The History of the Speeding Ticket and Where We Are Today!

by Nickey on June 14, 2013

The practice of writing legal citations for speeding has evolved over time, as the primary form of transportation has shifted from the horse-drawn carriage to motorized vehicles. The need for traffic standards was realized early on in the transition, but the process seems to have begun by one New York police officer. The first ticket was given to a New York City taxi driver who was driving an electric vehicle at a high rate of speed down a Manhattan street. The rate of speed was a dangerous 12 MPH. There is actually no paper trail for the citation that occurred in 1899. The only record is the payment of the fine. 

Contemporary Speeding Ticket History

While congested dense population areas established safe-driving regulations in their legal jurisdictions, transportation problems were different in the rest of the dominantly rural United States. Other than sheriff departments, there were very few court officers in the rural regions. Some states established constable offices which were filled by election by the members of each voting district. Since the use of constables became insufficient to maintain order on roadways the states realized that more would need to be done to ensure safety on the roadway. This was apparent even though horse-drawn carriages were still largely in use until the phenomena of the family car became common. Eventually, each state began a systematic implementation of the state police forces, then called the highway patrol.

Expanded Authority

State legislatures all over the nation began enhancing the authority of the highway patrol system, as the application was supposed to be the highway patrol protecting the open roads and local police patrolling in the commercial centers and towns. As a result, speeding tickets became an important source of income for the localities and standard police operation included officers sitting in strategic locations in order to catch speeders. This was historically known as the “speed trap” community, with the officer often serving as the investigator, arresting officer, and judge all rolled into one entity. In turn, this action established an area of law for legal practice.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

In the ever-expanding authority of the legal system, speeding is also associated with reckless driving and driving under the influence. Speeding tickets have been made payable before court, but paying the fine amounts to pleading guilty to the charge. Although a speeding ticket is not “classified” as criminal there are associational charges that stem from reasonable suspicion established by this infraction. Speeding has become a reason for police authorities to exercise carte blanche. This violation is viewed as an easy way to investigate anyone for anything once they have been apprehended.

A Florida traffic ticket lawyer states that in order to prevent increased insurance rates, and to keep driving records clean, traffic violations should be fought. This practical action can reduce the amount of damage caused by a ticket citation not only in Florida, but nationwide.

Other criminal charges such as reckless driving can also be part and parcel to wanton endangerment, which is a felony in most states. Additionally, vehicular homicide is also a possibility when an aggressive driver is involved in a fatal accident. Impairment of the driver is not necessary to establish culpability or negligence. The speeding ticket has served as the “gateway” to the expanding prosecution and incarceration industry, and it all began with a speeding ticket for driving 12 MPH.

Researcher Nickey Williams practices safe driving tactics and believes in protection of citizens’ rights. Florida traffic ticket lawyer Robert Hidock of The Tix Team knows how legal officials and traffic laws can affect your case. His firm’s legal representation will help you with a strategy for your case.



Legal researcher and Home schooling mother of two with a degree in Management.

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