Can you break the speed limit in an emergency?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | Traffic Violations

In an emergency situation, the very last thing you may be worried about is the speed limit. You know that you need to get help or you need to get to another location, and you’re just going to do it as fast as possible. If that means driving 70 miles an hour in a 55-mph zone, so be it.

In fact, some people assume that they were allowed to do this. They think of the emergency as a reason that breaking traffic laws is permitted.

For instance, maybe you just got a phone call saying that one of your children had been injured at school. Or perhaps your spouse is having a child and you’re trying to rush to the hospital. You can see why you would prioritize these types of things and assume that you’re allowed to speed. But are you?

Breaking the speed limit is always prohibited

This is a bit of a tricky area because it does make sense that people would want to respond to an emergency quickly, but it’s important to remember that this doesn’t change the law. Going faster than the speed limit is prohibited in every single case, except for authorized emergency vehicles. You may be involved in an emergency, but that doesn’t mean you can just speed in your personal car and put other people in danger.

That being said, police officers understand how this happens. In some cases, the officer may give you an escort to your destination. They may pull you over and then let you off without a ticket. They can certainly have sympathy for you and make a decision in the moment.

But what is important to remember is that there’s no guarantee that this is going to happen. The officer has no obligation to allow you to speed and they certainly don’t have to refrain from giving you a ticket. They may tell you that they understand your position, but you still broke the law and you’re still going to get that ticket.

If something like this happens, then it is very important for you to understand all of the legal options at your disposal.