Cost of a Speeding Ticket – Worth It?

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I received what I call an ‘excessive velocity tax’  – more commonly known as a speeding ticket – a couple of weeks ago on a charity road rally to Chicago and back.  I wasn’t really ripping down the road when I was pulled over (above picture).  In fact, both my navigator and I felt that we were merely moving at the speed of traffic.  Nonetheless, I got tagged with a $200 ticket for driving 72 in a 55 MPH speed zone.

The fact is, like most Americans (89%, according to Allstate), I generally speed above the limit almost wherever I feel it is safe to do so.  On uncrowded freeways, I generally cruise about 10-15 MPH above the limit, which is sometimes with the flow of traffic, but sometimes a bit faster.  I am not one of the clowns who weaves in-and-out of traffic WAY over the limit.  In fact, I wouldn’t speed at all if I felt that I was driving unsafely in any way and haven’t been in a car accident in the last 20 years.

It was the first speeding ticket I had gotten in about 15 years.  I’ve been pulled over and ‘warned’ a couple of times during that period of time, but was never ticketed.  With this ticket in hand, I started wondering what the ‘cost’ of speeding might be with speeding tickets being issued that infrequently.  Here’s the math I did:

  1. I drive about 22,000 miles per year
  2. That’s 489 hours @ 45 MPH average
  3. I find it safe to speed about half that time – mostly on freeways
  4. Driving 5 MPH slower on freeways adds 30.5 hours a year

Over the course of a decade, a $200 speeding ticket translates to just 65 cents an hour to speed.

How much is my time worth?  I’m not working and I wouldn’t be putting the time I’ve saved to any tremendously productive activity.  That said, I certainly think that my time is worth more than 65 cents an hour.    Even if I started getting tickets every 2-3 years the cost would still be less than $2 an hour.  I’m guessing I would continue to take the risk of getting a ticket, as long as I was driving safely.

Once again, I wouldn’t speed if I felt I was being unsafe.  On freeways, the faster traffic typically flows 10 MPH over the limit, and I cruise at that speed or 5 MPH faster.  Any readers done any math on the financials of their experience driving faster than allowed?

6 thoughts on “Cost of a Speeding Ticket – Worth It?

  1. Ha, that’s also a way to look at it! 🙂
    I just stick to the speed limit generally saver around here (one of the densest road network in the world). Saves a lot of gas too! Probably should factor that into the equation. When going 75mph instead of 65mph increases fuel consumption by about 10-15% in mpg (depending on model, road conditions, weather, etc.).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – Fuel economy would be another consideration. My ‘fun with numbers’ math would suggest that would add about 75 cents an hour to the equation. More significant than the speeding ticket, but still not a huge added cost.

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    • I thought about that, but my insurance didn’t go up as a result of the single ticket. I called our agency and they said it likely wouldn’t change since it was the first ticket I had in such a long time. Maybe I’ll find something on my next bill?

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  2. Very interesting way to think about speeding Mr. FireStation! I ran the numbers, and given my relatively long commute, I save about 28 hours a year by driving faster than the speed limit. I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in close to 20 years, but if/when it happens, I’ll gladly pay the price given how I value my time!

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