Calculator: Is the time you save by speeding worth the cost of a speeding ticket?
Why do people speed even though they know they might get a speeding ticket? I have always thought it was because they were impatient or perhaps even because driving fast can be a thrill. But maybe that isn’t it at all. Maybe people speed because it’s a good economic decision. Driving faster gets you to your destination faster which allows you to spend time doing more productive things than driving. Is it possible that people break the speed limit because the value of this extra time is worth more than the cost of a speeding ticket.
This idea first came to my mind several years ago when I was having a conversation with a coworker of mine who has a reputation for driving fast. “I know I’ll get a speeding ticket or two per year, but I have run the numbers and the amount of time I save by driving faster more than makes up for the amount I will have to pay for the tickets” he told me.
This interested me because I thought it was funny somebody would take the time to calculate this. But after thinking about it maybe speeding makes sense. I wondered just how much a speeding ticket costs compared to the time you save. The calculator below will help you answer that question and see if breaking the speed limit might be a good economic decision for you.
About the calculator
The hardest part about this calculator is deciding just how valuable your time is to you. You know what you get paid at your job per hour, but that probably isn’t the same amount you would pay to get a little more free time. Instead of deciding for you how much your time is worth, this calculator seeks to estimate how much speeding might cost you, and let you determine if it is worth it for yourself.
The first section attempts to estimate exactly how much time you will save in a year if you drive a certain number of MPH over the speed limit. I recommend you use only the number of highway miles you drive in a year in this calculator because I believe that to be a better determination of how much time you save. Your speed on city streets is often dictated by the flow of traffic and your luck with traffic lights rather than your choice, so the time you save by speeding on streets below highway speeds is just to difficult to calculate.
The second section attempts to estimate how much speeding will cost you. The most obvious expense is the speeding ticket itself, but there are other costs as well. If you get a speeding ticket your insurance costs might go up so that needs to be factored in. Although it is impossible to predict exactly how much your insurance costs will go up, a study done by insurance.com determined that premiums go up by an average of 15% for a single ticket. This figure of 15% is the default value used in the calculator, but you can change this number if you think you have a better estimate.
There are other costs associated with speeding that this calculator does not factor in. Speeding create extra wear and tear on your vehicle and its tires, it uses extra gasoline, and increases the likelihood of a crash which might have significant costs. Unfortunately, these costs are impossible to estimate for the purposes of this calculator, so they are not factored in, though they are believed to be significantly less than the main costs of the ticket and insurance.
So that is what the extra time you gain by speeding is costing you. What do you think? Is speeding worth the cost?
Disclaimer: Speeding is dangerous and the Artofbeingcheap.com does not condone breaking the speed limit or any other laws.
Photo by Mike Schinkel