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There was no new law passed on April 11 stating that drivers in North Carolina can’t go 5 mph over the speed limit.
Like many other states, North Carolina follows absolute speed limits, which means that a person driving at any speed past the posted limit in an area is in violation of the law.
However, the state allows what’s known as basic law, which means that a person can drive at speeds that are reasonable and prudent under safe conditions.
A Facebook post warned North Carolinians to be aware of a new speed limit law.
"Just passed into law today: You cannot go five miles over speed limit in NC," the post read. "You can be stopped for one mile over posted speed limit!"
But pump the brakes — a majority of the Facebook users who responded to the post called it out for being misleading.
"Way to share improper information," wrote one user. "It is not a law, because the law already says you can’t speed."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
First it’s important to note: the North Carolina Legislature isn’t scheduled to convene until May 4, so there wouldn’t have been a law passed at this time.
There is an annual campaign underway from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program called "Speed a Little, Lose a Lot," aimed at curbing fast driving and raising awareness of the risks of speeding past the limit. "Law enforcement officers will step up enforcement of speeding motorists from April 11-17," a recent press release said.
But the campaign doesn’t say anything about a new law that bars drivers from going 5 mph over the speed limit. Lauren Horsch, spokeswoman for state Senator Phil Berger, confirmed this.
"Law enforcement has the authority to enforce speed limits, and enforcement decisions, like traffic stops, are within the discretion of the officer," Horsch said.
First Sgt. Christopher Knox of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety also debunked the claim.
"There has NOT been a change to North Carolina law with regards to speeding statutes, nor has there been any changes to our agencies enforcement of these laws," he wrote to PolitiFact. "The North Carolina State Highway Patrol issues citations or makes arrests only for definite, clear-cut and substantial violations of the law."
So what do the state’s speeding laws actually say?
North Carolina, like most other states, has absolute speed limits. For example, if a person is in a 35 mph zone but is driving at any speed faster than that, it’s a violation of a law.
With that being said, the state follows what’s known as "basic" speeding law, which stipulates that "no person shall drive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing." DrivingLaws.com explains it this way: a person can safely drive 55 mph on a clear, sunny day, but in conditions that are snowy and icy, that speed would be dangerous and could violate basic speeding law.
A Facebook post claimed that a new law was passed in North Carolina on April 11 that drivers could not go 5 mph over the speed limit, and could be stopped for going one mile over it.
No new law was passed stating this.
North Carolina, like other states, follows absolute law, which means that a person driving at any speed over the posted limit in an area is in violation of the law. However, it allows for basic law, which rules that a person can drive at a speed that is reasonable and safe under favorable conditions.
We rate this Facebook post False.
Facebook post, April 11, 2022
North Carolina General Assembly website, accessed April 13, 2022
North Carolina Department of Transportation, Speed a Little, Lose a Lot Campaign is April 11-17, April 11, 2022
WalletHub, Strictest And Most Lenient States on Speeding and Reckless Driving, Jul 5, 2018
North Carolina Legislature, Speed Restrictions, accessed April 13, 2022
Driving Laws, North Carolina's Speeding Laws and Penalties, accessed April 13, 2022
Interview with First Sgt. Christopher Knox, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, April 13, 2022
Interview with Lauren Lauren Horsch, spokeswoman for North Carolina state Senator Phil Berger, April 13, 2022
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