A new online study shows that after factoring in the costs of increased insurance premiums, the true cost of getting a speeding ticket in Virginia comes out to nearly 2.4 times more than the cost of the actual ticket.
The study also lists—perhaps not surprisingly—several Northern Virginia locales as the most expensive areas in the state to be cited with a speeding ticket.
According to the study by consumer finance site NerdWallet.com, the average commute in Virginia takes 27.9 minutes, which is the sixth longest commute in the nation. With longer commutes come more opportunities to get a speeding ticket.
According to the Fairfax County General District Court website, drivers who get caught speeding in Virginia must pay a fine that includes $6 for each mile over the speed limit, plus court costs of $62 for a traffic violation, which results in a total fine of $152 for driving 15 miles per hour over a posted speed limit.
But the cost of speeding does not end with the fine.
According to the Nerdwallet.com study, once convicted of speeding, Virginia drivers’ insurance costs normally increase by an average of $64.95 per year for the next three years.
“The true cost of a speeding ticket in Virginia averages 2.38 times the cost of the actual ticket,” the study states.
Using this formula, Virginia drivers pay a state average of $361.76 in total for a $152 speeding ticket.
The study claims that generally, the insurance premium percentage increase Virginians face after a speeding ticket is consistent across the state—they pay about 7 percent more for the next three years.
The disparity among Virginia municipalities in terms of dollar increases can be primarily attributed to the different insurance rates drivers pay from city to city.
Falls Church drivers, for example, pay some of the highest insurance premiums in the state.
The study says that it should come as no surprise that its proximity to D.C. raises Falls Church drivers’ insurance rates--both before and after a ticket—primarily because of traffic.
According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, D.C. has the worst traffic congestion in the country, with its residents spending more time in traffic than those in New York, San Francisco and even Los Angeles. Those in Falls Church pay the price for being within commuting distance of the nation’s capital.
Taking this into consideration, according to the study the true cost of a $152 speeding ticket in Falls Church comes out to $366.26, the sixth highest figure in Virginia. “As a Washington, D.C. suburb, their average annual insurance increase is $71.42, or a total of $214.26 over three years,” the study states.
Just west of Falls Church, City of Fairfax drivers face a slightly lower insurance increase after a speeding ticket. However, its rates are very similar to Falls Church overall.
“Before a ticket, drivers can expect to pay an average of $950.90 in annual premiums. After, they’ll be charged around $1,021.55, or $70.65 more,” the study states.
Fairfax is listed as number 7 on the study’s list of Virginia cities where it is most expensive to get a ticket.
According to the study, like many of Northern Virginia’s suburbs, Fairfax residents are likely to be wealthier than the state average. The community’s median income is almost twice that of the state average, and the unemployment rate is only 4.1 percent. Still, because of their proximity to D.C., drivers in Fairfax will pay much more in terms of insurance premiums than they might in a well-to-do town in another part of the Commonwealth. For more information about the study, go to www.nerdwallet.com.