California Isn’t the Worst State for Speeding Tickets

Young woman reading speeding ticket, policeman in background

It may be hard to believe if you’ve been stopped recently for driving too fast, but California isn’t the worst state for speeding tickets. While some states are definitely worse than others, the Golden State isn’t at the top of the list. As a matter of fact, California tied for 11th place with Arkansas, Oregon, and Washington State. Often blamed as a factor for raising auto insurance rates, in certain states, speeding can be elevated to a reckless driving violation.

In an effort to rank the worst of the worst, the researchers at WalletHub have conducted a study of which states have the stiffest financial penalties. The company scrutinized 12 key metrics across 50 states and the District of Columbia to put together the complex study. And, as statistics go – they concluded that the worst state for tickets wasn’t California, but Colorado – of all places.

Coming in a close second was Illinois, tied with Arizona and Delaware, while New Mexico rounded out the top 5.

Although it didn’t take the winner’s spot, Illinois drivers can have it pretty rough. Reason is – the state’s law enforcement automatically considers speeding reckless driving. As a result, motorists pulled over for breaking the speed limit face the highest maximum fine. Even more so for a second reckless driving offense, which could be only the second time they’re stopped for speeding. In addition, the report goes as far as citing the frequency jail time is issued as a penalty for a first and second reckless driving offense. So, Illinois can be a terrible place to speed and be caught in, at least financially.

Below are the rankings for the 50 states and the District of Columbia:

Overall Rank (1=Strictest) State Reckless Penalties/ Rank Speeding Enforcement/ Rank

1 Colorado 2 10
2 Arizona 10 2
2 Delaware 1 23
2 Illinois 8 4
5 New Mexico 10 4
6 Virginia 8 14
7 Iowa 24 1
7 Massachusetts 2 31
9 Alabama 10 15
10 District Of Columbia 15 10
11 Arkansas 4 44
11 California 5 31
11 Oregon 19 7
11 Washington 19 7
15 West Virginia 6 31
16 Kansas 10 26
16 Maryland 27 7
18 Indiana 27 10
18 Missouri 41 2
18 North Carolina 15 19
21 Oklahoma 6 47
21 Wyoming 14 26
23 Hawaii 24 17
23 New York 41 6
25 Alaska 19 23
25 Louisiana 40 10
25 Maine 19 23
25 Vermont 15 31
29 Idaho 15 44
30 Tennessee 41 15
31 Connecticut 27 31
31 Georgia 27 31
31 Minnesota 27 31
31 Nevada 24 38
35 Florida 37 26
35 North Dakota 27 38
35 Rhode Island 27 38
38 Michigan 19 48
38 Wisconsin 45 17
40 Kentucky 45 19
40 Montana 36 44
40 Nebraska 37 38
40 New Jersey 37 38
40 Ohio 45 19
40 South Carolina 45 19
46 New Hampshire 27 48
47 Mississippi 45 26
47 Pennsylvania 45 26
47 South Dakota 41 38
47 Utah 27 50
51 Texas 45 50

Furthermore, the study found that 75% of states have what is referred to as “absolute” speed limits – which means that just by going over the limit, the state has enough cause to convict you of speeding. However, the other quarter of states have laws that allow you to argue in court that the speeding was reasonable and, therefore, lawful.

And, while none of the states have statutes requiring mandatory jail time, should you be convicted of reckless driving in a less than tolerant state, make sure you carry a spare toothbrush as the possibility of spending at least one night in jail may not be out of the question.

According to the study, the national average maximum cost of a speeding ticket is $742. But, if you decide to peg the speedometer in Washington State, you could incur a fine of up to $5,000 on a single ticket. On the other hand, Kentucky, Mississippi, and New Mexico are all tied for the lowest, with a $100 maximum fine.

In closing, if you feel the need for speed, keep in mind that speeding can cost you in more ways than one. Not only is it dangerous, but it can put a huge hole in your wallet from the hefty fine to higher auto insurance rates.

If you’re shopping for the best auto insurance rates available, why not get a free auto insurance quote comparison today?

Have you ever been stopped in one of the 50 states and received a ridiculously high speeding ticket? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Summary
Article Name
California Isn’t the Worst State for Speeding Tickets
Description
It may be hard to believe if you’ve been stopped recently for driving too fast, but California isn’t the worst state for speeding tickets.
Author