North Dakota lawmakers say speeding drivers should pay higher cost

Stateline Midwest ~ September 2012

If a driver in North Dakota gets stopped by police for driving 65 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone, he or she leaves the scene with a $10 fine. That amount is too low, an interim legislative committee has decided, as are many of the state’s penalties for speeding.

According to The Bismarck Tribune, the committee is backing a plan to increase many highway speeding fines by double or more. For example, the penalty for the aforementioned violation would rise from $10 to $50. During committee hearings, proponents of making these changes said North Dakota’s fines were no longer serving as an effective deterrent. The proposed changes will be taken up by the legislature in 2013.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2011 “Summary of State Speed Laws,” North Dakota’s fines for speeding fall between $5 and $100, depending on how fast the motorist was driving over the speed limit. This type of “fee scheduling” is common in state statutes — for example, speeding fines range from $60 to $625 in Iowa, $10 to $300 in Nebraska, and $30 to $300 in Wisconsin. Indiana, Kansas and South Dakota cap speeding fines at $500, Illinois at $1,000, and Ohio at $150. Conversely, Michigan’s statutory language sets minimum fine amounts — between $10 and $50.