Be aware of county road speed limits

By Shari Harris, Publisher

Phelps County recently posted a speed limit ordinance, passed in October 2016, on their webpage, www.phelpscounty.org. Phelps County Ordinance No. 2016-10-18 (1) states, “Speed limits on all county roads shall be 35 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.”

Missouri statutes set a speed limit of 50 mph for county roads, but also allow county commissions in second, third and fourth class counties to set their own limits, within an established range. Texas County has not adopted an ordinance establishing a speed limit, so the state limit of 50 mph continues to apply to county roads in Texas County.

The sections of Revised Statutes of Missouri, RSMo Section 304.010 pertaining to counties establishing their own speed limits are as follows:

“5. The county commission of any county of the second, third or fourth classification may set the speed limit or the weight limit or both the speed limit and the weight limit on roads or bridges on any county, township or road district road in the county and, with the approval of the state highways and transportation commission, on any state road or highway not within the limits of any incorporated city, town or village, lower than the uniform maximum speed limit as provided in subsection 2 of this section where the condition of the road or the nature of the area requires a lower speed. The maximum speed limit set by the county commission of any county of the second, third, or fourth classification for any road under the commission’s jurisdiction shall not exceed fifty-five miles per hour if such road is properly marked by signs indicating such speed limit. If the county commission does not mark the roads with signs indicating the speed limit, the speed limit shall be fifty miles per hour. The commission shall send copies of any order establishing a speed limit or weight limit on roads and bridges on a county, township or road district road in the county to the chief engineer of the state department of transportation, the superintendent of the state highway patrol and to any township or road district maintaining roads in the county. After the roads have been properly marked by signs indicating the speed limits and weight limits set by the county commission, the speed limits and weight limits shall be of the same effect as the speed limits provided for in subsection 1 of this section and shall be enforced by the state highway patrol and the county sheriff as if such speed limits and weight limits were established by state law.

“6. The county commission of any county of the second, third, or fourth classification may by ordinance set a countywide speed limit on roads within unincorporated areas of any county, township, or road district in the county and may establish reasonable speed regulations for motor vehicles within the limit of such county. No person who is not a resident of such county and who has not been within the limits thereof for a continuous period of more than forty-eight hours shall be convicted of a violation of such ordinances, unless it is shown by competent evidence that there was posted at the place where the boundary of such county road enters the county a sign displaying in black letters not less than four inches high and one inch wide on a white background the speed fixed by such county so that such signs may be clearly seen by operators and drivers from their vehicles upon entering such county. The commission shall send copies of any order establishing a countywide speed limit on a county, township, or road district road in the county to the chief engineer of the Missouri department of transportation, the superintendent of the state highway patrol, and to any township or road district maintaining roads in the county. After the boundaries of the county roads entering the county have been properly marked by signs indicating the speed limits set by the county commission, the speed limits shall be of the same effect as the speed limits provided for in subsection 1 of this section and shall be enforced by the state highway patrol and the county sheriff as if such speed limits were established by state law.”

For more information, you may access the full listing of Missouri statutes at www.revisor.mo.gov.

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