About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:

Obey Your Traffic Laws (From The Five Minute Money Manager)

By David Bakke

save money on drivingA co-worker of mine recently came into work with one of those viral emails that stated that our local law enforcement was going to pull over one driver for every hour they worked for various traffic violations starting in the month of September. The message stated that the government would raise $8 million in revenues based on this project.

I immediately dismissed the whole thing as a bunch of crap, and teased her about it for the next several days.

As it turns out, there may have been some truth to the matter. I did notice more police officers in my part of town, and sure enough, I was recently pulled over and cited for not wearing my seat belt.

Before I go on, let me tell you for the record that I wear my seatbelt 99.99% of the time. I was late for an appointment and just forgot to put it on. They stopped me less than a quarter of a mile from my home. I was unlucky.

After I got home later, I looked it up and found out that it was only a $15 fine. Not that this amount has much to do with this post, but I found it quite odd that a violation for not wearing a seat belt was only $15.

It actually made me think that if more people knew that it was only a $15 fine, then possibly, less people would actually wear their seat belt. Fifteen dollars just doesn’t seem like much of a deterrent to me.

But then I also got to thinking that if I really knew what the fines were for some other traffic laws that I have been known to “bend” in the past, then it might motivate me to adhere more to these laws.

I decided to do some research. This is what I was able to find out for my jurisdiction of Atlanta, GA:

  • Speeding Tickets: There is no set amount, but the average amount per ticket is between $145 and $325. I would love to hear in our comment section how this ranks among other states because to me, it’s steep! But of course, maybe that’s good because it’s quite a deterrent.
  • Running a Red Light: A whopping $70 for running a red-light.
  • Not Wearing Seat Belt: As stated, a mere $15.
  • Talking On Cell Phone: What I learned here was very interesting. Talking on your cell phone while driving in and of itself is not a crime in Atlanta (unless you’re under 18), however, doing this while committing another violation is. So, basically, Georgia has bypassed waiting for the actual law to pass. The fine is $150.

Georgia also introduced the Super Speeder Law at the beginning of this year. Basically, it means that if you are caught driving over 75 MPH on any two-lane road, then you will be hit with an additional $200 fine. Two hundred dollars. They can also tack this on if caught going over 85 MPH anywhere. So, “super speeders” beware.

So What’s The Point?

Given all this information, it makes sense for you to take the time to figure out the penalties for violating various traffic laws. After all, why find out the hard way? If you don’t follow the speed limit, but you find out that doing so could cost you $200, then wouldn’t you want to know on the front end so you can re-think the way that you drive? Or if you like to talk on your cell phone, but don’t know that the fine is $150, then you’re never likely to stop, right?

All I can say is this. I’ve been known to creep a little over the speed limit from time to time, but no more. All the other stuff I never really stepped over the line on because safety, or the lack thereof, was a big enough deterrent, but you can forget about me speeding again.

Would knowing the penalties for certain traffic law violations act as a deterrent for you? As always, your comment and suggestions are appreciated.

photo credit: 98706376@N00)

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

Related Articles

  • Marjorie W

    Where I live in NY, you get fees added on to fines, starting at $85.

    • David

      Marjorie

      Sometimes, they’ll get you any way they can…..

      Thanks for joining in!

  • http://www.savings.com/blog/blog.html Stella

    In CA we have a “hands-free” law–but it’s only $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent. More than four years after the fact, I still see tons of drivers yakking on their cell phones while they drive. So dangerous. They really should increase the fine…

    • David/moneycrashers

      Stella

      I am in total agreement.

      Look, I’m never going to ask for bigger traffic fines, but if they want cell phone use while driving to stop, then they need to make it (the fine) a bigger deterrent.

      Thanks for joining in!

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.
Close