These are the states that clearly have a need for speed.
When we drive, speeding can be one of the last things on our minds. Oftentimes, we’re focused on shaving a few minutes off of our commute because we’re late to work, or trying to reroute after taking a wrong turn. On top of that, speed limits are often variable, changing due to the type of road or to the regulations of a specific neighborhood. Combine all these factors, and it’s no surprise that speeding is one of the most common traffic violations.
To make matters worse, speeding is also one of the most dangerous violations. Seventeen percent of all drivers involved in vehicular crashes—both fatal and non-fatal—were speeding. What’s more, speeding caused 9,717 deaths in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Curious about which areas of the country might have the biggest problem with speeding drivers, the data scientists at Insurify turned to their database to find the states with the highest percentage of motorists with a speeding ticket on their driving record.
- National Averages: In total, 11.58 percent of drivers nationwide have at least one prior speeding ticket on their driving record. Additionally, 2.88 percent of motorists have suspended licenses. Lastly, on average there are 81673.50 miles of public roads in each state and each state has an average of 2,179,942 registered automobiles.
- East is Worst. Though the geographical placement of the states on the countdown was spread rather evenly throughout the country, it’s notable that the eastern half of the country was disproportionately represented in the top half of the list. In fact, each of the top four states is located to the east of Kansas and three of those four are on, or in very close proximity to, the east coast.
- Fewer Cars, More Room to Speed. It might be logical to think that states with fewer registered vehicles would have more speeding tickets. After all, fewer cars on the road may mean more room for speedy driving. Of course, that’s only half the story. A smaller, more congested state could have more crowded highways than a more spacious one with a higher number of cars. To investigate, the data science team at Insurify calculated the average number of registered vehicles per public road mile by state. As suspected, only three of the 10 states on the list had an average cars per road-mile figure exceeding the national average of 31.60.
To determine the states with the most speeding tickets, the data science team at Insurify collected information from its database of over two million car insurance applications, including any speeding tickets since 2010. The team compared the number of drivers with a speeding ticket against the total population to determine the share of speeders in each state. Data on the percentage of drivers with a suspended license also was collected from Insurify’s database, while numbers on the total number of public road miles and registered automobiles in each state comes from the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
States With the Most Speeding Tickets
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 14.65%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 4.18%
- Total number of public road miles: 52,437
- Total number of registered automobiles (2017): 550,006
Kicking off our countdown is Idaho. The Gem State has the third-fewest number of public road miles of any state on the list, despite being the 11th largest state by total square area. With roads that few and far between, traffic can be hard to come by. Boise, the largest city in the state, is just the 96th-biggest city in the country by population. A lack of urban areas means more rural roads and highways—perfect thoroughfares for speeding.
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- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 14.75%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 3.65%
- Total number of public road miles: 88,818
- Total number of registered automobiles: 1,785,058
Colorado, which checks in at number nine on this ranking, has both absolute speed limits—which penalize drivers who are caught going even one mile above the posted limit—and “presumed speeding limits.” These presumed limits can still result in fines or even jail time if you are driving too quickly, but offer accused drivers the opportunity to defend their case in court and prove they were driving at a reasonable speed. Nevertheless, nearly 15 percent of drivers in The Centennial State have a speeding ticket on their driving record.
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 15.1%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 2.49%
- Total number of public road miles: 4,476
- Total number of registered automobiles: 512,386
Perhaps due to the fact that the state is comprised of five islands, Hawaii has the fewest number of public road miles of any state. However, The Aloha State also boasts the most crowded roads of the states on the list, sporting an average of 114.47 registered automobiles per public road mile. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that Hawaii cracks the top 10, but 15.1 percent of drivers have a speeding ticket on their record.
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- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 15.36%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 3.03%
- Total number of public road miles: 30,430
- Total number of registered automobiles: 193,523
In Wyoming, speeding is classified as a misdemeanor offense and carries a fine of up to $200, as well as a potential stay in jail. Repeated offenses will hurt an offender’s wallet even more, with third offenses potentially requiring drivers to pay $750, as well as a maximum of six months in jail. Even so, Wyoming has a percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket and suspended license well above the national average.
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 15.78%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 3.95%
- Total number of public road miles: 115,457
- Total number of registered automobiles: 2,092,584
One of four midwest states in the top 10, Wisconsin also has the third-most registered automobiles out of the states in the countdown. It also has a license suspension rare 37 percent higher than the national average, and a speeding rate 36 percent greater than the national mean.
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5. North Dakota
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 16.06%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 6.43%
- Total number of public road miles: 87,688
- Total number of registered automobiles: 276,545
North Dakota has the second-fewest registered automobiles of any state in the top 10, perhaps due, in part, to a small population. The Peace Garden State has the second smallest population and the least crowded roads of any state. With just 3.15 registered automobiles per mile, there may be plenty of room for drivers to speed.
4. South Carolina
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 16.55%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 2.9%
- Total number of public road miles: 77,364
- Total number of registered automobiles: 353,180
South Carolina is one of two East Coast states in the top 10, with a speeding rate nearly 43 percent above the national average. Moreover, the speeding problem isn’t contained to just one area of the state. According to additional data from the Insurify database, in three cities—Barnwell, Clinton, and Clemson—more than 22 percent of drivers have a speeding ticket. This would put all three among the 10 worst cities nationwide in terms of speeding.
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 17.3%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 6.23%
- Total number of public road miles: 122,987
- Total number of registered automobiles: 4,605,459
Kicking off the top three is Ohio, which has the most registered automobiles of any state on the list. Ohio is also one of the most crowded in the ranking, with 37.40 registered cars per public road mile. Nevertheless, over 17 percent of Buckeye State residents have a speeding ticket on their driving record.
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 17.55%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 4.35%
- Total number of public road miles: 114,637
- Total number of registered automobiles: 1,268,996
Iowa, in comparison to some other states in the top 10, has mild speeding laws. The maximum base amount a first offender can be fined for driving too quickly is $100. That penalty only goes into effect for drivers who exceed the limit by 20 miles per hour—though $5 are added for each additional mile over the limit. For comparison, a first offense in Wyoming carries penalties of around $200. One would have to drive 40 miles above the speed limit to incur a $200 penalty in Iowa. Those lenient laws may contribute to why Iowa has the second-highest percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket of any of the 10 states.
- Percentage of drivers with a speeding ticket: 17.73%
- Percentage of drivers with a suspended license: 5.32%
- Total number of public road miles: 75,238
- Total number of registered automobiles: 3,251,339
Taking the top spot on the countdown is Virginia. In fact, Martinsville, Staunton, and Danville—three of the five cities in the United States with the highest shares of drivers who have been caught speeding—are in Virginia. Interestingly enough, Virginia does have fairly strict monetary penalties for speeding drivers. Offenders are required to pay $251 plus $8 for each mile per hour over the speed limit they were driving. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough to stop motorists from driving too quickly.
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