Don’t Do This! The Most Expensive Traffic Violations in Texas
I consider myself a rather conservative driver. My speedometer rarely goes more than 3-4 mph over the posted speed limit, I'm borderline obsessive about using my turn signals, and yellow lights mean slow down, not speed up.
Of course, there are exceptions from time to time, but I said I'm rather conservative, not one of those ultra-conservative drivers who meander down Timberland Drive in Lufkin at the same top-end speed of a pregnant earthworm.
I follow traffic laws for several reasons. First, it's the legal and moral thing to do. Second, It's the safe thing to do. Third, spending money unwisely is one of my biggest pet peeves. Racking up hundreds of dollars worth of fines on traffic violations is like betting on the Cowboys to make the Super Bowl...you're just throwing money away.
(By the way, lifelong Cowboys fan here...but I'm also a Jerry Jones realist)
What is the Costliest 'Minor' Traffic Violation in Texas?
First, a disclaimer - traffic fines can vary widely from city to city and from county to county in the state of Texas. The legislature has set forth guidelines as to the minimum and maximum fines to be levied for certain infractions, then it's left up to the local government to get specific.
Also, we're talking about what most would consider 'minor moving violations'. If you add alcohol or drugs into the equation, that's a whole new level.
With all that being said...you see that school bus with the flashing red lights and stop sign protruding? DON'T DRIVE PAST IT!! If you do so, you just cost yourself at least $1,000. Actually, first-time offenders can be fined up to $1250.
Obviously, ensuring the safety of children entering or exiting the school bus is the main reason to stop, but, letting a $grand$ just fly out the window should also be a major hindrance.
Some of the Others
In many instances, the State of Texas caps the fines for minor violations at $200. That can include tickets for such things as running a stop sign, not wearing a safety belt, texting and driving, unsafe lane changes, and so on.
I was taking a look at some of the base fines for Harris County and here are some of the more expensive fines (keep in mind this may be a few years old).
- Failure to maintain financial responsibility - $315
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way road - $280
- Driving the wrong way on a divided highway - $215
- Not passing while in the passing line - $165 (had to throw that one in)
What About Speeding Fines?
The usual base fine for speeding will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $200, but then it can increase substantially depending on just how fast you were going and/or if you were in a specially marked zone, such as a school or work zone.
I found this page with examples for some of the larger cities in Texas. The faster you go, the more you'll pay. Speed in a school zone and you'll pay even more. Put the pedal to the metal in a road work zone and you'll be doubling your fines in many cases.
Texas Point System
If you clicked on the link from the previous paragraph, you'll notice that it was written pre-2019. That's because the point system that is referenced has been repealed. Lawmakers viewed the driver responsibility program as a kind of 'double whammy' on motorists.
So, drive safely and save yourself some stress, money, and maybe even a life.
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