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New Year, Potential New Laws: Does It Mean You Need Check Your Auto Policy? And List of State by State Speed Limits for Rural & Urban Interstates with Automated Enforcement

Each New Year brings with it dozens of new laws going into effect in every state.

When it comes to driving laws and minimum requirements, you‘ll want to be sure that any new legislation going into effect in your state doesn’t make your current policy obsolete or leaving you inadequately protected.

While this is by no means an exhaustive survey of some new laws that may impact you and your car insurance, here are a few highlights of some proposed new 2018 laws that could impact the way you drive and the coverage you may need.

Speed Limits by State with Laws & Statutes Included

While you want to know about changes to driving laws it is good to review your state’s speed limits. Below is a table of each state with the maximum speed limit for rural and urban interstates. Included is the speed for a reckless driving conviction plus laws and statues for each state.

StateSpeed Limit (mph)Reckless Driving (mph)*Urban interstates
Automated Enforcement**Law / LawsComments
65Red light and speed 32-5A-190, 32-5A-171
Alaska 65
55None 28.35.040,13 AAC 002.275
See also Alaska Statutes, Alaska Administrative Code.
Arizona75 85 / +20
65Red light and speed 28-693, 28-701, 28-701.02
Driver License Manual. Bills to raise speed limits have failed. A bill to reduce penalties for speeding passed in early 2015.
75 +15
75None27-50-308, 27-51-201
Motor Vehicle Information

70 (Trucks 55)10065 (Trucks 55)Red light VC §§22348(b), 22352
Driver Handbook.
State Law prohibits certain kinds of speed traps.

65Red light and speed42-4-1101, 42-4-1401, 42-4-1402
Title 14, Driver's Manual.
55Red light 21-4168, 21-4175
21-701(c) limits local police authority on state highways
District of Columbia
503055Red light and speedDC Code 50-2201.04
Point System
65Red light 316.192, 316.183, 316.187
318.18(3)(b) requires warnings for speeding 5 or less over the limit outside a school zone. Driver Handbook
70Red light 40-6-390, 40-6-180 to 189
6 points for +35, 0 for driving too fast for conditions (40-5-57). No fine for speeding five MPH or less over the limit:
"super speeder" surcharge for high speeds.
Hawaii 6080 / +30
60None 291-2, 291C-101, 291C-102
+15 punished as speeding but is worth 3-6 points, the same as reckless driving. Since January 1, 2007 +30 or 80 is a misdemeanor with a requirement for 2-5 days in jail or 36 hours of community service.

Idaho 80 (Trucks 70)
75 (Trucks 65)None 49-1401,
Point System.
Interactive map including speed limits.
Illinois 70+30
55Red light and speed625 ILCS 5/11-503,
Illinois Compiled Statutes,Rules of the Road manual.
55None 9-21-5,
Driver's License manual. Purdue Traffic Speed Data.

Iowa 70 +25
55Red light and speed 321.277,
Driver's Manual.
License suspension possible for +25.
Traffic And Safety FAQ.
Kansas 75 75None8-1558, 8-1566
Kansas Statutes.
Speeding less than 10 over in a 55-75 zone doesn't go on a driver's record (8-1560d and 8-1560c).
Kentucky70 +26
65None 189.290, 189.390
Point system (regulations allow 90 day suspension for 26 or more over the limit). Out of state speeding tickets don't count (186.570(5)). 70 mile per hour speed limits went into effect in 2007.
70Red light and speed §§32:61-32:64
OMV. In April, 2011 DoTD announced that the I-49 speed limit would increase to 75.
Maine 753075None 29A §2413,
29A §2074
Many 60-70 zones in southern part of state.
70Red light and speed 21-801.1,
Point system is16-402, 16-404.
Massachusetts 65 65None Ch. 90 §17,
Ch. 90 §24
Online driving manual.
70 70None 257.626,
Driving publications and forms
Minnesota7010065None 169.14,
Speed limit maps.
Speeding cars lose the right of way at intersections, 169.20. Six month license revocation for speeding over 100 miles per hour, 171.17(10).
Mississippi70 70None63-3-501,
Missouri70 +20
60Red light and speed 304.010,
Showing their priorities, Missouri law puts the "director of revenue" in charge of the license point system. Driver's Guide.
Montana75 65None 61-8-301,
Road Conditions
75 65None 60-6,213,

