Jalopnik reporter Patrick George learned the hard way not to speed in Virginia when he spent three days in the slammer last summer after being pulled over for doing 93 mph in a 55 zone.
As tough as that might seem, though, Virginia isn’t even in the Top Five among the strictest states when it comes to enforcing speeding and reckless driving laws. At the top of the list is the Colorado. At the other end of the spectrum is Texas, according to a new study, perhaps no surprise for a state that also has the fastest freeway in the country.
Officially, no state requires mandatory jail time for speeding, reports financial website WalletHub.com. But push far enough over the limit and you could find the charge changed to reckless driving, as happened to Jalopnik’s over-eager scribe, who was sentenced to one day for each mph over 90.
In some states, he might even have lost his license. Illinois, tied for second on the WalletHub list of strictest states, can find a driver exceeding 40 mph over the speed limit guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in a suspended or even revoked license, as well as a fine and jail time.
Following Colorado, the toughest states on speeding and reckless driving are:
- Arizona, Delaware and Illinois, tied for second;
- New Mexico;
- Iowa and Massachusetts, tied for seventh;
- Alabama, and
- The District of Columbia.
It’s interesting to note that three quarters of the states have so-called “absolute speed limits,” where simply running 1 mph over would be enough to find you guilty of a moving violation. The other states give motorists a little more leeway, permitting them to argue in court that the speed they were driving at was, in fact, reasonable.
(Ford building on bright idea: moving headlights. For more, Click Here.)
More than half the states will declare you guilty of reckless driving simply for exceeding a set maximum speed or, as in Illinois, running a certain speed over the limit on the local road.
The average maximum ticket for reckless driving, according to WalletHub, is $742. The lowest is just $100 in Kentucky, Mississippi and New Mexico, while it soars to $5,000 in Washington State.
And while most tickets may be handed out by officers on patrol, almost a third of states also use automatic speed cameras. As TheDetroitBureau.com recently reported, however, such automated traffic devices have been coming under increasing criticism and a number of states and communities have either abandoned the technology or even outlawed it.
(Click Here for details about the new Infiniti Q30 “active compact.”)
As to the most lenient states, you’ve got your best chance to get a pass in Texas. Meanwhile, found the WalletHub study:
- Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio and South Carolina are tied in 40th place;
- New Hampshire is next on the list, followed by,
- Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Utah.
(To see more about the automotive industry’s hidden killers: aging airbags, Click Here.)
Eleven states, incidentally, have added additional penalties for so-called “aggressive driving.”