Preventing Maryland Traffic Accidents : Speeding Ticket Stats Shed Light on 10 MPH “Cushion” Drivers Add to Speed Limit

When you’re driving on the Baltimore Beltway, I-695, or any other heavily travelled Maryland interstate or highway — do you obey the posted speed limits? Or do you let your car or truck go 5 or 10 mph over, or maybe more — hoping Maryland state troopers and police officers don’t catch you and slap you with a speeding ticket? What about on our winding Maryland back roads? Do you slow down per the speed limit signs?

Baltimore County car accident injury lawyers like us know that speeding can be a deadly factor in Maryland auto crashes. Now an investigation by The Baltimore Sun sheds some light on Maryland driving patterns — and how fast drivers go before they get ticketed — based on speeding ticket data. Some “I can’t drive 65” motorists in Maryland believe they can add 10 mph to the posted speed limits, without prompting police to issue a traffic citation. The study took a look at that common driver belief with some interesting findings.

The Sun investigation looked at more than 272,000 speeding tickets given to Maryland drivers by state troopers or police during the 2011 fiscal year. (Automatic tickets issued by speed cameras, put in place in Baltimore and other urban areas to curb speed-related Maryland traffic and pedestrian accidents, were excluded from the study.) Of that amount, over 25 percent of tickets were issued to drivers traveling just 1 to 9 mph over the speed limit. That may come as a surprise to some Maryland drivers who think they’re safe if their speedometer says they’re just going a little bit too fast.

But Maryland law enforcers issued more than 43 percent of tickets to drivers who were going 10 to 19 mph over the posted speed limits. Who hasn’t driven on a Maryland highway — only to have some aggressive driver fly by in the passing lane, going what we can only guess is at least that much over the speed limit? Police officers ticketed that group of speeders the most.

What’s more alarming is over 26 percent of speeding tickets were issued to drivers going 20 to 29 mph over the speed limit. Topping out the group are the drivers we all hope we never encounter on Maryland back roads or highways: those going a jaw-dropping 30 to 39 mph over the speed limit (3.1% of tickets issued) and 40+ mph over the limit (.7% of tickets — which sounds minimal but still amounted to more than 2,000 traffic citations).

Speeding in Maryland comes at a cost. In addition to putting themselves and other Maryland motorists at risk for auto crashes, speeding drivers are fined at rates that go up as their gas pedals go down. The Sun reports that drivers cited for going 10 mph or less over the limit are fined $80 and issued one driver’s license point (Maryland MVA tracks driver moving violations — get enough and you’ll get warned, get more and your license is in jeopardy). Drivers going 10 to 19 mph over the limit get a $90 fine and two driver’s license point ($160 if the speed limit is 65 mph).

As we always say, drive defensively in Maryland. Save yourself and other motorists money and heartache. In 2010, speeding was a factor in 154 motor vehicle fatalities in Maryland (source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2006-2010).

Related Maryland Injury Attorney Articles:

Running on Red in Maryland : Would Longer Yellow Traffic Light Times Cut Down on Intersection Accidents? (April 2012)

Deterring Baltimore County Traffic Accidents: Speed Camera Laws Go Into Effect (Oct. 2009)


Maryland speeding ticket statistics complicate myth of 10 mph cushion
The Baltimore Sun July 20, 2012

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