California Vehicle Code § 22349 b VC makes 55 miles per hour the default speed limit on two-lane, undivided highways unless a higher or lower speed limit is posted. Two-lane, undivided highways have only one travel lane in each direction. On other highways, the default speed limit is 65 mph unless there is a different speed limit posted.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
22349b VC. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person may drive a vehicle upon a two-lane, undivided highway at a speed greater than 55 miles per hour unless that highway, or portion thereof, has been posted for a higher speed by the Department of Transportation or appropriate local agency upon the basis of an engineering and traffic survey. For purposes of this subdivision, the following apply:
(1) A two-lane, undivided highway is a highway with not more than one through lane of travel in each direction.
(2) Passing lanes may not be considered when determining the number of through lanes.
California Vehicle Code 22349 b VC sets the speed limit on two-lane, undivided highways at 55 mph unless there is a sign posted by the Department of Transportation indicating a different limit. A two-lane, undivided highway is a road with only one through lane in each direction. Passing lanes do not count as through lanes.1
This default 55 mph speed limit on two-lane, undivided highways is slower than the default speed limit on other highways. Under 22349 a VC, the speed limit on other highways is 65 mph unless there is a sign indicating otherwise.2 For instance, many California highways have speed limits as low as 55 mph or as high as 75 mph. And of course, speed limits reduce on exit ramps.
Speeding over 55 mph is typically an infraction, punishable by a civil fine and a point on the driver’s DMV record. Common defenses to speeding charges are that there was an emergency situation that justified the speeding, that the police’s radar equipment was inaccurate, or that the defendant was in an area with a higher speed limit than the default limit.3
- California Vehicle Code 22349 b VC – Maximum speed limit; Two-lane undivided highways. See also People v. Diaz (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 2005), 125 Cal. App. 4th 1484 and People v. Dragomir (Cal. App. Nov. 7, 2005), 136 Cal. App. 4th Supp. 1.