Drivers who like to speed might be interested to know that North Dakota was recently ranked by Popular Mechanics as the best state to get caught speeding in.
Fines in the state are as low as $10 for driving 10 mph above the speed limit. But the recognition, Adrian Glass-Moore wrote for Forum News Service Dec. 12, is one “that some in law enforcement say should not make the state proud.”
“[The fine] is really more of an inconvenience that the person was stopped, as opposed to them having any type of, you know, punitive action,” said West Fargo Police Chief Mike Reitan.
And even on the highways, where tickets are a bit higher, North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson says that drivers are often surprised at how little they’ll end up paying.
He told Glass-Moore of one occurrence in which he stopped the same driver four times between Valley City and Dickinson. The time, Iverson said, “was worth more to him than … the fine that he was going to pay. And he made that blatantly obvious.”
“That’s kind of a rare exception,” he admitted, “but it does happen.”
The True Costs of Speeding
Of course, there are other factors drivers should consider before writing off the costs of speeding, even in North Dakota.
Auto insurance premiums tend to go up with every speeding ticket — something that young people prone to fast and reckless driving should remember, especially as drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 have the highest auto insurance rates already.
The public cost of speeding, since speeding contributes to so many crashes, is about $40.4 billion annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And finances aside, speeding is a factor in 30% of fatal auto accidents.
Reitan thinks raising fines would encourage people to drive more safely. “When you look at, or have conversations with, individuals that go to Minnesota or South Dakota, they change their driving behavior and drive more cautiously,” he said.
Iverson, too, said it’s probably best to update fine amounts to deter dangerous speeding. “It’s important, too, that we are at least maybe staying with inflation,” he added. “A $20 citation back in the ’70s, you know, probably hurt a little bit.”
Inflation affects the public costs of administering citations, too. As it stands, a $10 ticket costs Reitan’s department more than its face value to process.