Speeding Tickets: Where Does Your State Rank?

Here are the top 10 states where you’re most likely to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror.

Ticket happy states

A whopping 41 million people receive speeding tickets annually, according to a site called Statistic Brain, which lists the Highway Patrol as their source. What’s more, $6 billion is paid out in speeding tickets each year. That’s a lot of scratch, America.

But these numbers are not divided equally between states. Some states are more ticket-happy than others, and the average cost of a speeding ticket can range from $50 to $2,500. It seems that where you drive really can influence your chances of getting a ticket.

Top 10 ticket-happy states

Here are the top 10 states where you’re most likely to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror:

  1. Ohio
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. New York
  4. California
  5. Texas
  6. Georgia
  7. Virginia (sorry, lovers)
  8. North Carolina
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Connecticut

Average cost of speeding tickets by state

The total cost of the average speeding ticket is $150, but maximum fines for speeding vary by more than $2,400 between states. Interestingly, some of the states where you’re most likely to receive a ticket also have the highest fines.

Most expensive states for speeding tickets

Virginia and Illinois have the most expensive speeding fines, with the maximum set at $2,500. Following that are Georgia and Nevada, with maximum fines at $2,000. Ouch.

Least expensive states for speeding tickets

Tennessee, in contrast, is the cheapest state in which to get a ticket, with a maximum fine of $50. Idaho, Kentucky, and Colorado are the next cheapest with their $100 maximum fines.

Speeding ticket stories

And now … for your internet-surfing pleasure, here are a few noteworthy tidbits of speeding ticket trivia:

  • Who’s afraid of Virginia patrols?
    In March 2010, Virginia proved itself worthy of being the number 7 spot on the ticket-happy list by issuing 7,016 traffic tickets in a single weekend. Of those, 3,536 were for speeding.
  • Getting less ticket-happy in Massachusetts
    As the ninth most likely state to hand out tickets, Massachusetts reported a 35 percent decrease in tickets in recent years. According to Boston.com, 60,000 fewer speeding tickets were issued in 2011 than in 2008.
  • Speed checked by radar? You betcha.
    During August and September of 2012, Wisconsin State Patrol planes circling the Madison sky resulted in 2,197 traffic stops and 1,662 total citations — 1,324 of these tickets were issued for speeding.
  • The most tickets in one day
    In 2009, Elvis Alonzo Barrett scored himself 50 traffic tickets in a single day. Among the traffic crimes he committed were not wearing a seat belt, hitting parked cars, and yes, speeding.
  • Fastest speeding ticket in the world
    The fastest speeding ticket ever was issued to the driver of a Koenigsegg CCX (a fancy Swedish sports car) for driving 242 mph in a 75 mph zone. Of course, it happened in Texas. Of course.

How to avoid tickets

Whether you live in a highly ticketed state or not, there’s one simple thing you can do to avoid the major bummer that comes with getting a speeding ticket: don’t speed. It’s pretty much as simple as that.

Related links

See more driving citation statistics from Statistic Brain
Check out our infographic on speed limits by state
Find out about some of the most common ways to get pulled over

10 Responses to “Speeding Tickets: Where Does Your State Rank?”

  1. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    March 18, 2013 #

    Though Florida is not in the top 10, BUT I can assurre you it has the most expensive non-moving violation in the county. Moving violations are basically anything you did wrong with the vehicle as an instrument or in motion.
    If you decide to take a trip through Fl on your Harley (or whatever the case may be), make sure your tag is horizantal……perpendicular tag will cost you approx $1100 and no points, second offense is $5000 and license revocation.

    • Avatar for Heidi Wallis
      May 20, 2014 #

      Perpendicular??? Do you mean vertical? Perpendicular refers to an object being at a 90 degree angle to another object this doesnt mean that it is vertical.

  2. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    john lorenzo
    December 21, 2013 #

    I live in rutherfordton NC, i swear the police between Asheville and forest city have turned citations into a cash generating machine.

  3. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    November 16, 2014 #

    Yesterday I received a speeding ticket for going 120 in a 65. I was marked for wreck less driving. I was in Knox county Tennessee and I am trying to get an idea of how much it will cost me. The ticket is court mandatory. Also in the comment section at the bottom of my ticket I read that the officer wrote "clocked subject going 120 and when in pursuit at that speed, the subject continued to increase to approximately 140mph". Although my ticket was still written for 120 I don't think the court will be doing me any favors. I have also had 2 previous tickets however the first one was almost 3 years ago and the second I won in court. Will I be looked at as a first time offender since the ticket I was guilty for was over 2 years ago?
    Thank you,

  4. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    donald brown
    November 27, 2014 #

    This is TOTAL hogwash because Illinois, (in the Chicago and surronding subburbs in particular at least), has a traffic cop lurking behind every tree!

  5. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    Bear Cat
    June 12, 2015 #

    Sorry, but you are completely wrong. Got a ticket driving through Tennessee in March 2013 (same month you posted this) on my way to Florida. My ticket was almost 3 times as much as you say the "maximum amount" for a ticket in TN was. Came from Marshall County Court south of Nashville and was for $149.50. I have the citation # and receipt if you want it. Please revise you article and remove the incorrect information. You are Esurance, have better standards for your copywriters content.

    • Avatar for Heidi Wallis
      September 14, 2015 #

      Bear cat is right. I also received a speeding ticket in Tennessee for nearly 200. This article is rubbish and incorrect.

  6. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    Stats Wizard
    December 30, 2015 #

    I don't think the source is very reliable. The website that is referenced did a terrible job at showing where the data actually came from. All they say is that it comes from the NHTSA. It also does not take into consideration state population. 9/10 of these states are amongst the top 15 most populated states in the country (Connecticut is the 29th most populated state).

    I'm willing to bet money that Connecticut, Nevada, and Utah are all in the top ten "Most Ticket Happy States" PER CAPITA. Basing a top ten off of most tickets given doesn't show or prove anything. The top ten should be based on the number of people given a citation in a specific state divided by the population of that state.

  7. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    March 1, 2016 #

    Don't forget the surcharges!!! I received a speeding ticket in NY (the day after Christmas!). I was lucky enough to get it reduced to a non-moving violation, fine of $150. When I got the bill though, they slapped a $93 surcharge on it for a total of $243… a nice way to say happy holidays…

  8. Avatar for Heidi Wallis
    Amy Stubblefield
    June 22, 2016 #

    Wow!! Awesome read Heidi!! Thanks for the laugh & road info on our drive back from FL to TN.

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