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I am having a difficult time finding the average number of speeding citations/tickets issued per day, per state. How would one go about obtaining this crime data? It seems like it would be very easy to gather and publish.

The National Motorists Association says:

Traffic tickets are a multi-billion industry. They have virtually nothing to do with highway safety, but they have everything to do with money.

No one knows how many traffic tickets are actually issued. Many local units of government deliberately hide this information so they don’t have to split their traffic ticket revenue with the state.

I know that US government would not support or tolerate agencies deliberately hiding this information. Where do I get it?

  • It would be interesting to have this dataset with the location of the ticket. FYI Parking Tickets\Citations (impersonified) data for USA cities ; Speeding ticket cost. Are you only interested in the US? – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 14 '16 at 20:58
  • Well, yea because that's who I am subject to, along with my state which I'm afraid to mention. Interesting that the media hasn't published this... I wonder why they would not? Hmmm – Ron Royston Dec 15 '16 at 1:13
  • I think I saw such statistics in France. Some data are also available for the US e.g. burlingtonvt.gov/police/data/traffic but it'd be nice to have some higher level statistics. It's no mystery that in both countries speed tickets are pretty much a tax. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 15 '16 at 1:31
  • Wow, kudos to State of Vermont, Burlington atleast. That's a very nice Web application. – Ron Royston Dec 15 '16 at 1:49
  • Local/city,county, and state agencies issue speeding tickets. That's a lot of agencies to collect information from. Check NHTSA plus state highway patrols. – mkennedy Dec 15 '16 at 2:19
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After the repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit Law (55mph) of 1974 in 1995, control over the speed limits has returned to the individual states.

Each state has its own laws. Even each city and county have their own courts, which may dispose of cases in their own peculiar way.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does maintain what they call a "Summary of State Speed Laws - NHTSA", but it appears to be a rather basic complication of state laws, than a comprehensive analysis of how much revenue the tickets bring in.

So, basically, you can't get such data on the national level simply because there is no federal entity that's required to collect it.


As such, your best best is to look into state laws, and see what sort of information may be available in a given state.

In Florida, some cities were having so much of their budget tied up in the money they get from speeding tickets, that statewide revenue limits were deemed necessary. http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/local/florida/2015/12/14/bill-would-limit-revenue-from-traffic-tickets/77321342/

What you need to do if file a request under your state's Open Government / Open Records statute.

The problem, of course, is that whilst the governments are required to provide you with the information they have, there are many loopholes in the statutes; for example, if the information you want has an obscure codename, then unless you know such codename, you won't be able to receive such information.

Similarly, requirements to compile and itemise information from various departments and funding sources may vary by jurisdiction, so, the exact information of interest may simply not be available, especially if laws are not in place to guarantee its specific availability.

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FOIA (5 USC 552) pertains to federal information, which speeding tickets are not. Various states may, however, have analogs. Washington state for instance has RCW 42.56, under which you could compel a government agency to disclose information that they have. Since speeding is not a crime (setting aside certain extreme speeds which could be), it would not be included in general crime statistics. There are many law enforcement agencies who can issue speeding tickets (the state highway patrol; campus police; city police; the county sheriff), and at least in Washington, there is no law requiring a consolidation of that information at the state level. So you could construct a picture of the pattern in Washington by filing information requests of all of the relevant agencies, from which you could compute a daily average (assuming that's what you're interested in). You probably have to be specific about what offenses you're talking about (speeding, entering on red, failure to clear, illegal lane change, cell use, DUI etc.) -- some of those are crimes, and I would not assume that such counts are available especially for speeding in particular. If the local police have a running count of number of speeding tickets, then in a state with an information law that compels disclosure, they would have to tell you, but it might be in a 30 page report, and they can charge you 15 cents a page to copy the report, plus postage. In other words, they will comply if required to, but not happily.

These guys claim there are 41 million annual speeding tickets, averaging !152 each. However, they cite themselves as the source, so meh. This article claims that in Nevada there were 615,267 citations in 2010 and 484,913 in 2014 (how do they know? what are they counting?).

  • Google returned "In most states, a speeding violation is a criminal offense, or, at the very least, a "quasi-criminal offense," that is, an act that can be punished by the courts as though it is a crime." to "is speeding a crime". It's really shady to publish some crime statistics such as murders and rapes per city while deliberately not publishing other crimes. It's as if the media is not interested in filing the requests and it's left up to the common man. I guess the truth is that I'd probably hush my mouth, why tug on Superman's cape?... – Ron Royston Dec 15 '16 at 1:11

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