What Does a Speeding Fine Cost in Austin

Freedom is one of America’s most treasured values, and particularly so in the Lone Star State, where everything is a bit bigger and the vast open roads beckon. But for good or ill, that freedom doesn’t extend to driving as fast as you like — getting a speeding ticket can set you back quite a bit financially, not to mention the risk to life and limb and the possible legal consequences.

To avoid some possibly dire consequences, it’s best to understand how the speeding laws work in Texas — particularly Austin — and what you can do if you do happen to pick up a citation.

Austin’s Speeding Laws

Every state and territory has its own common speed limits, some higher than others. Nationwide, it used to be 55 once upon a time, but those limits have gone higher through the years. For a brief period, states like Montana flirted with having no speed limit at all, but the safety risks proved to be too much, and the limit was soon reinstated. Many of the western states still have a high limit, though: parts of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming have 80 mph speed limit. In much of the rest of the country, it’s usually 65 to 75.

In Austin, the typical speed limit on urban roads is between 30 to 35, with highways generally allowing 70 to 75 mph.

The Speed Management Program

Traffic accidents and fatalities have been on the rise nationwide since the loosening of quarantine protocols and the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Austin is no exception. 2021 was one of the deadliest years on record for the city, with 106 traffic fatalities. According to statistics, speeding is the primary factor in one out of four fatal traffic crashes in Austin.

In an attempt to curb the loss of life on Austin’s roads, the city has instituted what it calls the Vision Zero program, which aims to reduce the number of people injured or killed by crashes to zero by 2025. The program intends to accomplish this through infrastructure improvements, raising awareness, policy changes, and stricter traffic law enforcement.

To this end, Austin has installed more traffic cameras and other tools to monitor and regulate traffic speeds so that law enforcement can more readily identify drivers exceeding the speed limit — which means your chances of getting caught speeding in Austin are higher than they’ve ever been.

How Much Do Speeding Tickets Cost in Austin?

So how stiff are the penalties for speeding in Texas? For that information, let’s look to the Ticket Council website, which lists the following range of fines:

  • Speeding 1-5 miles over: $194 – $280 and up
  • Speeding 6 – 10 miles over: $204 – $315 and up
  • Speeding 11 – 15 miles over: $229 – $330 and up
  • Speeding 16 – 20 miles over: $258 – $390 and up
  • Speeding 21 – 25 miles over: $281 – $454 and up
  • Speeding 26 –30 miles over: $316 – $502 and up
  • Speeding 30 and up: 350 – $500 and up

On top of this, most states (Texas included) implement a “points system” which assigns values to these speeding ranges. Rack up too many points, and your license could be suspended or revoked, incurring larger and more serious fines to get it back — assuming you’re able to.

Further Consequences

Of course, beyond the monetary consequences for speeding — up to and including fines, legal fees, impound fees, and more — you can also expect your insurance premiums to skyrocket. After a serious speeding conviction or two, even the best cheap car insurance in Texas is going to cost you a lot more than you’d like.

How much, exactly? Let’s look to Ross Martin from The Zebra (an insurance comparison site) for some hard numbers. According to Martin, the average six-month premium for auto insurance in Texas is $993. That’s $1986 a year — already more than the national average. But get caught speeding, and you can expect your premiums to go up by $220 a year — more, if you’re caught speeding in a school zone. And if you get in an accident? Expect to pay way more — up to a whopping $3,975 from Allstate, for example.

Tips on Handling a Speeding Ticket

In many cases, there’s not much to do about a speeding ticket other than pay up. However, there might be some ways you can alleviate the rise in your insurance premiums. You could consider attending traffic school or taking a defensive driving course, which could mitigate those premium hikes and maybe even get the ticket dismissed. You can also choose to contest the ticket in court, though it’s not generally advisable to do so without legal counsel — and especially not if there’s video evidence.

Getting a speeding ticket is something most of us will have to contend with at some point in our lives — but it’s always better to be informed and err on the side of caution when you can.