Is It Illegal To Drive With A Broken Speedometer? (When & Where)

One of the different things that you need to look at whenever you are driving is your speedometer.

That’s because it is important for safety reasons for you to be able to drive at a manageable speed.

Then again, if you do end up with a broken speedometer that no longer accurately reflects how fast you are going, can you still drive the vehicle?

Is it illegal for you to drive a broken speedometer?

Driving with a broken speedometer is illegal in some states but, in some states, it is not even a legal requirement. The only requirement under the law is that you have a speedometer that is working and is not obstructed. Nevertheless, driving with a broken speedometer can get you fined.

faulty Speedometer

The legality as to whether or not you can drive with a broken speedometer seems to be something that is pretty ambiguous.

This ambiguity we are talking about lies in the fact that not all states actually state that you can’t drive with a broken speedometer but you can be fined for doing so.

That said, regardless of how ambiguous the law may be, the fact of the matter is that you should never try to drive with a broken speedometer because of the safety risks involved.

Is a speedometer a legal requirement?

When it comes to your car, there are plenty of different requirements that need to be addressed because of the fact that the law strictly regulates vehicles and the driving of such vehicles.

For example, you are not allowed to drive with a broken odometer because of the fact that you are going to end up with a lower mileage, which can lead to fraud later when you do sell the car.

So, in that regard, there are some instruments that you may want to look at when it comes to the legal requirements under the law.

Specifically speaking, is the speedometer actually one of the legal requirements when it comes to your vehicle?

This is something worth looking at because different states and jurisdictions have different governing laws regarding the speedometer.

Plainly speaking and when it comes to the general scope of federal law, the basic requirement is that your speedometer should not be obstructed and should be in good working order when you are driving.

There isn’t even a requirement for it to be accurate. However, some states can differ in terms of what they require.

For example, some states in the US have declared that the speedometer is a required part of the car because of the safety concerns involved when it comes to overspeeding.

Of course, in other states, it isn’t a legal requirement but the requirement that you drive with an unobstructed and working speedometer is still prevalent.

As such, there really is no certainty as to whether or not a speedometer is a legal requirement because the requirement under the law only states that you must drive with a working speedometer that is free of any obstructions.

From there, it is safe to assume that, legally required or not, you should still have a speedometer on your car.

Can I still drive my car if the speedometer doesn’t work?

Now that you know that you need to have a speedometer that is working and unobstructed, that simply means that you should not drive if your speedometer isn’t working properly.

Technically speaking, you can still drive your car but you are putting yourself at risk of safety hazards and a ticket if you do get caught over speeding.

Again, we have to go back to the catch-all phrase of “it depends on what state you are in”.

That’s really because there are some states that don’t deem driving a broken speedometer as illegal but will only look at it as an offense that can lead to a fine. Meanwhile, there are some that would actually treat the act of driving with a broken speedometer as illegal due to safety reasons.

From there, you can see how the issue in relation to driving with a broken speedometer can be a bit too ambiguous to sort out because it really depends on the state you are in.

That’s something that is up to you to look at as some states really do treat the driving of a car with a broken speedometer as an illegal act.

Illegal or not, the fact of the matter is that we do not recommend that you drive your car if its speedometer is broken.

The fact that you CAN drive your car with its speedometer broken is not a reason why you SHOULD drive it. That’s because there are various safety issues involved here.

Some states may not treat driving with a broken speedometer as illegal as long as you are driving within the speed limit.

So, technically, if you are driving under the speed limit because doing so has already been integrated into your muscle memory, there is no reason why an officer would pull you over.

Then again, regardless of whether or not you are already used to knowing how fast you are going, let’s not try to tempt fate here.

There is still a chance that you might end up going over the speed limit and lose control of your vehicle.

When that happens, we can only wish that you and everyone around you end up being safe.

So, in a sense, your speedometer becomes a self-regulating measure of how fast you are going because you will always be aware of your speed.

Can I be fined if my speedometer is broken?

All that said, you can be fined if your speedometer is broken especially if an officer catches you.

This usually happens when you are overspeeding as officers don’t normally pull you over for detecting that you have a broken speedometer.

There is no measure for them to know whether or not your speedometer is broken without pulling you over.

So, if you do get caught over speeding, what happens here is that you may end up getting caught for two violations.

The first is the overspeeding ticket and the second is driving with a broken instrument. 

Of course, once you get pulled over, the officer might not be able to tell that your speedometer is broken because it might go back to zero when you pull over.

The only way for the officer to know for sure that it is broken is if you tell him that you didn’t know you were driving over the speed limit due to the broken speedometer. Either way, you are going to get fined.


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