Speeding—many of us do it; many of us actually get away with it. But there are some places where the likelihood of getting caught is greater and the fines are much steeper. CNBC.com recently released a list of the top ten cities with the worst speed traps. You've been warned!
10. Los Angeles, CA
Speed Traps: 151
Many of LA's speed traps are on the boulevards in the valley, where the speed limit can be as low as 35mph. Anyone who has driven in LA knows that if you actually drove 35mph, people would yell at you and most likely run you down. It's also very difficult to fight a ticket in Los Angeles, considering the city is on the brink of bankruptcy.
9. Chicago, IL
Speed Traps: 153
In 1994, the Department of Transportation deemed the safest speed in the city to be 43mph. What is the posted limit? It's 30mph, further proving Dorsnife's point that the speed limits are not actually based on sound engineering studies and safety concerns. Be particularly careful when the entrance to Lake Shore Drive opens up into a six-lane highway. A half mile in, the speed limit is actually 40mph, so don't start to pick up your speed too quickly.
8. Dallas, TX
Speed Traps: 156
We all know that Texas has an independent spirit and likes to do things its own way, and this is especially true when it comes to speeding. Texas often parts ways with the federal laws (it's called a "home rule") and it's not uncommon for drivers to get tickets for going one mile over the posted limit or to find that a speed limit can change on one freeway three to four times within a few miles. Much of the time, police officers, not traffic engineers, vote on recommended speed limits.
7. Orlando, FL
Speed Traps: 165
With a gazillion (an unofficial number) visitors every year, Orlando benefits from lead-footed tourists. The worst places are Colonial Drive (SR 50), the Beachline (SR528), and I-4, especially downtown near the Millenia Mall. Orlando also got a jump on using red light cameras—they were using them before state law even permitted them. In the first three months, the cameras alone generated 700 tickets.
6. Denver, CO
Speed Traps: 165
Colorado, like Texas, also has a "home rule," so cities don't always have to comply with state laws. Because of this, some roads have much lower speed limits than have actually been deemed safe, as low as a 40mph speed limit on a road that's been proven to be safe at 55mph.
5. Jacksonville, FL
Speed Traps: 175
According to NMA, the National Motorists Association, a drivers' rights group, you are more likely to get a speeding ticket in Florida than any other state. Jacksonville is known for speed traps that ensnare multiple drivers at once, often by unmarked police cars. Some of the speed limit signs in Jacksonville don't even meet legal requirements for size, format, and shape.
4. Colorado Springs, CO
Speed Traps: 186
Unlike most cities, Colorado is very clear about what will happen to people who speed. There are posted penalties for going 1-4 miles over the limit, 5-9 miles over, and 10-19 miles over, up to 40 or more miles over. They also don't want to hear excuses—whether you meant to or not, you will be penalized for speeding.
3. Las Vegas, NV
Speed Traps: 187
According to Dornsife, speed traps are common on the highways leading into and out of the city. Even though DOT recommendations put these roads at 80mph, if you go even one mile over 70mph, you are practically begging for a ticket. Fighting tickets in court also seems to be a waste of time—Vegas has plenty of bills to pay and speeding tickets are great for the bottom line.
2. Austin, TX
Speed Traps: 189
In Austin, speeding tickets are as common as indie bands. There are serious speed traps at the northern and southern city limits, where you can be pulled over for only going three or four miles over the limit. And always save your paperwork—a driver on Speedtrap.org took a driver's education course to eliminate her ticket, only to have a clerk call her to tell her there was a warrant out for her arrest. Only the paperwork for the course saved her.
1. Houston, TX
Speed Traps: 373
They do things big in Texas and Houston is no exception with 373 speed traps, nearly double the amount in other cities. In March of 2010, when the economy was particularly bad, Houston police officers wrote about 3,000 tickets a day—which is 147 per hour! Watch for traps at the city limits and near attractions like the Astrodome.