Nevada75 65None 484.377, 484.361
New Hampshire 65 65None 265:79,
70 on I-93 north of Concord. 30 over the limit while drunk is aggravated DUI.
New Jersey65 55None 39:4-96, 39:4-98
20 over the limit is an aggravating factor in a fatal accident (39:5-30(b)(1) and (e)(1)). Point system. Driver's Manual.
New Mexico75 +2675Red light and speed 66-8-113, 66-7-301
+26 in a residential zone or while also exceeding 75 MPH is 8 points, for which a license may be suspended. No points for speeding in rural areas (more than two miles from corporate limits), except for heavy trucks.
New York65 +30
65Red light and speed Traffic law §1180,
The law permits a 15 day jail sentence for 11 MPH over the speed limit. State police traffic stops by marked cars only. Bicycle laws.
North Carolina70 80 / +15
70Red light 20-16.1,
Driver's Handbook. Mandatory 30 day suspension for +15
North Dakota75 +36
75None 39-08-03, 39-09-02
Road conditions.
+36 in a 70 or 75 MPH zone or +46 elsewhere is 12 points, enough for a 7 day license suspension. A 2005 bill to allow 60 MPH speed limits on county roads did not pass.
Ohio 70
65Red light and speed 4511.20, 4511-21
Marked car law, 4549-13. Speed zoning policy.
70None 47-11-901,
Tickets for less than 10 over the limit are not reported (47-18-101(B)(2)).
Oregon65 85 /+30
55Red light and speed 811.109, 811.140
Embracing another while driving is illegal, 811.190. Driver Manual, Speed zoning information, speed zoning manual. Oregon DOT decided not to implement a law allowing Interstate speed limits to be raised to 70.
70Red light75 §3362, 75 §3736
Most Interstates are still 65.Driver's Manual. PA Turnpike speed limit standards. Mandatory license suspension for +11 in a work zone.
Rhode Island65
55Red light 31-14
South Carolina70 +25
70None 56-5-11
South Dakota80
Driver License Manual, Point System (no points for speeding). Senate Bill 208 allowing 70 MPH speed limits on the state's few rural four lane non-Interstate highways, has been signed by the Governor.
Tennessee70 70Red light and speed 55-10-205, 55-8-152
Driver License Handbook. The Point System goes up to 8 points for 46 or more over the limit.
Texas 75 75Red light Transportation Code §545.352,
Speed zoning rules. Speed limit is 80 on I-10 and I-20 through most of West Texas and 85 on one toll road.
80 65None 41-6a-601,
It is a crime to disable an airbag, or not to repair a deployed airbag, 41-6a-1624.
55None 23/1091,
Driver License Manual,
Point System.

7080 / +20
70Red light46.2-862,
Failure to use turn signals is reckless driving. Speeding cars lose the right of way at intersections, 46.2-823. In recent years some judges have started sending people to jail for driving 90+ on an Interstate. Point system.
70 60Red light and speed 46.61.500,
The law defining speeding to be reckless driving is not enforced. Online Driver's Guide. As in Oregon, "embracing another while driving" is illegal (reckless driving, 46.61.665).
West Virginia70
55None 17C-5-3, 17C-6
Chapter 17C. Point system.
65 +25
70None 346.57, 346.62
Chapter 346 [PDF format, 328 KB]. 15 day license suspension for speeding +25 over a 55/65 MPH speed limit. Speeding +20 is 6 points, the same as DUI; see point system page.
Wyoming80 75None31-5-301, 31-5-229

*States with no speed criteria for reckless driving. You want to review your state laws and statues for reckless driving criteria.

**Automated enforcement refers to the use of cameras to enforce traffic safety laws.


One new law extends the statute-of-limitations on filing claims on hit-and-run collisions that cause serious permanent injury or death. The timeline has been extended from three years to six years.

Under another new law, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any electronic wireless communications devices to read, write or send a text-based communication while driving (even if it features a hands-free option.)


The fines for “distracted driving” have substantially increased in this state for 2018. There have also been some changes to the definition.

Drivers can no longer use a cellphone in their car when they are temporarily stopped in traffic due to excessive congestion, construction zone delays, weather events or other road conditions that may stop traffic flow.

Percentage of Incidents causing teens distracted driving.

Note: As illustrated, the most common distraction for teenagers is interacting with a passenger in the vehicle. Followed by cell phone, looking in the car, etc. This is a study done by AAA. One thing to note is the study was conducted on an individual basis or only one distraction. It did not include a combination of distractions such as interacting with a passenger and talking on the phone at the same time for example.


