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26 Surprising Facts about Speeding Tickets

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:

      1. 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.
      2. More men receive speeding tickets than women.
      3. More women will attempt to contest a speeding ticket than men.
      4. Drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 get the most tickets. (OK, maybe that one’s not a particularly surprising fact.)
      5. 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.
      6. 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.
      7. 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.
      8. Ohio writes more speeding tickets than any other state in the nation. Pennsylvania, New York, and California are next on the list.
      9. Per capita, however, the states most likely to issue tickets are Washington, D.C., Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota.
      10. The highest speeding ticket fines take place on the I-95 corridor on the east coast, going from New England down to North Carolina.
      11. In 18 states, judges can actually add jail time to a speeding ticket’s punishment.
      12. New York State brings in about $76 million every year in traffic tickets.
      13. Among professionals, doctors are more likely to get a speeding ticket than any other profession.
      14. Paradise Valley, Arizona, was the first place to use photo-based radar for speeding tickets.
      15. The average fine for a speeding ticket in the United States is $150.
      16. 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.
      17. 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.
      18. 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.
      19. Be careful when traveling. Drivers from out of state are 20% more likely to get a speeding ticket than residents of the state.
      20. Radar speed detectors are far from perfect. It’s estimated that about 15% of tickets backed by radar are in error.
      21. Around 95% of people who receive a speeding ticket simply pay their fine via mail. Only 5% wind up in court.
      22. 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.
      23. 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.
      24. 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.
      25. 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.
      26. 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.

  • cashflowmantra March 12, 2012, 10:00 am

    Not a bit surprised about Ohio. They always seem to be clocking the traffic on the highways.

  • Squeezer March 12, 2012, 7:25 pm

    About 3 years ago I was cited for going 55 in a 40mph zone. I contested the ticket. The officer didn’t show. There were others in front of me in the same situation and the judge was rescheduling their appearance. When I got to the stand and the prosecutor announced that the officer for my ticket wasn’t present, before the judge could speak, I said “Your honor, I would like to make a motion to dismiss, the police officer is not here so the state lacks a witness.” The judge looked at me for a minute and then said that I was free to go.

  • --russell March 17, 2012, 5:31 pm

    #16 seems awfully high to me. On what are you basing your numbers? I’d love to see your source.

  • BuckTrak Budget Planner March 17, 2012, 7:00 pm

    While your ticket may not get thrown out if you decide to fight it, you can at least get your fine reduced significantly AND get the points removed from your record (which is a big deal, most of the time). You might get stuck with court costs. How do I know this? I fight every speeding ticket, and while I usually pay something – I end up paying less than those who “mail it in” and I never get the points on my license.

  • Terry March 17, 2012, 6:45 pm

    This reminds me…the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) has tolls based on your length of travel. So when you enter, you pick up a ticket with a time stamp. When you eventually exit, your distance traveled (and thus your toll) is determined, and you pay as you exit through a toll booth.

    I was always paranoid that drivers could get speeding tickets without being seen or clocked by radar, as your entry and exit points and times are known. So I always planned trips to include a meal/potty/gas break on the Turnpike. Was my paranoia justified?

  • JOE March 17, 2012, 6:50 pm

    Terry – I recently heard that this practice is illegal. They cannot ticket based on times between ticket pickup and toll payment. Not sure if this is just in my state or nationwide.

  • See the irony? August 3, 2012, 3:48 pm

    “22. 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.
    23. 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.”

    “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.”

    …Okay.

  • stephen October 18, 2012, 2:48 pm

    Actually, the guy that clocked the fastest speeding ticket was a guy from London who imported his car to the United States to participate in the Gumball 3000 Rally. Look up gumball 3000 (2003) Full Review on youtube. The guy who kept getting in trouble with the police over and over again for speeding was the guy that did it.

  • don December 4, 2013, 1:21 am

    Most people who fight their citations don’t know what they’re doing. I have fought 3 moving violations in Ventura County in the last 10 years and won all 3 times. And, a parking ticket in Oxnard, CA and won that one too. Information is power. Read Fight Your Ticket in California by David Brown. That step combined with an IQ of at least 100 will put you in a good position.

  • Suzanne April 8, 2014, 4:50 pm

    Ok … So I moved from California to Ohio and I can totally understand that Ohio writes more tickets. I though the cops were everywhere in CA … well now I know what it means when someone says there are cops everywhere!!

  • Will September 19, 2014, 1:18 am

    you are NOT allowed to break the speed limit when passing another car…. just saying…

    Driver Instructor…

  • Robert A Bateman November 4, 2015, 1:19 pm

    I had a collection agency come after me from 2000in 2014and when I went to fight it yes I was rite I didn’t owe it I had paid it back in 2000so I had it taken care of ok. but what I found out will blow your minds what I found out I got kicked out of court house 2days in a row this is in Tazewell county’ ILL guess what I found out we are owed in back fines well in access of 200,000,000dollers check that out and all true I have proof

  • Robert A Bateman November 4, 2015, 1:24 pm

    and by the way they also have a quota to meet each month I talked to a man on city councel.

  • Robert A Bateman November 4, 2015, 1:25 pm

    and yes this is the town was hit by tornado’s back in 2014

  • Josh June 2, 2016, 10:45 am

    The one time I went to court to fight my ticket, about 5 defendants out of 20 had their case dismissed because of officer no show. So, in my one isolated experience, 20% (not >1% as stated).

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