2017 North Dakota Century Code
Title 39 Motor Vehicles
Chapter 39-09 Speed Restrictions
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39-09-01. Basic rule - Penalty for violation.
No person may drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the
conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Consistent with
the foregoing, every person shall drive at a safe and appropriate speed when approaching and
crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a
curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and
when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or
highway conditions. Any person who drives a vehicle upon a highway or private or public
property open to the public for the operation of motor vehicles without heed to the requirements
or restrictions of this section has committed careless driving and must be assessed a fee of
Any person who, by reason of careless driving as herein defined, causes and inflicts injury
upon the person of an operator of snow removal equipment engaged in snow removal
operations or causes damage in excess of one thousand dollars to snow removal equipment
engaged in snow removal is guilty of an infraction.
As used in this section, "snow removal equipment" means a vehicle that is operated by a
person employed by or on behalf of an authority in charge of the maintenance of the highway to
perform winter maintenance snow and ice removal, including plowing, hauling away, salting, and
39-09-01.1. Care required in operating vehicle.
Any person driving a vehicle upon a highway shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent
manner, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and other conditions
then existing, and shall give such warnings as are reasonably necessary for safe operation
under the circumstances. No person may drive any vehicle upon a highway in a manner to
endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.
39-09-02. Speed limitations.
1. Subject to the provisions of section 39-09-01 and except in those instances when a
lower speed is specified in this chapter, it presumably is lawful for the driver of a
vehicle to drive the same at a speed not exceeding:
a. Twenty miles [32.19 kilometers] an hour when approaching within fifty feet [15.24
meters] of a grade crossing of any steam, electric, or street railway when the
driver's view is obstructed. A driver's view is deemed to be obstructed when at
any time during the last two hundred feet [60.96 meters] of the driver's approach
to such crossing, the driver does not have a clear and uninterrupted view of such
railway crossing and of any traffic on such railway for a distance of four hundred
feet [121.92 meters] in each direction from such crossing.
b. Twenty miles [32.19 kilometers] an hour when passing a school during school
recess or while children are going to or leaving school during opening or closing
hours, unless a lower speed is designated or posted by local authorities.
c. Twenty miles [32.19 kilometers] an hour when approaching within fifty feet [15.24
meters] and in traversing an intersection of highways when the driver's view is
obstructed. A driver's view is deemed to be obstructed when at any time during
the last fifty feet [15.24 meters] of the driver's approach to such intersection, the
driver does not have a clear and uninterrupted view of such intersection and of
the traffic upon all of the highways entering such intersection for a distance of two
hundred feet [60.96 meters] from such intersection.
d. Twenty miles [32.19 kilometers] an hour when the driver's view of the highway
ahead is obstructed within a distance of one hundred feet [30.48 meters].
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Twenty-five miles [40.23 kilometers] an hour on any highway in a business district
or in a residence district or in a public park, unless a different speed is designated
and posted by local authorities.
f. Fifty-five miles [88.51 kilometers] an hour on gravel, dirt, or loose surface
highways, and on paved two-lane county and township highways if there is no
speed limit posted, unless otherwise permitted, restricted, or required by
g. Sixty-five miles [104.61 kilometers] an hour on paved two-lane highways if posted
for that speed, unless otherwise permitted, restricted, or required by conditions.
h. Seventy miles [112.65 kilometers] an hour on paved and divided multilane
highways, unless otherwise permitted, restricted, or required by conditions.
i. Seventy-five miles [120.70 kilometers] an hour on access-controlled, paved and
divided, multilane interstate highways, unless otherwise permitted, restricted, or
required by conditions.
The director may designate and post special areas of state highways where lower
speed limits apply. Differing limits may be established for different times of the day
within highway construction zones which are effective when posted upon appropriate
fixed or variable speed limit signs.
Except as provided by law, it is unlawful for any person to drive a vehicle upon a
highway at a speed that is unsafe or at a speed exceeding the speed limit prescribed
by law or established pursuant to law.
In charging a violation of the provisions of this section, the complaint must specify the
speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven and the speed which this
section prescribes is prima facie lawful at the time and place of the alleged offense.
39-09-03. When local authorities may or shall alter maximum speed - Limits - Signs
1. Whenever local authorities in their respective jurisdictions, on the basis of an
engineering and traffic investigation, determine that the maximum speed permitted
under this title is greater or less than is reasonable and safe under the conditions
found to exist upon a highway or part of a highway, the local authority may determine
and declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereon which:
a. Decreases the limit at intersections;
b. Increases the limit within an urban district but not to more than fifty-five miles
[88.51 kilometers] per hour; or
c. Decreases the limit outside an urban district.
2. Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions shall determine by an engineering and
traffic investigation the proper maximum speed for arterial streets and shall declare a
reasonable and safe maximum limit thereon which may be greater or less than the
maximum speed permitted under this chapter for an urban district.
3. Any altered limit established as hereinabove authorized shall be effective at all times
or during hours of darkness or at other times as may be determined when appropriate
signs giving notice thereof are erected upon such street or highway.
4. Any alteration of maximum limits on state highways or extensions thereof in a
municipality by local authorities may not be effective until such alteration has been
approved by the director.
5. Not more than six such alterations as hereinabove authorized may be made per mile
[1.61 kilometers] along a street or highway, except in the case of reduced limits at
intersections, and the difference between adjacent limits may not be more than
ten miles [16.09 kilometers] per hour.
39-09-04. Alteration of maximum speed limits on state highways.
The maximum speed limits specified in section 39-09-02 may be altered on all or any part of
the state highway system by an administrative order by the director after a public hearing has
been held. Such determination must be based on engineering and traffic investigations with
primary consideration given to the establishment of reasonable and safe speeds, highway
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conditions, enforcement, and the general welfare. Speed limits established pursuant to this
section shall be effective only when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected and such
maximum speed limits may be declared to be effective at all times or at such times as are
indicated upon said signs. Differing limits may be established for different times of the day,
different types of vehicles, varying weather conditions, and other factors bearing on safe
speeds, which shall be effective when posted upon appropriate fixed or variable signs.
39-09-04.1. Special speed limitations.
1. No person may drive any vehicle equipped with solid rubber tires at a speed greater
than a maximum of ten miles [16.09 kilometers] per hour.
2. No person may drive a vehicle over any bridge or other elevated structure constituting
a part of a highway at a speed which is greater than the maximum speed which can be
maintained without hazard to such bridge or structure, when such structure is
signposted as provided in this section.
3. The director or other authority having jurisdiction may conduct an investigation of any
public bridge, causeway, or viaduct and if the director finds that such structure cannot
safely withstand the traveling of vehicles at the speed otherwise permissible under this
chapter, such director or other authority shall determine and declare the maximum
speed of vehicles such structure can withstand. The director or other authority shall
cause or permit signs to be erected and maintained at a distance of one hundred feet
[30.48 meters] from each end of such structure. Such signs must state the maximum
speed permissible over such structure. The findings and determination of the director
or other authority are conclusive evidence of the maximum speed which can be
maintained without hazard to any such structure.
39-09-05. Driving vehicle upon bridge, causeway, or viaduct at greater than maximum
Repealed by S.L. 1975, ch. 348, § 17.
39-09-06. Speed limitations inapplicable to whom - Liability of exempt driver for
The speed limitations provided for in this chapter do not apply to class A authorized
emergency vehicles. The exemptions provided for in this section do not protect the driver of any
such vehicle from the consequences of a reckless disregard of the safety of others.
39-09-07. Speed zones on state highways.
Whenever the director with respect to highways and the superintendent of the North Dakota
state highway patrol shall jointly determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic
investigation that the speed of vehicular traffic on a state highway is greater or less than is
reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at any intersection or other place or upon
any part of such highway to include streets within the corporate limits of any city, when such
streets have been designated as part of any state highway, said officials acting jointly may
determine and declare a reasonable and safe speed limit thereat not in excess of the maximum
prescribed by law, which shall be effective at all times or during hours of daylight or darkness or
at such other times as may be determined when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are
erected at such intersections or other place or part of the highway.
39-09-07.1. Speed zones - Reduction limitation.
Except for highway construction zones, no street, road, or highway in the state highway
system or any other township, county, or state road or highway may be posted in a manner
which reduces the maximum speed limit on the street, road, or highway by more than twenty
miles [32.19 kilometers] per hour between any two signs so posted in a speed zone. The
maximum speed limit reduction between any two signs posted in a highway construction zone
may not exceed thirty miles [48.28 kilometers] per hour.
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39-09-08. Regulation of speed control signs.
Repealed by S.L. 1975, ch. 349, § 41.
39-09-09. Minimum speed limits.
1. An individual may not drive a motor vehicle at a reduced speed so as to impede the
normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary
for safe operation or in compliance with law.
2. If the director and the superintendent of the highway patrol, acting jointly, or a local
authority within the authority's jurisdiction, determines on the basis of an engineering
and traffic investigation that slow speeds on any highway or part of a highway impede
the safe, normal, and reasonable movement of traffic, the director and superintendent
or the local authority may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which
an individual may not drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in
compliance with law, and that limit is effective when posted upon appropriate fixed or
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