Switching State Lines – How are Driving Laws Affected?

If you live on the border with another state, you probably often find yourself driving across the state border to go into work, eat at your favorite restaurant or attend a sporting event (along with many other activities).

While for many they view themselves as living the best of both worlds, driving and traffic laws are not imposed by the federal government, and actually vary from state to state. “In fact, there are 15 states that have laws addressing aggressive driving behavior,” says Thomas Bumgardner with the Bumgardner Law Firm.Failure to obey and drive by a state’s definition of an appropriate driver can result in a ticket and a heavy fine.” Below are the definitions of aggressive driving for several of the surrounding states:

Aggressive Driver Actions Defined by Statute

Georgia: Intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person, while doing one or more of the following: overtaking and passing another vehicle; violating traffic lane markings; following too closely; violating signal, lane change, slowing or stopping laws; impeding traffic flows; reckless driving.

North Carolina: Speeding and driving carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others while committing at least two of the following violations: running a red light or stop sign, illegal passing, failing to yield right of way, following too closely.

South Carolina: No law is in place.

Tennessee: No law is in place.

Virginia: Is a hazard to others with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person while committing at least one of the following: failure to drive on the right side of highway, driving outside of marked lanes, following too closely, failure to yield or stop before entering roadway, failure to obey traffic control device, passing when overtaking a vehicle, passing on right, failure to yield right of way, speeding, stopping on a highway.

How Strict is the Speed Limit?

A 55 mph speed limit sign under a bright blue sky, joined by a lonely cloud cluster.

Speed limits differ per state as well as by type of road you are driving on. The speed limit for a rural highway tends to be slightly higher than an urban highway, which will be slightly lower. Limited access roads have a separate speed limit as well.

How strictly the speed limit is followed depends per state. Oklahoma has slightly looser speed limit laws, specifically that driving 10 mph+ is not reportable. While on the other hand, Virginia and New York have some of the harshest driving laws in the United States. A driver speeding more than 11 MPH over the speed limit can be issued a 15 day jail sentence.

“Driving is an almost universal activity, yet it’s laws vary all over the world. The driving and speeding laws change according to the geography of the region you are driving through, the population density of the county or town and the precedents and values of the area,” says Bumgardner.

Around 30% of states, including the District of Columbia, have speed cameras to automatically catch and fine speeding drivers.

Speed Limits on Urban Highways

A smart driver should review the speed limits for any of the states he or she would be driving through. When traveling this summer to visit family or to take a vacation, don’t get caught going the wrong speed when switching states:

Graphic illustrating the speed limit for each state.
If you feel that the traffic citation was improperly given to you, or that you are innocent of the charges, we can help you fight the traffic ticket and defend your rights.

Call us today at 704-887-4981 and schedule a free consultation.  Be sure to bring all of your paperwork and correspondence with you to your meeting.  There is strength in numbers.