Delaware has earned the top spot as the strictest state for reckless driving in a recent national analysis conducted by WalletHub. The nation's first state issues the highest number of penalties, and ranks eighth in enforcing speed limits. Virginia ranks at the top of the list for enforcing speeding.
Other states that rank among the top five when it comes to being tough on reckless drivers include Colorado (ranked second), Arizona and New Mexico (tied for third place), and California (ranked fifth).
WalletHub compared driving laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine which states take the hardest line on dangerous driving behavior.
The most lenient states include Texas (ranked 51st), Mississippi and Oklahoma (tied for 49th), and New Jersey and Nebraska (tied for 47th).
The analysis also showed that nearly 75% of the states and Washington, D.C., have absolute speed limits, which means that exceeding the limit is enough evidence for a conviction. However, about 26% of the states leave room for interpretation with prima facie laws — or a mixed combination of absolute and prima facie rules — allowing speeders to argue in court that their speed was, in fact, reasonable.
In addition, the report compares financial penalties across states. For example, the average maximum cost of a ticket for reckless driving is $845, with the lowest being $100 (in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Ohio) and the highest at approximately $6,250 (Oregon).
Other key findings of the analysis include:
* 52% of states do not automatically cite drivers for reckless driving based on a specific speed threshold or a specific number of mph over the limit.
* 42% percent of states and Washington, D.C. use speed cameras to automatically catch and fine speeding drivers.
* In 2016, speeding was a factor in 27% of motor vehicle crash deaths.
WalletHub has released its full dangerous driving report.