Here are the Best and Worst States for Speeding Infractions, Ranked

Turns out, you really don’t wanna get caught driving recklessly in Oregon.

byChris Tsui|
Culture photo


Look, we all know that driving recklessly and excessive speed on a public road is almost always a bad idea. However, as car enthusiasts, we'd be lying if we said there weren't occasions in which we found ourselves getting a little carried away. The laws that govern and punish such behavior can vary wildly from state to state but luckily for us, the folks at WalletHub have compiled traffic law data on all 50 states and the District of Columbia, ranking them from the most lenient to the most strict when it comes to speeding and reckless driving. 

According to the publication, speeding was a contributing factor in 27 percent of all car-related deaths from 2016. What's more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that speed-related collisions rack up a total "cost to society" bill of $40.4 billion a year. 

Researchers compiled their list by assigning each state a score based on stats such as the speed at which "speeding" becomes "reckless driving," the average insurance rate hike after one speeding ticket, maximum fines and jail times for reckless driving, minimum fines and jail times for reckless driving, and the presence of automatic speed cameras, among others.

While the full, detailed results can be found at WalletHub, here are least and most punitive states for reckless drivers:


  1. Delaware
  2. Colorado
  3. Arizona
  4. New Mexico
  5. California
  6. Oregon
  7. North Carolina
  8. Illinois
  9. Virginia
  10. Alabama
  11. Washington

Most Lenient

  1. Texas
  2. Mississippi
  3. Oklahoma
  4. New Jersey
  5. Nebraska
  6. South Carolina
  7. Ohio
  8. Montana
  9. Kentucky
  10. Wisconsin
  11. Michigan
  12. New Hampshire
  13. Massachusetts

Taking a gander at the heat map WalletHub also put together, we can see that states residing in the country's geographic spine have a tendency towards leniency with Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Nebraska occupying four out of the bottom five spots. Not too surprising given the region's sparse population density and long, uninterrupted stretches of road.

Another interesting tidbit is the vast difference between the country's most expensive reckless driving ticket and the cheapest. While the national average sits at a comfortably-punitive-but-not-ruinously-so $845, those caught being a hoon in the state of Oregon can face a $6,250 fine, the highest in the country. That's a lot of track day fees. Meanwhile, drivers slapped with the same ticket in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, or Ohio are fined $100. 

WalletHub's study offers a lot more background and insights and is definitely worth a closer look. Might even prove useful for your next Cannonball Run record attempt. Um, not that we'd officially condone such things.

All cheekiness aside, reckless driving and excessive speed is no joke. If you wanna go fast, take it to the track. No adrenaline rush is worth the potential legal, medical, and fatal consequences.