Analysis finds the 'true cost' of a speeding ticket in Minnesota

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A new analysis by a finance website shows us two things when it comes to speeding tickets: One, the cost is likely much more than you realize; and two, where you get the ticket will impact how much you ultimately end up paying.

The digging, done by Nerdwallet, sought to find the "true cost" of a speeding ticket in Minnesota – so not just the fine itself, but the kick in insurance premiums the driver sees afterward.

The overall results? A $145 speeding ticket for going 15 mph over the speed limit in Minnesota is, on average, 3.59 times more costly than that dollar amount on the citation.

Breaking it down by city, Nerdwallet found a Prior Lake driver will end up paying $670.75 for a speeding ticket after the insurance premiums are factored in – the highest average cost in the state. The second-highest, Lakeville, comes in at $666.25, with No. 3 Cottage Grove at $592.87.

Here's the top 10 chart:

The good news for Minnesota drivers is car insurance here is cheaper than in a lot of other states.

An August study by International Business Times found Minnesota had the 17th lowest average annual premiums in the nation from 2006-10, at $795. Iowa was the lowest, with an average of $627; Louisiana was the highest at $1,272.

The math behind it

Here's how the site got to those "true cost" numbers.

(Note: Your exact cost may not be what it is here, as ultimately the "true cost" will be based on your specific plan and premium. These numbers are just an average.)

The cost of a ticket for going 15 mph over the speed limit is $145. Insurance premiums jump an average of nearly 10 percent after the citation, and the increase usually lasts three years.

The site took the fine, and added it with the three years of higher premiums.

For example, in St. Paul, the average annual car insurance premium is $1,330.93. After a speeding ticket, that jumps to $1,471.55 a year, an increase of $140.62. Multiply that by three, for each year you'll be paying that much more (which comes out to $421.86). Then add the cost of the ticket itself, and you'll get a total of $566.86 for one speeding violation.

Driving in Minnesota

As of Aug. 1, speeding in a construction zone carries a heftier fine.

Under a new state law approved during this year’s legislative session, a driver who is caught speeding through a work zone or construction zone will get an automatic $300 fine, plus the normal traffic ticket surcharges.

From 2010-2013, there were more than 7,200 work-zone crashes, resulting in 31 fatalities in Minnesota, according to the Associated Press.

Officials hope a steeper penalty will serve as a deterrent.

Drivers who received minor traffic citations actually used to be able to avoid a ticket in some counties – until the program was ruled illegal last year.

The traffic diversion classes were offered by 36 police and sheriff’s departments across the state in lieu of traffic tickets. Drivers could keep a ticket off their record by paying to take the class – which cost from $75 to $125. But while one-third of the revenue from traffic tickets is passed on to the state, local agencies were keeping all of the money from the classes.

In November of 2013, Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto determined the classes were illegal however, and the classes were stopped. This past spring, citizens who paid to take the classes opted to sue law enforcement agencies to get their money back.

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