Driving to Slowly (Slow Speed) in Ohio
Ohio’s Slow Speed Statute – ORC 4511.22
Columbus Slow Speed Ordinance – 2133.04
Ohio and Columbus’s slow speed statutes are the same. They state:
“No person shall stop or operate a vehicle . . . at such an unreasonably slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when stopping or reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or to comply with law.”
What does it mean to drive “unreasonably” slow?
In deciding whether a vehicle is driving at an unreasonably slow speed, the court takes into account:
- The capabilities of the vehicle
- The capabilities of the operator
Minimum Speed Limits
Minimum speed limits may be set on highways and other roads. Under Ohio law, no minimum speed limit can be less than 30 mph or more than 50 mph. If you are going below the posted minimum speed limit, you can be charged with going too slowly (slow speed) in Ohio.
Defenses to Slow Speed Tickets in Columbus
Unless you are driving in a place with posted minimum speed limits, just driving slowly is not enough on its own to establish “slow speed” under the statute.
Rather, to justify a traffic stop, you must be:
- Seriously impeding traffic or
- Going unreasonably slow to create a safety risk.
This issue comes up in OVI cases, for example.
In one recent slow speed / OVI case, a car was pulled over for slow speed and subsequently charged with OVI. The case was thrown out because the driver – although driving slowly – was the one of the only cars on the road at 1:00am and was not impeding traffic or creating a safety risk.
Potential Penalties for Slow Speed in Ohio
Violation of the slow speed statute is a minor misdemeanor – carrying a max $150 fine.
If the offender has been convicted or pleaded guilty to another traffic offense within the past year, it is a fourth degree misdemeanor.
If the offender has been convicted or pleaded guilty to two other traffic offenses within the past year, it is a third degree misdemeanor.