• John R. Quain

Astounding Traffic Fines, Amazing Fees


What state has the highest fines for speeding? What state lets you text and drive?

Answers to these and other questions about the state of our states' traffic regulations are in a new report from GoCompare.com. (The UK-based site typically offers comparison advice for shoppers about services such as insurance and electrical utilities.)

According to the survey, Nevada is the most expensive state to speed in, based in each state's case on going 13 mph over the posted limit. Usually thought of as a free-to-speed desert (especially by Los Angelenos), tickets in Nevada can actually run as high as $1,000. That's not as ridiculous as it sounds when you consider that countries such as Finland and Switzerland have progressive or sliding scale fines based partly on the offender's income, which can in turn lead to fines costing tens of thousands of dollars.

New York is the second most expensive state in the survey for speeders with fines of $300. You are free to move about Alabama and Oklahoma more rapidly and only incur a $20 fine.

Readers should note, however, that your actual mileage, er, punishment may vary. I looked into a few of GoCompare's quoted fines, and while they're accurate, a lot depends on where and when you get caught. In Nevada, for example, it's technically possible to receive a $1,000 fine as a misdemeanor, but it varies, county to county. A typical ticket in Reno, for example, for going 11 to 19 mph over the limit is $220.

So which state is the most egregious offender when it comes to the scourge of our era, distracted driving due to smartphone use? Incredibly, Montana has no state law banning texting while driving. But again, after I checked, you should note that some towns in that state have their own laws and fines for doing same.

The toughest on distracted driving? Alaska where theoretically you can receive a maximum penalty of $10,000 (and time in jail) for Snapchatting while you're behind the wheel. (Although having driven there, you're often more likely to encounter a deer or a bear than another pickup on the road.)

Here are the top and bottom 5 states for speeding and texting fines:

Most Expensive States for Speeding

Nevada, $1,000

New York, $300

Mississippi, $300

Alaska, $300

Arizona, $250

Least Expensive States for Speeding

Oklahoma, $20

Alabama, $20

New Mexico, $30

Delaware, $33

Idaho, $33.50

Most Expensive States for Texting

Alaska, $10,000

Oregon, $1,000

Indiana, $500

Louisiana, $500

New Jersey, $400

Least Expensive States for Texting

Montana, $0

California, $20

Wisconsin, $20

Missouri, $20.50

Alabama, $25

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