The High Cost of Speeding

Have you been pulled over for speeding? Chances are you have, if my experiences are any indicator.  You see, I am  one of those drivers that obeys the speed limit and traffic laws.  I have never had a ticket.  And I am sick of being tailgated!!!!

According to Traffic Ticket Secrets, more than 100,000 people are pulled over each and every day in the US.  I wonder why none of the people that zip by me on the highway going 85 -90 MPH seem to be those people?

It’s a speed limit, not a guideline! Your top speed should not exceed the posted limit.  You are wasting money if you speed.

What does speeding cost?

The average cost of a speeding ticket is $150.  However, that is just the beginning.

There is of course, also the cost of your time – the time you spend waiting for the officer to issue the ticket and the time you spend dealing with it, not to mention the time you spend earning the money to pay it!

If you are wanting to get auto insurance, your rates go up if you have one or more tickets on your record. The average rise in the cost of insurance due to ONE ticket is $900 over 3 years.

If you try to get it erased, you have court costs or at least a lawyer’s fees, plus time off from work to make appearances and take care of administrative stuff.

Once you are pulled over, the officer will look for additional violations.  If you have a broken light, or forgot to fasten your seat belt or had a glass of wine for dinner then you may be in for more than just a traffic ticket.

In addition to the actual cost of the ticket, the time and extra charges for auto insurance, a ticket can also impact life insurance costs, and your credit score (if you don’t resolve your tickets).

You also use about 40% more gasoline, according to some musings by Bargain Babe and SelecTrucks.

When you drive fast (especially on non-highway roads), you tend to brake more and then start up faster – which also wastes gas and causes wear and tear on your vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed related crashes cost us more than $40 million a year.

When you speed, you have less control over your car. You tend to ignore safe stopping distances, tailgating non-speeding cars. You must be constantly alert and responsive – you can’t afford to be talking, let alone dialing or texting.  You enjoy the ride less.

To summarize, the costs of speeding include:

  • Speeding ticket cost
  • Additional violations found by officer after stopping you for speeding costs
  • Your time costs
  • Gasoline waste costs
  • Increased auto insurance costs
  • Possible increased life insurance costs
  • Possible decreased credit rating – costing you higher rates on any future loan you make
  • Possible court and legal costs if you fight the ticket
  • Vehicle maintenance costs due to wear and tear from speeding up and braking more
  • Vehicle repair costs if you crash
  • Hospital costs if you crash and hurt yourself and others.

Speeders make going the speed limit frightening.

A Minneapolis news station KARE 11 describes my daily experience in driving the speed limit in What Happens When You Drive the Speed Limit.  They mention the somewhat frightening experience of having a semi on your tail and feeling like you are standing still in a sea of motion.

While it is irritating to come up on a car going slower than you are, should you really ride the bumper of the car in front of you, trying to intimidate them into going faster? Should you really lay on the horn to try to get that guy to speed up?

If you aren’t a speeder, try going a few mph under the limit.

If you are someone who does the speed limit, here is a piece of advice.  On highway trips, set the cruise control for a few mph BELOW the speed limit.  Cars and trucks seem to find it much less aggravating – they just fly around you instead of tailgating and honking.  You will find it much less aggravating – you won’t have to worry about passing others nearly as much and the extra time typically only amounts to a few minutes.

I drive Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis – a lot, and have for years.  The semi traffic on this road is heavy and cars, pickups and SUVs typically go at least 85 – 90 mph (the limit is 70 mph for most of the trip).  Going a few miles under the limit saves gas, makes the trip safer and helps me avoid getting into the left lane where all those speeders are. This makes the trip much less irritating for me.

It seems that most people do speed. Why is that?  Why do people want to waste their money to shave a few minutes off their drive? Do you speed?

This article was written by Marie.


  • Traffic Ticket Secrets
  • AOL Autos
  • Forbes
  • Bargain Babe
  • SelecTrucks


The High Cost of Speeding — 24 Comments

  1. I drive Highway 70 everyday since I live in St. Louis. Most people do speed. I tend to speed if I know that I will be a couple minutes late to work. I do need to stop though. I’ve never gotten a ticket though.

      • That will definitely change everything if I got a ticket. However, in most neighborhoods in St. Louis, they can’t give out a speeding ticket unless you are doing 9 mph over (I know that’s a fact because I have several police officer friends and the cities in the area make this fact known). So once you are going 70 mph in a 60 zone, they will usually pull you over VERY fast because there are speed traps everywhere.

        I usually never drive too fast, but different areas of 70 have different limits. Sometimes it’s 70 mph, sometimes it’s only 55.

        I never drive over 9 over and I try to use cruise control so that I don’t forget.

  2. Hello. My name is Shawanda Greene and I’m a speeder. I’ve been pulled over several times for speeding. Fortunately, I’ve only gotten a ticket for one of those times. And even more fortunately, I was in Georgia when it happened so my misdeed didn’t affect my Florida license.

    I try to remember to set my car on cruise control when I’m on the highway to avoid speeding tickets, but I set it about 5 or 10 miles over the speed limit. I think people weigh the benefit of getting to their destination earlier compared to the cost of getting a speeding ticket. Over the years, I’m sure the amount of time I saved speeding is much greater than the amount of time I’ve spent getting pulled over by cops.

  3. On the freeway, I drive the speed of the traffic which is generally over the speed limit. Now I drive all surface streets to my new assignment and try to pace myself to catch all the traffic lights. It is more economical too.

  4. I know someone who got a speeding ticket in the U.S (I live in Canada) and now can’t take his boys to a hockey game there because he hasn’t paid the ticket. So, you’re right – you pay in several ways when you get a ticket.

  5. I got a speeding ticket while driving back from my parents’ house over Labor Day Weekend last year. I took a back road shortcut that is primarily a two lane highway, and I had been following somebody who was driving below the speed limit for a few miles. When a passing lane opened up, I speed up to pass the car, and highway patrol caught me. It cost me about $310 (I had to pay extra because I was taking traffic school to get the ticket off my record).

    I would probably do the same thing in the same situation next time. If the ticket weren’t in a county four hours from where I live, I might have even tried to fight it.

  6. I try not to speed, but in some areas, that’s just the speed of traffic. I’m usually on the low side of that.

    Surface streets in my area is where I’m really careful. It’s not just the speed traps, it’s that I’ve never seen such a lack of caution from pedestrians anyplace else I’ve lived. My husband just missed some people who stepped out right in front of him the other evening in the middle of the block. Even at the speed limit, he just missed them by slamming on the brakes, and they barely even looked at him. It’s not usually that close, but I’ve seen enough behavior of that sort to not trust pedestrians here.

  7. Great article! The most I ever go is five over, and that’s if people are riding my bumper. I did get a ticket the other day, though! Not for speeding, but I parked the wrong way. Apparently on some streets you can only park the direction of traffic? $55 later…lesson learned.

    • Yep, true and what a bummer for you. I wonder that some states never make drivers refresh on the regs…for instance, my Mom got her license back in the dark ages when you didn’t even have to take a test. She kept it renewed until she died and never did have to look at the test material. She was a good driver, though, never had an accident.

  8. Wow! I forgot how painful speeding can be. It should be interesting to see if technology will work in a similar ways the camera work on traffic lights. I was caught running a red light and had to pay almost $500 for the fine. If they could add technology to track our speed maybe we wouldn’t need to worry about our city governments running budget deficits.

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