Is the American Autobahn next? How states are pushing highway speeds past the limit

Story by Chris Woodyard
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Minnesota's move to raise speed limits on rural highways gets cheers, criticism

Story by Mary Lynn Smith
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Speeding can kill; more could be done to slow drivers down, study says

Story by Kristi King
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Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge

GHSA's latest spotlight report, "Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge," highlights excessive vehicle speed as a persistent contributor to motor vehicle fatalities, accounting for nearly a third of traffic deaths each year. The report takes a fresh look at this challenge, outlining the latest research, programming, and countermeasures to address speeding.

Download the Report

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GHSA's latest report on speeding highlights the role of Vision Zero concepts in reducing driver speed in a number of urban areas. Executive Director Jonathan Adkins addresses how these concepts are being applied and can be successful in Washington, D.C.

D.C. ranks second for rate of fatal speed-related crashes, group says

Story by Fredrick Kunkle
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