Which States Have the Toughest Speed Laws?

When it comes to speeding fines in the United States, where you live and not how much money you make makes all the difference. A speeding ticket can increase the cost of your auto insurance, which is already a significant financial burden. A penalty for traveling more than 15 mph over the limit will likely result in a rate increase of at least 10 percent. 

More than that, your fines will skyrocket much higher. All states have some sort of penalty for speeding, however, some have harsher penalties than others. There have been cases of drivers receiving jail time in Virginia for going 90 mph in a 55 mph zone. While it may sound tough, the state has some of the least stringent rules in the country when it comes to things like speeding and driving recklessly. Here are some the states with the strictest speed limit laws below.

According to a recent study by WalletHub, Colorado is the state with the strictest penalties for violating traffic laws. The study gathered information on factors like the average rise in insurance premiums following a speeding ticket and the fines associated with reckless driving. However, the laws are the most relaxed in Texas, which makes sense given that it is home to the nation’s fastest freeway. Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah are also among the most tolerant states, joining Texas at the top of the list. 

In another WalletHub analysis, no state has a legal policy that requires an individual to be jailed for speeding. But if you go too far over, the charge might be upgraded to reckless driving. For example, in the states of Arkansas and North Carolina, exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 15 mph is reckless driving. In some states, such as Kentucky, Mississippi, and New Mexico, the maximum fine for reckless driving is only $100, whereas the national average is $742 (WalletHub). 

The highest in the country is around $5,000 in Washington state. Some jurisdictions have increased their penalties for “aggressive driving.”

Georgia Speeding Laws

To curb reckless driving, Georgia passed the Super Speeder law. In addition to the standard local fine, a Georgia driver must pay an additional $200 if they are found guilty of speeding at 75 mph or more on a two-lane road or 85 mph or more anywhere in the state. A regular fine in a given area ranges from $100 to $300. 

Super Speeder fines carry an additional $50 late payment fee and license suspension if not paid within four months. The law was enacted to reduce fatalities on Georgia’s roadways. More than half of all trauma patients treated at Georgia’s trauma centers had been involved in automobile accidents, and that’s where the money from the state’s $200 Super Speeder fee goes.

Kentucky Speed Laws

If you are caught speeding in Kentucky at 26 mph or more over the limit on any road or highway, your license might be suspended for up to 90 days. Your suspension will be decided during a court hearing. Violators risk being fined up to $100 in addition to paying court costs of $143. That means the cost of the ticket alone is getting close to $250. If you are found guilty, the conviction remains on your record for five years for normal drivers and ten years for commercial vehicle drivers.

Virginia Speed Laws

Some cases of excessive speeding in Virginia might result in reckless driving charges. Regardless of the speed limit, driving 80 miles per hour or faster is illegal and deemed irresponsible. This can have devastating repercussions. Six points on your driving record, a fine of up to $2,500, jail time of up to a year, and the suspension of your driver’s license are all potential outcomes of a reckless driving conviction. The reckless driving conviction will remain on your DMV record for 11 years, which may affect your ability to get a job or get affordable vehicle insurance.

Illinois Speed laws

In Illinois, going 30 mph over the speed limit is not just a traffic violation; it’s a crime. One year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine await those who are caught speeding. Furthermore, if you are found speeding, you may be arrested and your vehicle towed. You will go through the proper channels, be required to bond out or post bail, and be scheduled for a hearing. There may be additional jail time imposed if you have a history of reckless driving. A qualified lawyer may be able to get you a reduced sentence or dismissal of charges, probation, or jail time if your record is clean.

Missouri Speeding Laws

If you are found speeding in Missouri at more than 25 miles per hour over the limit, you will be issued a court date. The initial fine is $100, and the judge may impose further penalties such as court fees, probation, or even jail time. In October 2012, 209 drivers were given tickets for going 20 to 25 miles per hour over the limit in St. Louis County alone. Those who choose not to sign their traffic tickets may believe they are no longer required to appear in court. A summons to appear has been issued to you once the trooper has handed you a copy of the ticket, though. Failure to appear in court is a criminal offense that could lead to further penalties.

New York Speed Laws

Recently, New York State was found to have the fifth-strictest speeding laws in the entire country. Fines, license points, and license suspensions can all occur from receiving a speeding ticket in the Empire State. A judge can impose a 15-day jail term for speeds 11-30 mph over the limit, and a 30-day punishment for speeds 31+ mph over the limit. A fine of $300 and/or 30 days in jail applies to a second or third offense in 18 months for going 11 mph or more over the limit. Driving at least 10 mph beyond the limit will not result in criminal penalties. Drivers might be charged with reckless driving if they engage in actual excessive speed or engage in speed in addition to other risky activities. If such occurs, the potential punishments include 30 days for a first violation, 90 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third offense.

The chances of being arrested for speeding in New York are quite low and there are no detailed statistics on how frequently drivers are arrested for speeding. Most cases, though, include additional factors that make things worse. A judge might decide to send a driver to jail to send a message if the judge finds that the driver’s speeding was a contributing factor in an accident, the driver has had their license suspended multiple times (even if it was valid at the time of the traffic stop), or the driver has been involved in multiple accidents related to speeding. Offenders who display hostility toward the police or the judge in court may also face a jail sentence. If the motorist is charged with reckless driving due to speed or racing, the likelihood of going to jail will increase.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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