California Vehicle Code 22406 VC imposes a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour for drivers of trucks, buses and other specified vehicles, when upon a California freeway.
There are four important points to know about a truck driver speeding in California.
- There are legal defenses to fight a speeding charge; and, a truck driver accused of speeding can hire an attorney to contest a speeding ticket.
- The fine for a violation of Vehicle Code 22406 VC 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.
In the article below, our California personal injury attorneys will address:
- 1. Vehicle Code 22406 VC – the law on trucks speeding over 55 miles per hour
- 2. Legal defenses if accused of violating VC 22406
- 3. Penalties for trucks speeding over 55 miles per hour
- 3.2 Points on the truck driver’s DMV record
- 4. Violation of Vehicle Code 22406 VC and traffic school
- 5. Violation of VC 22406 and criminal charges
- 6. Ignoring a ticket for driving a truck over 55 miles per hour
- 7. Effect of a speeding violation on a personal injury lawsuit
- 8. Laws related to VC 22406
1. Vehicle Code 22406 VC – the law on trucks speeding over 55 miles per hour
California Vehicle Code 22406 sets forth the speed limit for trucks, buses and other specified vehicles traveling on a California highway. VC 22406 imposes a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour for commercial vehicles in California.
The section states:
No person may drive any of the following vehicles on a highway at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour:
(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 636.1
2. Legal defenses if accused of violating VC 22406
There are legal defenses if a motorist drives a truck over 55 miles per hour. It’s in the motorist’s best interests, though, to consult with an attorney before raising one.
2.1 Most common defenses for trucks speeding over 55 miles per hour
There are three common defenses if a person is accused of violating Vehicle Code 22406 VC. These include:
- Showing that you were driving at an excessive speed because of an emergency.
- The police made a mistake.
- The driver was falsely accused.
2.2 Fighting a violation of Vehicle Code 22406 when a radar is used
Police officers typically use radar devices to show that a driver was speeding. A strong legal defense then is showing that the radar device produced an inaccurate reading.
There are three ways to show this. These are:
- Showing that objects interfered with the radar beam (such as trees, trucks or other cars).
- Proving that the radar device was not calibrated properly.
- Demonstrating that the officer using the device did so incorrectly.
As to the first showing, note that a radar device measures speed by shooting out a beam at a target (here, a speeding truck). The width of this beam increases with distance. As it increases, it’s possible that the path of the beam will include other cars and objects. The result is that a truck might appear as traveling faster than it actually was.
2.3 Let an attorney help
Motorists can represent themselves when fighting a California speeding ticket. But, it’s recommended that anyone charged with this violation hire an experienced lawyer to represent them.
It’s advantageous to hire an attorney for three main reasons. These are:
- Prosecutors tend to offer better deals to defendants with lawyers.
- Defense attorneys are knowledgeable on how to get charge reductions and dismissals.
- Defendants with defense lawyers generally do not have to go to court.
3. Penalties for trucks speeding over 55 miles per hour
The possible consequences of a motorist driving a truck over 55 miles per hour on a California freeway include:
- Receiving a speeding ticket and paying a fine; and,
- Getting points assessed to the driver’s DMV driving record.
3.1 Ticket and fine
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, if a truck driver:
- 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.
3.2 Points on the truck driver’s DMV record
Violators of Vehicle Code 22406 will receive either 1 or 1.5 points on their DMV driving record.2 Points assessed on a motorist’s record are reported to that motorist’s insurance carrier. The result is typically an increase in the driver’s insurance rates for several years.
If a person accumulates a certain number of points within a 1-,2- or 3-year period in California, the DMV can declare that person a negligent driver. If this is done, the DMV can suspend or even revoke that person’s driving privileges. Either action requires a California DMV hearing.
4. Violation of Vehicle Code 22406 VC and traffic school
Motorists that violate Vehicle Code 22406 do not have to attend traffic school.
Truck drivers, though, can voluntarily choose to do so. Generally, you can go to traffic school if:
- You have a valid driver’s license;
- The offense occurred while driving a noncommercial vehicle; and,
- Your ticket is for an infraction that is a moving violation.
