Speeding and reckless driving can have deadly consequences anywhere. But when it comes to legal and financial consequences for these infractions, a study by WalletHub  has named New Jersey one of the most lenient states in America.

The study analyzed penalties for speeding and reckless driving using 12 key metrics, including the speeds that are automatically considered reckless driving, how many speeding tickets it takes to earn an automatic license suspension, the increase in insurance premiums after a speeding ticket and maximum fines for reckless driving, according to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

New Jersey has the second lowest average increase in cost of insurance after one speeding ticket, which Gonzalez said “might be good news if you are an offender. But New Jersey has relatively low costs, both to insurance premiums and the tickets themselves, after these types of occurrences.”

New Jersey’s low increase in insurance premiums stems partially from the fact that insurance is New Jersey is “certainly higher than most other states to begin with, so you need to become a multiple offender to see that premium rise, in the case of speeding at least,” Gonzalez said.

The study found that New Jersey is less lenient when it comes to minimum jail time for first and second reckless offenses, placing at 10th and 13th, respectively. The state also came in 10th in counting speeding ticket points toward driving suspensions.

Gonzalez said New Jersey does a good job of discouraging repeat offenses.

“When we’re looking at a third or more offense when it comes to speeding, that’s when we see that there is a ten-day minimum jail-time assigned to that. That’s when it does become a little bit more strict,” she said. “It’s really just on the first-time offenses where New Jersey could step it up in terms of fines.”

One adverse effect of this overall leniency is a decrease in safety. Gonzalez said strict punishments serve to deter dangerous driving, so leniency decreases this fear of ramifications.

“Increasing maximum fines, especially for first convictions and even more so for second convictions so that people aren’t doing this repeatedly, would be the best bet,” for decreasing reckless driving and making the roads safer, Gonzalez said.

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