The True Cost of a Speeding Ticket
Have you noticed more autos on the side of the road with an
officer issuing the driver a speeding ticket? Have you seen more
trucks surrounded by DOT transport police? I sure have. There
are several reasons for this increased activity.
One is that after 9/11 many departments have increased patrols.
The additional police presence is to assure the public that
efforts are being taken to prevent terrorist attacks like the
recent sniper killings. The other reason is that cities and
states are faced with budget deficits in these tough economic
times. Since traffic tickets are a politically correct form of
taxation, many jurisdictions are increasing fines as a means of
balancing the books.
A traffic officer will cost his department the average of
$75,000 per year while he can be expected to issue between
$150,000 to $200,000 in speeding ticket citations. There are few
businesses that can equal that rate of return. Some towns like
New Rome, Ohio and Waldo, Florida take in over 70% of their
entire town budget through speeding tickets.
What does this mean to you, the safe driver who has not received
a traffic citation in years? It means that you are now more
likely than ever to see those dreaded blue lights flashing in
your rear view. If that does happen you need to know that the
true cost of a speeding ticket has changed drastically in the
last few years.
Consider Mary, a successful sales representative who enjoys the
perk of a company car. She travels extensively and has received
four speeding tickets in the last three years. She considers
herself a safe driver and in each instance was traveling with
the flow of traffic on the interstate. She has 9 out of the 12
points on her driver's license. Imagine her surprise when her
company's insurance carrier refused to allow Mary to drive a
company car. The company obtained supplemental insurance but
Mary had to pay the extra $1600.
Then there is Jeffrey, a CDL truck driver from Ohio who is an
independent operator and owns his own truck. He drives 150,000
miles per year and has five tickets on his record, none a
serious violation. He is unable to obtain insurance that he can
afford. He is in the process of losing his truck to the finance
company and does not know how he will support his family.
Families with teenagers may face an economic disaster if the
teen driver receives a citation. One traffic ticket for rolling
through a stop sign could cost as much as $3000 in increased
premiums over the three years it remains on their record. The
insurance industry considers young adults as teenagers until the
age of 23.
The purpose of relating Mary and Jeffrey's stories is not for
you to feel sorry for them. It is to impress upon you the severe
consequences that may result from a traffic ticket. It is
important to obey all traffic laws, not just for your physical
protection but also for the health of your pocketbook. I have
found that many people are more concerned about their pocketbook
than their personal safety.
What should you do if you receive a citation? Never just pay a
speeding ticket. Check with the clerk of court to see if you are
eligible for traffic school, even if it is an out-of-state
citation. Many states now accept online traffic school. Check to
see if this is available in your state at
If traffic school is not available then you or your attorney
need to appear in court to contest the speeding ticket. Hiring
an attorney may be your cheapest option when you consider the
additional cost of you insurance. Check with your insurance
agent to find out the consequences of the original charge being
entered on your driving record. The American Bar Association
says: "The best way for the majority of Americans to be able to
assure themselves of legal assistance when they need it... is
through a prepaid legal plan." For nationwide legal services
Drive safe and stay out of the "No Zone." Remember if you got it
a truck brought it.
The author is not an attorney and this is not legal advice.