The True Cost of Speeding Tickets and How to Avoid Them
Speeding tickets are expensive. Depending on your situation you may need to pay much more than just the fine itself – hiring a lawyer, facing court costs, and seeing an increase in your insurance rates are just some of the additional costs you might incur. You may even need to take defensive driver classes or face a suspended license. Learn more about the consequences of speeding and how to drive safer.
How Much Do Speeding Tickets Cost?
The average cost of a speeding ticket in the United States is $150. Fines can range from $50 to $2,500, varying by state and how much over the speed limit you were traveling. The least expensive state to get a speeding ticket is Tennessee, where the maximum fine is $50. On the other hand, a speeding ticket will likely cost you much more if you live in Virginia or Illinois, where the maximum penalty for speeding is $2,500.
How Bad is a Speeding Ticket?
If you choose to "waive" your speeding ticket, meaning you don't contest the charge and pay your fine, this is just one of many costs of a speeding ticket you’ll face. By simply paying a speeding ticket, you are admitting guilt and even the lowest level violation could add points to your license. Points are added to your driver’s license when you’re found guilty of a moving violation. Points can increase insurance premiums and, although the increases vary state by state, insurance provider, and severity of the situation, drivers could see up to an 80% increase.
Typically, it takes three years of good driving for insurance premiums to return to normal after a speeding ticket and points are added to a driver’s record. Simply paying the fine and having two insurance points added to your record could result in a 45% rate increase in your insurance premiums, depending on your state. The more points you accumulate, the higher your insurance premiums will be. While two points may only see a 45% increase, additional points could see rates jump 80%. Once a driver has accumulated 12 points on their license, the license may be suspended.
For example, let's say your current insurance premium is $600 annually. At a 45% increase, your rates would jump to $870 per year – an additional $270 per year. That's an extra $810 over the three years it takes before your premiums return to what they were before! .
BankRate’s 2021 annual report shared average annual car insurance premiums and what type of increases to expect as the consequences of a speeding ticket. The average annual car insurance premium is $1,674, with speeding ticket violations tacking on another $355 each year. Here are the averages and how much you can expect to see added to your premiums on a state-by-state basis:
|State||Average Annual Car Insurance Premium||Additional Annual Cost After Receiving a Speeding Ticket|
Consequences of Speeding
Since speeding causes approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities, speeding violations have a massive impact on insurance rates. Not only can a traffic violation affect vehicle insurance rates, but it can also increase homeowner’s and life insurance rates as well.
Some other unexpected costs of a speeding ticket you may have to deal with can include taking safe driving courses, having your license suspended, losing a license if you have too many points, and covering all related fines. Even if it’s not required by law, taking a defensive driving class could help you drop that moving violation from your record. Some of these courses can be taken online.
What Can You Do When You’ve Been Caught Speeding?
- Contest the ticket – It can be a long shot if it's your word against the officer, but if you win, your insurance company will forgive the ticket, and you won’t have any infraction points on your license. And if the officer fails to appear at the trial, you may win by default.
- Slow down – The more tickets you acquire, the worse the consequences, so if you already have a ticket on record, be more conscious of your speed. Using a device like a radar detector can help drivers monitor how fast they're driving.
- Take a defensive driving class – Some insurance companies will accept class completion as a method to reduce premiums.
- Change insurance companies – Every insurance company is different, so shop around for new rates after getting a ticket, taking advantage of any accident forgiveness you can find.
How Radar Detectors Can Help
A high-quality radar detector connected to a smart app does more than alert drivers of potential speeding tickets – it also monitors a driver’s speed and can alert them to changes in the speed limit and alert the driver when over the legal limit. They’re also able to notify drivers of red light and speed camera locations so drivers can be more aware, make informed decisions and adjust their driving accordingly.
Velocitation, or feeling like you’re driving too slow when you get off the highway, is something all drivers can experience. It’s easy to get caught speeding when you don’t feel like you’re driving fast. In this situation, a radar detector is a useful tool in increasing driver awareness by sounding an alert that your vehicle’s speed is higher than the speed limit. Certain radar detectors even have sensitivity settings to adjust speed thresholds before being notified. Basic detectors often have city and highway settings to reduce or increase sensitivity depending on where you’re driving. A city setting will reduce sensitivity to help filter out false alarms from automatic door openers while a highway setting will increase sensitivity since drivers moving at a faster pace need to be alerted sooner.