How long a speeding ticket stays on your driving record varies by state. The general range is one to five years. A few states, such as Colorado, Montana and Ohio, will keep a speeding incident on your record permanently, though any points you earn toward a license suspension will eventually be removed. Getting a speeding ticket likely means you’ll pay more for car insurance for at least three years.
Got a speeding ticket? You're not alone
It happens to the best of us and to a lot of us. Each year, 42 million speeding tickets are issued in the United States, and more than 20% of drivers average one speeding ticket annually.
So if you’ve gotten a ticket for speeding, you’re not alone. You just don’t want it to become a habit, as even one speeding ticket can impact your driving record and what you pay for car insurance. Multiple tickets can lead to your license being suspended and make it hard for you to find car insurance at all.
The good news? With time and continued safe driving, the impact of a speeding ticket will be reduced and eventually erased.
How a speeding ticket affects your driving record
Most states use a points system to track drivers’ traffic violations. You receive points when you get a speeding ticket. Accumulate enough points, and the state will suspend your driver’s license. Points stay on your record for a period of time that varies by state, and eventually fall off.
To illustrate, let’s look at how a speeding ticket would affect a driver’s record in a typical state like Maryland. If a Maryland driver is convicted of speeding by 20 miles an hour or more than the speed limit, they’ll have five points added to their record. They'll receive a warning letter from the state and will be required to enroll in a state-approved driver improvement class.
Those five points will remain on the driver’s record for three years. So if they keep a clean driving record for that time, the points will fall off, and they’ll be back to zero.
If, however, the driver has additional speeding and moving violation convictions and they reach 12 points, the state will revoke their driving privileges. The length of this revocation depends on the types of violations.
Again, this process varies by state. Check with your local department of motor vehicles (DMV) to understand how speeding tickets affect your driving record where you live.
How to remove a speeding ticket from your driving record
Some states may offer you the opportunity to reduce your points or remove a speeding ticket from your driving record by taking an approved driver improvement course. Check with your state’s DMV to see if this is an option, and make sure whatever course you take is acceptable under the state’s guidelines.
Speeding tickets and car insurance rates
When calculating your premium (what you pay for your policy), car insurance companies evaluate various information about you and your vehicle. Your driving record is one of those pieces of information.
If you have a speeding ticket, you can expect your premium to increase. Multiple tickets or speeding far above the posted speed limit may lead to an increase that’s quite severe. You may also lose any discounts you’ve earned for having a violation-free record.
Most insurance companies will account for the speeding ticket in your premium calculation for three years. Provided you haven’t had any other moving violations during that time, you might see your premium drop a bit after the three-year period ends.
If, on the other hand, you rack up multiple speeding tickets (or citations for other moving violations), your insurance company could determine that you’re simply too much of a risk to insure. The insurance company can then choose not to renew your policy, leaving you scrambling to find new insurance.
How to save on insurance after a speeding ticket
While having a speeding ticket will almost surely cause your insurance premium to go up, there are some things you can do to save money.
The cost of insurance varies between insurance companies, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. So you owe it to yourself to check periodically with two or three other insurance companies to see if you can save money.
While shopping, be sure to ask about any discounts offered. Many companies offer discounts for bundling policies (such as your home and car insurance), paying the premium in full, insuring multiple cars on a single policy, being a good student, and more.
An independent insurance agent, who represents multiple companies, can do most of the shopping legwork for you.
Take a driver improvement course
Ask if your insurance company offers a discount for taking a driver improvement course. These courses can often be taken virtually and on your own time, making them an easy way to save money on insurance while becoming a better driver.
Consider usage-based insurance (UBI)
Many major insurance companies offer UBI programs. When enrolled in UBI, you transmit your driving data to the insurer through your smartphone or a transmitter that plugs in under your car’s dashboard. The company then uses this data to calculate a discount, helping those with good driving habits save money. Progressive’s Snapshot program, for instance, claims that customers who earn a discount save an average of $156.
Another helpful feature of these programs is that they often provide feedback you can use to improve your skills behind the wheel. Allstate’s Drivewise program includes an app-based dashboard where you can view a map of each trip you take. The map shows where you were speeding, braking hard, or were distracted by your smartphone.
Commit to being a safer driver
If something good comes out of getting a speeding ticket, perhaps it's a renewed commitment to being a safer driver. Speeding causes accidents that kill thousands of drivers every year. So please take your time and drive safely.