Arizona Capitol

Arizona's Speeders Could Get Much Cheaper Tickets

Arizona lawmakers are currently considering a proposal that would significantly lower the price of a speeding ticket for some speeders.

The proposal, House Bill 2662, would expand the use of one of Arizona's odder laws, which is the ban on the "waste of finite resources," which comes with a ticket that costs about $15.

Of course, there's a catch -- this can only be used when the driver is going between 1 and 10 miles per hour above the speed limit.

"For example in a 75 [mph] zone, you get a ticket for doing 80, you can get this type of penalty," Republican Representative David Stevens explained in a committee hearing.

The current law is one that's rarely used, because someone can only get a "waste of finite resources" ticket by going between 56 and 65 mph in a 55 mph zone. It's not easy to find a 55 mph speed limit these days.

However, Stevens' bill would apply that to all standard speed limits, so drivers pulled over for exceeding the speed limit anywhere by 10 mph or less could instead by fined for wasting gas (or diesel . . . or electricity), instead of being given a true speeding ticket, at the cost of a few hundred bucks.

Stevens says his bill doesn't apply to speeders in school zones, construction zones, or residential areas.

The benefit in such a proposal, in addition to the price of the ticket, is that you wouldn't rack up points on your license, and such a fine wouldn't affect your insurance rates.

Although no one spoke out against the bill at yesterday's hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, lawmakers in the past have considered scrapping the "finite resources" fine altogether.

Committee notes from a 2012 hearing explain one lawmaker's reasoning for wanting to repeal it:

Representative Crandell responded that a constituent consistently drove on a roadway at 65 mph where there is a posted 55 mph speed limit. One day the constituent was driving three miles over the speed limit. He was pulled over and cited for waste of finite resources. The officer has the discretion to issue a warning to get a person's attention without using this statute, and if someone consistently speeds and is continually stopped, the officer will see that on their record and has the ability to cite the person.
So police officers could use this as a tool to pull over someone for driving 66 or 67 mph in a 65 mph zone, which is the case on many highways around the state.

Of course, there's no particular reason police couldn't already pull over someone for barely exceeding the speed limit, as the state's law on speeding says, "A person shall not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent speed under the conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing."

However, the law does clearly outline that exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more, or exceeding 80 mph in general, is a misdemeanor offense known as "excessive speeding."

House Bill 2662 lives on for now, as it passed the transportation committee on a 7-2 vote.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley