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:
- I drive about 22,000 miles per year
- That’s 489 hours @ 45 MPH average
- I find it safe to speed about half that time – mostly on freeways
- 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?