Following is a guest post from Scott Desind.
If you’re like most people, you’ve been caught speeding at least once. Whether or not that resulted in a ticket, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than you know. As the most common form of public citation, the speeding ticket has a long and interesting history. They’re also big business in some states.
Here are some surprising facts you probably didn’t know about speeding tickets:
- One of the first automobile speeding tickets that we know about was given on February 8, 1910. It was given to the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister for going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.
- More men receive speeding tickets than women.
- More women will attempt to contest a speeding ticket than men.
- Drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 get the most tickets. (OK, maybe that one’s not a particularly surprising fact.)
- An average traffic policeman costs a city $75,000 per year in salary and benefits. That same traffic policeman makes a city an average of $200,000 in ticket fines.
- When a city falls on hard times, they turn to traffic violations for revenue. A 10% decrease in economic growth leads to an average 6.5% increase in the number of speeding tickets issued.
- Around 35 million speeding tickets are issued each year in the United States. That works out to about 93,000 tickets each day, or 65 every minute.
- Ohio writes more speeding tickets than any other state in the nation. Pennsylvania, New York, and California are next on the list.
- Per capita, however, the states most likely to issue tickets are Washington, D.C., Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota.
- The highest speeding ticket fines take place on the I-95 corridor on the east coast, going from New England down to North Carolina.
- In 18 states, judges can actually add jail time to a speeding ticket’s punishment.
- New York State brings in about $76 million every year in traffic tickets.
- Among professionals, doctors are more likely to get a speeding ticket than any other profession.
- Paradise Valley, Arizona, was the first place to use photo-based radar for speeding tickets.
- The average fine for a speeding ticket in the United States is $150.
- The average increase in insurance premiums after a speeding ticket is $300 per year. That’s an additional $10 billion in the pockets of the insurance companies.
- The fastest speeding ticket in the United States was issued in Texas in 2003. A Koenigsegg CC8S was clocked at 242 miles per hour in a 75 mile per hour zone.
- In some European countries, fines for speeding tickets are on a sliding scale, based on income. For example, in Germany the fine for a speeding ticket can reach over $15 million, based on the violator’s income.
- Be careful when traveling. Drivers from out of state are 20% more likely to get a speeding ticket than residents of the state.
- Radar speed detectors are far from perfect. It’s estimated that about 15% of tickets backed by radar are in error.
- Around 95% of people who receive a speeding ticket simply pay their fine via mail. Only 5% wind up in court.
- Less than 1% of people who attempt to fight a speeding ticket on their own win. Those who hire an attorney have a little bit more success, with 5% winning their case.
- Lawyers are making a killing trying to fight speeding ticket. Lawyers are hired to fight around 180,000 tickets each year, at an average cost of $150 a pop. That equals $27 million in legal fees – which most often still result in a ticket.
- In some states, errors on a ticket can get you off. The errors have to be glaring, however. For example, misspelling your name slightly won’t get you out of a ticket – as long as the officer can identify you in court. Listing your name as “Herm Johnson” when it’s actually “Emilio Young,” however, can lead to the ticket being thrown out.
- There are some acceptable reasons for speeding. For example, you are allowed to exceed the speed limit (within a certain range) when passing another car. Also, if you’re being chased by another car and are afraid for your life, you may be excused from speeding.
- Policemen do usually show up when you contest a ticket. There’s a myth out there that says the officer in question will miss the court date about 30% of the time. In fact, this almost never happens. Less than 1% of contested tickets are thrown out because the police officer didn’t show up.
The next time you get a speeding ticket, remember you’re part of something much larger – and much stranger – than you ever knew.
Author bio -
Scott Desind is a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, helping drivers in the Los Angeles area get their driving tickets dismissed. With over 20 years of combined, Scott Desind and his Traffic Attorneys have a 90% success rate in beating tickets.