Not too long ago, getting a speeding ticket was the kiss of death for your car insurance. Rates were jacked up, through the roof if you had the misfortune of being a single male under the age of 30. If you had a company car, you usually got a threatening letter telling you that even one more ticket would result in you taking the bus, since you were obviously too high-risk to be trusted with company property. Things aren’t quite that bad today, since insurance companies look at a lot more things than just points on your license; in fact, today your credit rating is probably looked at with more focus than any minor offenses on your driving record. Still, points add up and no one wants to pay a dime more for car insurance than they need to. The state of South Carolina knows this, and they’ve got a plan to boost revenue at your expense.
Today, getting popped for speeding up to 10 miles per hour over the limit results in fines ranging from $15 to $25. It also gets you points on your license, but South Carolina is looking at changing how minor speeding infractions are fined. If the bill sponsored by state representative Todd Rutherford goes through, up to ten miles per hour over the speed limit won’t be a point-earning offense (officially, it will be listed as “careless driving”). Instead, it will be a $150 fine, with the proceeds being split between state and the municipality issuing tickets. While that idea sounds great on paper, it also opens the door to aggressive speed enforcement, since every town will see this as a chance at bottomless revenue. Forget the unwritten rule that says police will look the other way if you’re not intentionally hammer-down (“nine is fine, but ten you’re mine”), and be prepared for tickets like “33 in a 30” (and yes, I actually DID get one of those). In the long run, your insurance rates won’t go up, but your wallet will be just as empty.