• May 21st 2009 at 7:30PM
  • 68
For as long as there has been traffic enforcement, drivers from different states have gathered to compare notes on whose police and legal systems are the most oppressive and toughest to deal with. While most such conversations rarely progress beyond the anecdotal, the folks over at the National Motorists Association have actually gone to the trouble of ranking all 50 states using a set of seventeen criteria, just in time to adjust your travel plans ahead of this weekend's Memorial Day holiday.

The list was compiled by weighing such factors as 'Speed Traps Per Capita," the use of speed and red-light cameras, as well as legal factors like the presence of mayor's courts, the availability of trial-by-declaration, and so on.

We're not sure we agree with each of the criterion (e.g. singling out whether cellular phone use is legal), but it's a very interesting list all the same, and might give you some fuel for the inevitable water cooler discussion following your next moving violation.

Click on the jump to see the full list of factors and where your stomping grounds stack up among the least motorist-friendly states in the nation. Hot tip, Frank!

[Source: National Motorists Association, Source Photo by bradleygee | CC2.0]


State Rankings - Memorial Day Weekend 2009

With the first major driving holiday of the summer season approaching, we have analyzed the laws across the country to determine the best and the worst states when it comes to exploiting the motoring public.

These state rankings were calculated using seventeen criteria related to specific traffic laws, enforcement practices, and the treatment of traffic ticket defendants. The rankings are designed to provide guidance to travelers who do not want their vacation ruined by speed traps, arcane laws or "kangaroo" traffic courts.

Full List Of State Rankings From Worst To Best

1) New Jersey
2) Ohio
3) Maryland
4) Louisiana
5) New York
6) Illinois
7) Delaware
8) Virginia
9) Washington
10) Massachusetts
11) Colorado
12) Oregon
13) Tennessee
14) California
15) Michigan
16) Vermont
17) Maine
18) Florida
19) Pennsylvania
20) North Carolina
21) Alabama
22) Rhode Island
23) West Virginia
24) New Hampshire
25) Arizona
26) New Mexico
27) Missouri
28) Texas
29) Oklahoma
30) Nevada
31) Georgia
32) Connecticut
33) South Carolina
34) Iowa
35) Hawaii
36) Arkansas
37) Alaska
38) Kansas
39) Mississippi
40) Wisconsin
41) Utah
42) South Dakota
43) Indiana
44) Minnesota
45) North Dakota
46) Kentucky
47) Nebraska
48) Montana
49) Idaho
50) Wyoming

List of Criteria Used To Generate Rankings (no particular order)

1) Speed Traps Per Capita (# of speed traps listed on www.speedtrap.org indexed to population)
2) Does the state have "driver responsibility" fees?
3) Does the state have mayor's courts?
4) Does the state authorize the use of roadblocks?
5) What are the freeway speed limits?
6) Does the state have red-light cameras?
7) Does the state have speed cameras?
8) Are there toll roads in the state?
9) Is a jury trial available for traffic violations?
10) Is trial by declaration (asserting a defense in writing without appearing in court) available?
11) Is the state a member of the Non-Resident Violator Compact?
12) Is the state a member of the Driver's License Compact?
13) Are radar detectors banned in the state?
14) Does the state have a primary seat belt law?
15) Are there adult helmet laws in the state?
16) Are there move-over laws in the state?
17) Is cell phone use banned?

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't this basically a rank of states by people per square mile?
      • 6 Years Ago
      At least this country has a "driving culture". Try driving in some eastern european countries, people drive like mad over there. People cut you off all the time, don't let you in the lane in a bottleneck traffic and often run the red lights.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maryland is #3 - it's so true.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just 1 more reason to hate the People's Republic New Jersey.
      1. The trashy beaches filled with greasy white trash new yorkers
      2. You can't make a left turn anywhere.
      3.Jersey girls
      4. the cops
      the list goes on and on.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ok, I LIVE in New Jersey, and have never had a problem. The cops are actually more willing to give you a warning there, and will actually give you advice to fight the ticket (oh yeah, I've had 2 officers give me "advice"). One told me to go and fight it, that if I at least show up, they'll knock points off for going through the hassle. The other officer told me to just keep it under 15 over, and I won't get stopped.
      So, yeah, I've been pulled over a few times: Speeding ticket issued 1 time, warning 1 time, and ticketed for having something hanging in my rear-view (the officer didn't want to give me the speeding ticket...so I got a $44 for something else). AND NJ has a law where the police must be in sight (they can't be hiding) in order to give you a citation. Of course, just make sure you don't "accidentally" admit to your mistake in court like one idiot did.
      TRL~~ I haven't been stopped in Jersey in over 5 years; and anyone with half a brain knows not to take the Turnpike...ever; I'm sorry that Route 78 is too difficult for you and you would rather pay to drive on a road when you can take another one that is less crowded for free! Don't get mad at your own stupidity for taking the turnpike. If you knew what you were doing in the first place, you would be smart enough not to pay for a highway that already gets funds from the taxes! And why on earth would you waste the hour's drive (+ money for gas btw) plus the toll to get into NY...not to mention do the same thing on the way back home...are you really so cheap that you can't live in Jersey? Suck it up and spend the money on a place to live in Jersey rather than gas and maintenance on your car, ...oh and spend some time with your family, since you likely never see them anyway driving back and forth from Pennsy to NY daily. Quit bitching about your own poor choices and use your head for more than a hat rack. If you don't like the turnpike, take another route; it's not like there are 4 OTHER HIGHWAYS that go across NJ!!! You probably overpay for parking in NY too...but then, that would kill your rant on NJ.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Glad (sorry?) to see move over laws on list. These will get more people killed than they ever save. But I guess a cops life trumps everyone else's. Plus, they give the police a wide range of interpretation...and a good source of revenue.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I lived in Jersey for 30 years of my life. It's totally true. That being said, a friend of mine was a state trooper. If he pulled someone over and they weren't a douche, he'd let them go with a warning. When you walk up to a car and someone says, "Don't you have drug dealers to catch or something better to do?" you're likely to give them a ticket.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thankyou for Posting this article and "Outing" NEW JERSEY.

