Topic:
TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS; CRIMINAL STATISTICS; LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS; TRANSPORTATION SAFETY;
Location:
TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS;

OLR Research Report


November 4, 2004

 

2004-R-0838

STATE POLICE ENFORCEMENT - SPEEDING AND RECKLESS DRIVING

By: Janet L. Kaminski, Associate Legislative Attorney

You asked for state police enforcement statistics for speeding and reckless driving from 2001 to present and information on fines for such transgressions.

SUMMARY

State law establishes speed limits and prohibits motor vehicle operators from traveling unreasonably fast, speeding, or driving recklessly. Traveling unreasonably fast is an infraction. Speeding is an infraction, unless a person is driving a truck, in which case it is a violation. Reckless driving is a crime.

A person commits an infraction when he breaks a law for which a court appearance is not required and fines may be paid by mail or in person. The maximum fine for an infraction is $90. Unless specified as an infraction by statute, an offense for which a fine is the only sentence authorized is a violation. A person who commits a violation must pay a maximum fine of $500 or plead not guilty in court. An offense for which a court may impose a fine, imprisonment, or both is a crime. Any person convicted of reckless driving is subject to a $100 to $300 fine, up to 30 days imprisonment, or both for the first offense and up to a $600 fine, up to one year imprisonment, or both for each subsequent offense.

Superior Court judges establish and maintain a schedule of fines for infractions and certain motor vehicle violations, including a sliding scale of fines for speeding. In addition to a fine, additional fees, costs, and surcharges may apply for traveling unreasonably fast, speeding, or reckless driving.

The Connecticut Department of Public Safety's Crime Analysis Unit tracks certain statistics related to tickets and citations issued for infractions, violations, and crimes. The Connecticut Judicial Branch tracks the disposition of cases brought to court, including the number of arrests made per crime.

From 2001 to 2003, total state police-issued: (a) traveling unreasonably fast tickets increased from 8,745 to 14,579; (b) speeding tickets decreased from 88,850 to 76,693; and (c) reckless driving citations increased from 1,447 to 1,687. Due to a system migration, 2003 data specific to commercial vehicles is incomplete or not available. In 2001, state police issued the following to commercial vehicle drivers: (a) 57 traveling unreasonably fast tickets; (b) 1,411 speeding tickets; and (c) 42 reckless driving citations.

DEFINITIONS

Traveling Unreasonably Fast

A person travels unreasonably fast when he operates his vehicle at a greater rate of speed than is reasonable without speeding, as defined below (CGS 14-218a).

Speeding

A person who drives his vehicle 56 thru 70 miles per hour (m.p.h.) on a multiple lane, limited access highway or 56 thru 60 m.p.h. on all other highways commits a speeding infraction, except truck drivers, who commit a speeding violation. A person who drives at a rate of speed that endangers a vehicle occupant's life commits a speeding violation. A person who drives 71 thru 85 m.p.h. on a multiple lane, limited access highway or 60 to 85 m.p.h. on all other highways commits a speeding violation (CGS 14-219).

Reckless Driving

A person who drives his vehicle greater than 85 m.p.h. commits the crime of reckless driving (CGS 14-222).

TICKETS, CITATIONS, AND ARRESTS

The Connecticut Department of Public Safety's Crimes Analysis Unit tracks certain statistics related to tickets and citations issued for infractions, violations, and crimes. During 2002 and 2003, the unit implemented new computer-aided dispatching and records management systems. During this time, data was entered into two separate systems, which may affect the figures reported. Also, while the prior data system tracked commercial vehicle drivers' moving violations by distinct categories, the new system does not. Instead, it captures enforcement data for commercial vehicles as one number (e.g., showing all moving violations and equipment violations together as one number). Therefore, specific and complete speeding and reckless driving data for commercial vehicles is not available for 2003 and later.

Table 1 contains the total number of tickets and citations the Connecticut State Police issued since 2001 for traveling unreasonably fast, speeding, and reckless driving.

Table 2 contains the number of tickets and citations the Connecticut State Police issued since 2001 to commercial vehicle drivers for traveling unreasonably fast, speeding, and reckless driving, subject to the data reporting limitations described above.

Table 3 contains the total number of reckless driving arrests all Connecticut police authorities made since 2001, according to the Connecticut Judicial Branch.

Table 1: Total Tickets and Citations Issued by State Police

Year

Traveling Unreasonably Fast ( 14-218a)

Speeding

(14-219)

Reckless Driving ( 14-222)

2001

8,745

88,850

1,447

2002

12,605

89,022

2,125

2003

14,579

76,693

1,687

2004 YTD

10,861

78,513

1,550

Source: Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police

Table 2: Tickets and Citations Issued to Commercial Vehicles by State Police

Year

Traveling Unreasonably Fast

( 14-218a)

Speeding

(14-219)

Reckless Driving ( 14-222)

2001

57

1,411

42

2002

9

1,444

56

2003

NA

1,129*

23*

2004 YTD

NA

NA

NA

Source: Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police

NA Not Available

* Partial data only due to system migration

Table 3: Total Reckless Driving Arrests

Year

Reckless Driving Arrests ( 14-222)

2001

7,185

2002

7,391

2003

6,445

2004 YTD

5,441

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch

FINES AND ADDITIONAL MONEY OWED

The maximum fine for an infraction is $90 (CGS 51-164n). For a violation, it is $500 (CGS 53a-43). Traveling unreasonably fast is an infraction (CGS 14-218a). Speeding is an infraction, unless a person is driving a truck, in which case it is a violation (CGS 14-219). Superior Court judges establish and maintain a schedule of fines for infractions and certain motor vehicle violations, including a sliding scale of fines for speeding (CGS 51-164m).

Reckless driving is a crime. By law, any person convicted of reckless driving is subject to a $100 to $300 fine, up to 30 days imprisonment, or both for the first offense and up to a $600 fine, up to one year imprisonment, or both for each subsequent offense (CGS 14-222).

In addition to the fine imposed, the following additional fees, costs, and surcharges may apply:

1. A Special Transportation Fund surcharge equal to 50% of the fine (CGS 13b-70);

2. A fee equal to 100% of the fine if the act is committed within a designated highway construction zone or utility work zone (CGS 14-212a);

3. A fee equal to 100% of the fine if the act is committed within a designated school zone (CGS 14-212b);

4. A fee of $1 for each $8 of the fine to fund police training (CGS 51-56a);

5. A prosecution cost of $15 (CGS 54-143);

6. A General Fund surcharge of $20 per nolo contendere (no contest) plea and certain violations or infractions and $35 per infraction that is subject to a fine of $35 or more (CGS 54-143a, as amended by PA 03-1, 104, June 30, 2003 Special Session and PA 03-6, 165, June 30, 2003 Special Session); and

7. A $5 Brain Injury Prevention and Services Fund surcharge (PA 04-199, 39, effective October 1, 2004).

Tables 4 through 8 contain the monetary penalties for traveling unreasonably fast and speeding. The “total amount due” includes fines and all additional amounts established by statute as of October 1, 2003. The schedule, which has not yet been revised to include the new brain injury surcharge, is available on the Judicial Branch web site at http://www.jud.state.ct.us/Publications/Infractions/infractions.pdf.

Table 4: Traveling Unreasonably Fast Infraction ( 14-218a)

Miles Per Hour Over Posted Speed Limit

Total $ Amount Due

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction, Utility, or School Zone

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction or Utility Zone and a School Zone

0 but too fast for conditions

93

128

163

1 – 9

93

128

163

10

98

140

180

11

107

151

195

12

113

161

209

13

120

172

223

14

126

182

238

15

133

193

253

16

139

203

267

17

146

214

282

18

152

224

296

19

159

235

311

20

165

245

325

21

172

256

340

22

178

266

354

23 and over

181

271

361

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch

Table 5: Driving to Endanger an Occupant's Life ( 14-219(a)(1))

Vehicle

Total $ Amount Due

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction, Utility, or School Zone

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction or Utility Zone and a School Zone

Motor vehicles other than trucks

198

298

398

Trucks

279

429

579

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch

Table 6: Speeding Infraction** (14-219(b))

Miles Per Hour Over Posted Speed Limit

Total $ Amount Due

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction, Utility, or School Zone

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction or Utility Zone and a School Zone

1 – 9

108

143

178

10

115

155

195

11

122

166

210

12

128

176

224

13

135

187

239

14

141

197

253

15

148

208

268

16

154

218

282

17

161

229

297

18

167

239

311

19

174

250

326

20

180

260

340

21

187

271

355

22

193

281

369

23 and over

196

286

376

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch

** Driving 56 thru 70 m.p.h. on a multiple lane, limited access highway and 56 thru 60 m.p.h. on all other highways is an infraction. Driving 61 thru 85 m.p.h. on other than a multiple lane, limited access highway is a violation, for which the police will issue the above fine on a misdemeanor/moving violation summons ticket instead of an infractions ticket (CGS 14-219(c)(2)).

Table 7: Speeding Violation – Excludes Trucks ( 14-219(c))

Actual Speed

(Miles Per Hour)

Total $ Amount Due

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction or Utility Zone

71 to 75

198

298

76 to 80

239

364

81 to 85

279

429

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch

Table 8: Speeding Violation – Trucks ( 14-219(b) & (c))

Actual Speed

(Miles Per Hour)

Total $ Amount Due

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction, Utility, or School Zone

Total $ Amount Due if in a Construction or Utility Zone and a School Zone

56 to 60

198

298

398

61 to 65

230

350

470

66 to 70

263

403

543

71 to 75

295

455

615

76 to 80

328

508

688

81 to 85

360

560

760

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch

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