If a driver elects to go to traffic school, he must still pay his traffic fine.3 However, the driver generally should not get any points on his driving record if he completes the school.4
5. Violation of VC 22406 and criminal charges
It is not a crime if a truck driver speeds over 55 miles per hour on a California freeway.
These violations are infractions under California law and an offender is not subject to incarceration.
6. Ignoring a ticket for driving a truck over 55 miles per hour
Two things happen if a truck driver ignores a speeding ticket. These are:
- The driver violates a new law, Vehicle Code 40508 VC, for the failure to appear in court on a traffic citation; and,
- The driver may receive penalties for violating VC 40508.
6.1 Violation of Vehicle Code 40508 VC?
When you get issued a traffic ticket in California, the officer will have you sign a written promise to appear at the time and place specified.
If you willfully fail to appear as promised, you violate Vehicle Code 40508 VC.5 You willfully fail to appear when you are willingly a no-show. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t intend to break the law.6
Nor does it matter whether you’re guilty or innocent of the underlying traffic citation.7 You violate Vehicle Code 40508 just by breaking a promise to:
- Appear in court,
- Appear to pay bail,
- Pay bail in installments,
- Pay a fine within the time authorized, or
- Comply with any condition of the court.8
6.2 Penalties for violating Vehicle Code 40508 VC?
Violation of Vehicle Code 40508 VC is a misdemeanor. The penalties are:
- Up to six months in county jail, and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000.9
7. Effect of a speeding violation on a personal injury lawsuit?
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.
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.
8. Laws related to VC 22406
There are three laws related to trucks speeding over 55 miles per hour on California’s freeways. These are:
- California’s “speeding laws;”
- Reckless driving in California; and,
- California’s DUI laws.
8.1 California’s “speeding laws”
“Speeding laws” refers to those California laws that impose penalties on motorists if driving too fast. Some of these include:
- The basic speeding law
- Absolute speed limits
- “Prima facie” speed limits
- Driving over 70 miles per hour
- Speeding in a construction zone
- Excessive speed on a freeway
- Driving over 100 miles per hour
Penalties for violating these speeding laws typically include a fine and points assessed on the motorist’s DMV driving record.
As to fines, the exact amount of a speeding ticket will depend on the speed at which the driver was driving. The amount will also include a base fine, fees, and penalty assessments.
If a driver exceeds the speed limit, but wasn’t driving more than 100 miles per hour, then the base fine of a ticket will be:
- $35 if faster than the limit by 1 to 15 miles per hour
- $70 if faster than the limit by 16 to 25 miles per hour
- $100 if faster than the limit by 26 miles per hour
8.2 Reckless driving in California
California’s Reckless Driving law makes it a crime to drive with a wanton disregard for the safety of people or property.10
If no one other than the reckless driver is injured, violation of this law is a California misdemeanor. It can be punished at most by:
- Five to ninety days in jail, and/or
- A fine of between $145 and $1,000.11
But, the possible jail sentence and fine increase if the reckless driving causes an injury. In this case, the reckless driving can also get charged, but doesn’t have to, as a felony. This is where California’s reckless driving becomes a California “wobbler” offense.
8.3 California’s DUI laws
A truck driver in California may be speeding because the motorist was driving under the influence. If so, the DUI is treated as a separate offense.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is against the law in California. It’s against the law to:
Legal defenses to a California DUI charge do exist, but a California DUI lawyer is necessary to assert the right one on your behalf.
For additional help…
If you or someone you know has been cited for violating VC 22406, or has been injured in an accident in California, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
- California Vehicle Code 22406 VC.
- See DMV.org.
- See California Courts website.
- See same.
- California Vehicle Code 40508 VC.
- CALCRIM 2240, endnote 1: Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.
- See same.
- California Vehicle Code 40508 VC, endnote 1.
- California Penal Code 19 PC. Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by any law of this state, every offense declared to be a misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both.
- California Vehicle Code 23103 VC.
- Vehicle Code 23103(c) VC.