Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin’s traffic was lighter than normal in 2020. However, an increase in traffic-related fatalities despite fewer drivers on the roads drew attention to risky driving behavior throughout the state. In the first ten months of the year, police officers issued more than twice the number of citations for excess speed than they had the previous year.
Basic Speeding Law
Basic speeding laws in Wisconsin prohibit drivers from traveling at a speed “greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards.” This means drivers must always travel at a safe speed. What constitutes safe speed varies depending on circumstances, such as weather, road conditions, and even time of day. The speed limit in a school zone is particularly important because the lives of children are at stake.
Fixed or Absolute Limits
Wisconsin’s fixed speed limits are fairly simple. If you drive faster than the posted speed limit, even by 1 mph, you’ve broken the law. Unless otherwise posted, Wisconsin’s fixed limits are standardized throughout the state. Motorists are prohibited from driving faster than 15 miles per hour when passing a school building or driving through a school zone or crossing. Drivers should also remember that, regardless of the posted speed, vehicles should be operated at an appropriate speed for the current conditions.
Consequences for speed violations are dependent on circumstances, but typically the fines range between $30 and $300. For certain violations, the second ticket received in a year is subject to a fee of $80 to $600. In some situations, excessive speed in a school zone results in doubled fines.
Demerit points will also be posted to an individual’s driving record based on speed violations. Driving 10 mph over the limit results in 3 demerit points, 10-20 mph over the limit receives 4 points, and traveling 20 mph or more over the limit gets 6 points. Drivers are suspended when they’ve accumulated 12 points in a year.
If you receive a citation for driving in a school zone and you need assistance or more information, contact Sparr, Belville & Brown, LLC.