In the United States, 10.5% of drivers nationwide have a speeding ticket on their record. These tickets can be costly — not simply in terms of the cost of the ticket itself, but also for insurance rates. Forbes Advisor found that a speeding ticket can jack up a driver’s insurance by an average of 24%, or close to $400 per year.
Ever since 1896, when Englishman Walter Arnold got the first speeding ticket for driving 8 mph in a 2 mph zone, drivers have had problems with lead feet. Speed limits exist to keep traffic moving at a safe speed. That speed can vary depending on the type of road you’re driving on and the density of the area.
Traditionally, states set their own speed limits, though for a time in the 1970s and 1980s, a national law invoked by the Nixon Administration set speed limits at 55 mph throughout the country. Fittingly, the enforcement of this law inspired Sammy Hagar to write “I Can’t Drive 55” after the singer was pulled over for speeding on I-87 in New York. This statute was later amended to allow speeds up to 65 mph before being completely repealed in 1995, handing authority to set speed limits back to the states.
Speeding can be a major factor in car crashes; the faster a car is traveling, the more likely a crash will turn deadly. In 2020, the National Safety Council found that speeding contributed to 29% of all traffic fatalities, killing 11,258 people—an average of 30 lives lost to excess speed every day.
RateGenius compiled a list of the states with the highest percentage of drivers with speeding tickets based on 2021 data from car insurance platform Insurify. The dataset is built from a database of over 2.9 million car insurance applications, which include disclosures on the driver’s state of residence and driving history. The maximum speed limit data also included in this list comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and is specific to urban interstates. Outside of urban areas, speed limits may be higher.
These top speeders come from all over the U.S. Three of the top 10 states are along the East Coast, four are in the Midwest, and the remaining three are in the West — proving that the need for speed is not a regional impulse, but a decidedly American one. So, with one foot on the break and one on the gas, read on to see where America’s biggest speeders come from.