Drivers there can blow the pipes out a little more since the state’s speed limit increased to 70 mph from 65 mph.


Drivers in this state over the age of 72 are now required to update driving licenses every two years. In the past, licenses could be purchased that were valid for up to eight years and drivers under the age of 72 can still pay extra for a long-term license.

New Hampshire

New laws in this state include a new law requiring anyone driving with passengers under the age of seven to ensure that these children are properly fastened and secured by a child-restraint system (unless the child is at least 57 inches tall.) 

The previous thresholds were required child-restrain systems for children age six and younger or at least and 55 inches tall.


Drivers can no longer smoke in their car if there are passengers under the age of 18 riding along. (The state prohibits smoking entirely for anyone under the age of 18.)

The state has also increased the penalties for driving while talking on a hand-held cellphone, for distracted driving, and for texting and driving.

Comparing 5 states with mobile phone tickets and raising an auto premium.

Note: The graph illustrates the increase cost of an auto policy when convicted in some states while using a mobile phone and driving. As states, such as Oregon, increase the penalties for distracted driving the insurers are likely to increase the cost of a premium. In some states the increase of your premium could be as much as 20% or more.


Law makers have a Bill in place for drivers who fail their driving exam. If so, the will have to take an abbreviated driver-training course before their next attempt.

There is a proposed Bill for drivers under the age of 18 to hold a permit for 1 year instead of 6 months. Lawmakers are expecting the Bill to clear the Ohio House and Senate by December 2018.

Below are staggering statistics of teen drivers. Probably one of the primary reason for enacting such Bills.

Death TypeTeen crash deathsCrash deaths for all ages% Teen crash deaths of all crash deaths
Passenger vehicle occupant2,14822,54310
All-terrain vehicle riders4132413

Source –

In 2014, if you live and drive in Ohio, check your policy’s liability limits. For the first time since 1969, the state has upgraded the minimum required levels of liability licensed drivers need to carry.

The previous limits were 12.5/25/7.5. Starting in 2014, the minimum liability levels a licensed driver must have in force are 25/50/25.

Below is another table of staggering statistics of male and female teen drivers. The data is for 13 to 19 year old teens from the year 2000 to 2015. There is data from 1975 and the amount of teen crashes have steadily declined since then. As of 2015, teenagers accounted for approximately 7% of all automobile accidents. 


Source – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety


In December 2018, .05 BAC will become the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving in the state of Utah. It will be the only state to follow the recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report.

Table of Drunk Driving Statistics

Below is a table of data of drunk driving fatalities. Included is the number of deaths throughout the United States, each state, and male/female statistics.

The data is separated by ages 0 to 20, 21 to 34, and 35+. The data below is an eye opener since in some states there is a 10 percent chance of a fatality. Which is staggering.

StatePrevalence (%)*Fatalities: TotalFatalities by Age: 0-20Fatalities by Age: 21-34Fatalities by Age 35+Fatalities by Age: All AgesFatalities: MaleFatalities: Female
United States1.9119,1001.
Colorado1.91,702 5.622.53.91.1
Delaware2.7427  43.86.6 
District of Columbia1.8124      
Nebraska3.4682 6.53.546.4 
New Hampshire1.4399 
New Jersey1.51,816
New Mexico1.21,254
New York1.43,7520.
North Carolina1.44,1021.7844.26.81.7
North Dakota3.3502 15.31211.317.4 
Rhode Island2.4308   2.3  
South Carolina1.63,8702.814.27.67.612.33.2
South Dakota 2.5537   5.77.4 
Vermont1.8212   3.4  
Washington2.11,921 422.13.60.7
West Virginia0.71,092 
Wyoming2.2506 17.3 7.111.3 

Source –

Final Thoughts

Your state may have passed new laws that will impact how you drive and as a result, the type of coverage you’ll need going into the New Year or any for that matter.

Your agent should be contacting you if there are state laws that will impact your policy, its coverage options or the limits you have in place for those options.

If your agent hasn’t, and any of these (or other) new state laws apply to you, that could be a sign that it’s time for a new agent. It could be an excellent time for you to take a moment and compare premium options.

You may find better rates and better service.

Jeffrey Davidson

Jeffrey Davidson

Jeffrey Davidson is a writer and communications consultant with more than 25 years of experience working with insurers. He currently writes about policy products and services for Reply!. You can find his article on other signs and considerations for changing your premium.

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