Cops here are the worst.
This seems to be the lamentation of anyone who’s ever been pulled over for speeding and not let go with a warning. Generally mumbling some kind of profanity and using the word “redneck” and “power trip” a few times before googling the phone number for the Ticket Clinic.
In fairness, a cop giving you a ticket is doing their job, even if that job includes sitting 100 yards past a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit sign at the end of a highway. But some states are far more aggressive about giving speeding tickets than others. To find out exactly which ones are the worst, Yonkers Honda — an auto dealership in Yonkers, New York — studied data from the last years available in 48 states (Louisiana and Arkansas didn’t want to play) to see who was handing out the most.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is also the land of almost 200,000 speeding tickets, as the state dished out over 189,000 infractions in 2017. That’s 332.57 per 10,000 residents. Or 18.9 per lake.
19. New York
While sitting in unmoving traffic on the George Washington Bridge, you might find it hard to believe anyone could get up enough speed to get a ticket in New York. Then you’d forget that the rest of the state is made up of large swaths of empty land, perfect for cops to hand out over 712,000 speeding tickets in 2016. That’s 335 per 10,000 residents.
When much of your state smells like a feedlot, it’s tempting for drivers to try and speed through as quickly as possible. But perhaps invest in some CBD oil to put under your nose instead, as Nebraska troopers handed out over 61,000 citations in 2015. Or about 360 per 10,000 people.
Careful on those scenic mountain roads! Not only is speeding through them illegal, but it’s also dangerous, especially in the winter. Cops here wrote 61,653 speeding tickets in 2016, or nearly 375 per 10,000.
Cruising out over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and onto Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore, it’s easy to lose track of your speed and end up with a picturesque view of flashing lights. Almost 215,000 people had this enchanting experience in 2016, about 400 per 10,000 residents.
Anyone who’s driven in Florida has to wonder how FHP doled out only 704,000 speeding tickets in 2016. Then again, when you’re busy chasing people who ride alligators down the street, or drive cars that double as swingers clubs, sometimes speeding takes a back seat.
Interestingly, Hawaii is also the strictest state in the nation on jaywalkers, as it’s usually near the top in pedestrian accidents as well. Stopping 60,455 speeders in 2015 probably helps things along too. Though no word on how many of those were off-island drivers.
Yes, everyone is in that much of a hurry to get from New York to the Mid-Atlantic. So even if you don’t stop for gas or lunch, Delaware’s getting your money somehow, handing out 47,473 speeding tickets in 2015. That’s the most tickets per square mile of any state in the US.
Another small (by size) state handing out big tickets is Connecticut, where cops cited 147,361 speeders in 2016. That’s a smidge under 500 per 10,000 residents. This is why it’s always better to commute by train.
Tempted to blow through cornfields as fast as humanly possible during your big summer road trip? Not so… fast, pal. Iowa troopers stopped more people total for speeding than Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, and a slew of other big states, writing 148,755 tickets in 2016.
The first thing one notices when driving in Utah is how the normally painfully polite people of the Beehive State turn into hyper-aggressive maniacs as soon as they get behind the wheel of their nine-seat SUVs. Perhaps it’s pent-up aggression from being so nice all the time, but Utah had 504.5 speeding tickets per 10,000 residents in 2017. Though they were all very nice when they got pulled over.
9. South Dakota
South Dakota has the best collection of roadside attractions in America, from the famous Wall Drug to ghost towns to Dinosaur parks. State troopers, however, are not one of them. So stop and enjoy the attractions, lest you become one of the nearly 50,000 people who got speeding tickets here in 2016.
8. North Carolina
Take your shirt off, wave it round your head like a helicopter, but just make sure you’re not driving too fast when you do it. The Tar Heel State wrote over half a million speeding tickets in 2017, good for fifth-most overall and 534 per 10,000 residents.
The desert is an easy place to lose track of your speed, and while New Mexico doesn’t seem to hand out speeding tickets with the same fervor, Arizona takes full advantage, citing 264,000 speeders in 2016. The Roadrunner, despite Wile E. Coyote’s best efforts, still has yet to be pulled over.
Things are supposed to move a little slower in the South, an ethos Mississippi police are happy to enforce handing out almost 600 speeding tickets per 10,000 residents. That number, however, is from 2013 because, again, everything moves slower in the South.
With no state income tax, Washington’s gotta pay for all those cool ferries somehow. Ticket revenue is a big one, with 2015 seeing almost 417,000 speeding tickets in Washington, over 610 per 10,000 residents.
The state with the most speeding tickets per capita is Georgia, where state troopers wrote the fourth-most in the country at just over 601,000. The only states who wrote more were California, New York, and Florida, each with a population at least double the Peach State’s.
People who say dumb stuff like “I drive slower when I’m high” haven’t seen the numbers from Oregon, where America’s “greenest” state still managed to have 322,871 speeding tickets in 2015, the year after recreational marijuana was made legal. There’s probably no connection between the two, except that the state is making a whole lot of money off both.
2. South Carolina
With only five million people, South Carolina wrote the most tickets per capita of any state with a seven-figure population. In 2015 police wrote 388,631 speeding tickets, or roughly 825 per 10,000 people.
Interesting how in a state with large stretches of road where the speed limit is 80 miles an hour, over 42,000 people still managed to get ticketed for speeding. That might not seem like a lot, but it was still 903 tickets per 10,000 people. Quite the distinction for a state so sparsely populated.