Answer: Maybe. It depends on the state traffic laws and the circumstances, such as the speed limits, the road conditions, and whether there are people around.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Is It Illegal To Accelerate Fast? (Discussion)
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Exhibition of Speed Laws
Accelerating fast is also called ‘exhibition of speed’ or ‘exhibition of acceleration.’
Exhibition of speed is often associated with speed racing.
Some states do not have specific laws against exhibition of speed, while others regulate unreasonable acceleration with existing driving regulations like reckless driving, careless driving, reckless endangerment, and disorderly conduct.
California’s exhibition statute states that it is illegal to accelerate at a rate of speed that is dangerous to show off or make an impression on someone else. (CVC 23109(c)).
Florida’s exhibition statute prohibits acceleration for the purpose of making a speed record. (Florida Statutes 316.191(2)(a)).
Regardless of where the driving occurs, the state has some law that can apply to exhibition of speed (fast acceleration).
What Constitutes Illegal Exhibition of Speed?
If the state has an exhibition of speed statute focused on speed racing, accelerating to race or break a record is illegal.
But even if the acceleration was not part of a speed racing event, the acceleration can be considered illegal if the circumstances warrant it.
Circumstances that might attract the police officer’s attention and result in a citation include:
- accelerating quickly when the traffic is heavy, moving slow, or stopped
- accelerating quickly just to impress a passenger or people on the side of the road
- accelerating quickly in an area where there are a lot of people on foot in the road, or on the side of the road
- accelerating quickly in a neighborhood where there are a lot of parked cars on the side of the road
- accelerating quickly in a school zone, in front of a school, or when they are children nearby
- accelerating quickly when the speed limit is very low/slow
- accelerating quickly when the road conditions are slippery (wet, icy, snowy, hail, freezing rain)
- accelerating quickly with people in the vehicle (especially children)
- accelerating quickly with limited visibility (fog, rain, snow, darkness)
- accelerating quickly pulling a trailer, boat, camper, etc
- accelerating quickly while under the influence of intoxicants
- whether the acceleration put people or property in danger
There are many other circumstances that could produce a reckless driving or careless driving charge, or any number of other available citations that result from aggressive driving.
That being said, accelerating quickly is not illegal in all situations, and if done reasonably in circumstances that are safe and not prohibited by statute, a citation probably won’t result (like getting to freeway speed).
What Should You Do If You Are Caught Accelerating Too Fast?
What you do if you get pulled over for accelerating depends on the circumstances of the situation.
The situation could produce a citation (traffic ticket), or it could result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
The officer who pulled you over could be looking for evidence of more serious offenses (speed racing, substance possession, illegal weapons).
Remember that you have certain rights as a citizen (right to remain silent, right to an attorney).
If you think you could get prosecuted for a serious driving offense, or you have already been charged, contact a criminal defense attorney who handles cases in your jurisdiction to get legal advice for how to proceed.
From there, you’ll be able to decide whether or not you need an attorney to assist you throughout the proceedings.
Some driving offense convictions result in an automatic suspension of driving privileges.
For people who need to drive for their work, this can be catastrophic.
Is Accelerating Too Fast Bad For The Car?
In general, most vehicles are built to handle normal acceleration requirements of driving (like pulling out into traffic and getting to highway speeds).
Over time, putting a vehicle under stress can wear and tear on the engine and other physical components of the car (tires, transmission, etc).
The brakes may also wear out more quickly.
But unless the exhibition of acceleration is extreme (and happens a lot), mostly what people suffer is a higher bill for fuel.
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