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]


PRESS RELEASE:

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?