      Yes NEW JERSEY is the worst state in the USA for Motorists, and for a lot else too. Let me first tell you how the Traffic Ticket Courts work in NJ's Rotten Municipal Courts: The judges routinely let you buy down "no points" plead to a lesser offense, providing you pay about $500 in fines. On any given night in two-bit towns like Ridgefield or Teaneck NJ, the POWERS THAT BE RAKE IN about $100,000 in Traffic Fines. Alot of that money they EXTORT out of motorists passign thru their towns ends up in pockets of the CORRUPT Government Officials. NJ has a well-deserved reputation for Local Corruption.

      Besides the Local Towns running essentially "Ticket Extortion Rackets", once you get only 6 points on your license (2 speeding tickets in 2 years), then the State of New Jersey starts sending you Letters CANCELLING YOUR LICENSE UNLESS YOU GIVE THEM $300 EXTRA FEES EVERY YEAR, THEY CALL "INSURANCE SURCHARGE". Meantime that $300 Extra NEW JERSEY CHARGES YOU TO DRIVE is on top of the higher Car Insurance your own insur. co. charges when notified of the 6 points.

      At any given time, 10% of the cars on the roads of New Jersey have no insurance or are from driver's who've given up with the many fines and attacks on your driver's license N.J. does.... so its dangerous to be another driver in NJ as well, if you get hit by the 1 in 10 cars on road with no insurance.

      New Jersey left and right violates the U.S. Constitution, and harasses especially male parents, takes away your driver's license solely on allegations that you might be late on child support. Plus they will kick you out of your home via Orders to Show Cause if a woman ever complains about you, whether its true or not, and start seizing your bank accounts, and it can take you months to get a proper hearing.

      No-one in their Right Mind should ever move to New Jersey, and never move here, unless you are a Government Employee (they all get huge million dollar pensions). New Jersey also has the second highest Taxes overall in the USA, right after New York.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought the only reason I didn't have to pump my own gas was cause Jersey is so fast pace...they just don't want you to have t get out..like fast food! lol. I didn't know it had to do with the MOB! Besides, I like not having to pump my own gas...especially when its wonter! brrrr! ;-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please... I've been in New Jersey and NY and their cops are cool guys next to Toronto cops. Toronto cops are the assholes of assholes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I must show respect for the NJ State Policeman that nabbed me doing about ninety on the Turnpike. I saw him in his unmarked car about a half mile ahead (this is near exit 4 where the unit is based by the way) after I 'had' to pass a Dodge Viper that simply would not get out of the left lane. The Viper guy kept looking at me in his rear view mirror, but no way was he moving over. So I passed on the right.

        As I saw the cop pull out I just pulled over, timing it so he knew I knew. I apologized and explained that no, I did not think I could outrun a Viper, but the guy just wouldn't let me pass.

        No ticket and just a warning to drive safer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm surprised that Arizona isn't way up there. They have tons of photo cameras on the freeway near and around Phoenix, which is just completely astounding to me.

      From what I understand, the locals are up in arms because it is so patently unfair.

      If the cops are going to nail someone for speeding, they should get their fat @sses out of their Crown Vic.
      • 6 Years Ago
      NJ is the best kept secret in the US- We are just about the richest state, we have the cheapest gas, and we are right in the center of the country- half-way between Boston and DC. Yes, the rest doesn't amount to much.
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