In Finland, fines for driving infractions play out a little differently than in the United States. How much you’re fined is determined by how much you earn, so the wealthy walk away from speed infractions to the tune of hundreds of dollars, while the less fortunate often get a slap on the wrist.
Here in the U.S., your home state or municipality determines how severely you’re punished if you’re caught speeding, not your income. And if you’re caught speeding, you may face another financial penalty – your car insurance rates could skyrocket.
"Typically if you have a speeding ticket where you were going 15 mph or more over the limit, you can expect at least a 10 percent increase," says Bill Van Jura, an insurance broker based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. And if you're speeding more than that, you can expect even higher increases.
While all states will punish speeding, some have stricter punishments than others. Here are 5 states with tough speeding laws.
In 2010, the state of Georgia cracked down on speeding drivers by initiating the Super Speeder law. If you’re caught and convicted of driving at 75 mph or faster on any two-lane road or 85 mph and faster anywhere in Georgia, you’ll have to pay out an addition $200 fee on top of the local speeding fine. Local fines typically cost between $100 and $300. If you don't pay the Super Speeder fee within four months, you'll rack up another $50 fine and your driver's license will be suspended.
The law was created to save lives on Georgia roads by slowing down speeders. Also, the $200 Super Speeder fee goes to fund Georgia trauma center hospitals where approximately 60 percent of trauma patients have been involved in auto crashes.
In Kentucky, if you're caught speeding 26 mph or more over the limit on any road or highway, you can face a possible 90-day suspension of your driving privileges. A court hearing will determine your suspension.
“(Speeders may be fined) up to $100, plus they’ll pay additional court costs of $143. So you're approaching $250 just from the ticket itself," says Brad Groene, a criminal and traffic defense lawyer in Cincinnati, and licensed attorney in Kentucky. If you’re convicted, the conviction stays on your record for five years if you're a regular driver and 10 years for drivers of commercial vehicles.
In Virginia, certain speeding offenses may be classified and charged as reckless driving. Any instance in which a person is driving 80 mph or more -- regardless of the posted speed limit -- is considered reckless driving, as is driving 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit.
And the consequences can be very serious. "If you're convicted (of reckless driving) you could face six points on your driving record, a potential fine up to $2,500, a possible jail sentence up to 12 months, and a potential driver's license suspension," says Raj Dua, a criminal defense attorney in Fairfax, Va. Your DMV record will show the reckless driving conviction for 11 years, which could impact your employment and car insurance rates during that time.
Driving 30 mph over the speed limit in Illinois won’t just net you a traffic ticket -- it's considered a criminal offense. If you’re caught going this fast, you might spend up to one year in jail and pay a fine of up to $2,500.
Also, if you’re caught driving this fast, you may be taken to jail while your car is towed. You'll be processed, have to bond out, or post bail and be given a court date. If you have an otherwise poor driving record, this could lead to a longer period in jail. If your record is clean, a good attorney may be able to reduce your fines and other penalties like probation and jail time.
In Missouri, if you're caught speeding 25 mph over the posted limit, you're automatically given a court date. The base fine starts at $100 and a judge declares additional fines, court costs and/or probation or jail time at his or her discretion. In October 2012, St. Louis County alone issued 209 tickets for drivers speeding 20 to 25 mph over the limit.
Some people think refusing to sign a traffic ticket will eliminate your obligation to appear in court. But once the trooper gives you a copy of the citation, you have been served with a summons to appear. Failure to show up is a violation of the law, which may result in additional charges.