As Florida Drivers Get Back on the Roads, Drivers in Certain Counties Need to Be Wary of Speeding Tickets

As Florida Drivers Get Back on the Roads, Drivers in Certain Counties Need to Be Wary of Speeding Tickets

As a whole, Florida hasn't reached the driving levels it had before the COVID-19 outbreak. But drivers in certain counties are actually more active than they were in January. As driving behavior normalizes across the state, we looked at the counties in which drivers are most likely to get a speeding ticket.

Floridians are gradually getting back on the road. In mid-May, the volume of traffic amounted to just 84% of the traffic during a week in January, according to Apple Maps Mobility Trends data. But that's double the traffic compared to a low point in early April, when Florida driving was only at 45% of previous levels.

As the roads of Florida start to look a bit more normal — and some even see mobility levels higher than before lockdowns — we examined the history of driving violations across the Sunshine State. We measured which counties had the most speeders per capita in 2019, calculated how likely they were to be penalized, and compared driving activity between a week in January and one in May.

Four counties — Madison, Glades, Bradford and Jefferson — have an exceptionally high number of speeders per capita.

Each county had at least 180 speeding violations per 1,000 people in 2019, while the statewide average was 54 per county. Driving behavior in these counties is close to or above the levels it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

This image shows the Florida counties with most and least speeding violations per capita

Florida counties with the highest and lowest rates of speeding violations

Four counties — Madison, Glades, Bradford and Jefferson — have an exceptionally high number of speeders per capita. Each county had at least 180 speeding violations per 1,000 people in 2019, while the statewide average was 54 per county. Driving behavior in these counties is close to or above the levels it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

This image is a map of Florida counties and their speeding rates
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Florida counties with the highest rate of speeding violations

1. Madison

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 450
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 62% (27th highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 103%

Madison County had, by far, the highest rate of speeding violations in 2019, more than double the rate of Glades.

But Madison ranks near the middle of the pack when it comes to penalizations. About 62% of speeders paid a penalty, versus an average of 57% across all counties.

Madison residents are driving slightly more now than in prepandemic days. During the third week in May, driving activity was 103% of levels recorded in mid-January.


2. Glades

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 209
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 41% (60th highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 79%

Ranking a distant second is Glades county, with 209 speeding violations per 1,000 residents in 2019. Unlike Madison, Glades penalizes speeders at a very low rate: Only 41% were penalized.

Driving activity in Glades has not yet reached its former levels. Apple Maps Mobility Trends data suggests driving is at 79% of earlier levels.


3. Bradford

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 206
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 63% (22nd highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 111%

Bradford has levels of speeding violations similar to Glades County, but it penalizes drivers at a rate similar to Madison County.

And as the country begins to reopen, Bradford drivers are making up for lost time. Driving levels in mid-May were 111% of levels in mid-January.


4. Jefferson

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 186
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 64% (19th highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 104%

Jefferson County had 186 speeding violations per 1,000 residents in 2019, and it penalized those speeders at a reasonably high rate. Of those ticketed, 64% either paid a civil penalty or were found guilty.

Driving levels in Jefferson are now just above the levels of an average week in January.


5. Monroe

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 119
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 19% (65th highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 36%

Monroe County, largely composed of the Florida Keys, had the fifth highest rate of speeding violations in the state in 2019. But at 119 violations per 1,000 residents, it is a distant fifth after the high rates of speeding in the top four counties. And just 19% of drivers were penalized. Most had adjudication withheld or their case dismissed

Perhaps reflecting a lack of tourists traveling to the Keys, driving activity has not returned to normal in Monroe. Driving is only at 36% of the volume recorded in January, among the lowest in the state.

Florida counties with the lowest rate of speeding violations

1. Gulf

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 8
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 89% (highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 194%

Gulf County is one of the least-populated counties in the state — but even adjusted for population, its speeding rates are extremely low. If drivers do speed in Gulf, however, they tend to be penalized. Of the 103 speeding violations in 2019 with a disposition issued, 89% paid a penalty, the highest rate of any county.

As the state reopens, driving activity in Gulf County has almost doubled compared to normal levels.


2. Marion

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 9
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 61% (32nd highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 104%

Marion has a much bigger population than Gulf County, but similarly low rates of speeding violations. When it comes to penalizing those speeding drivers, Marion County ranks middle of the pack.

Driving levels in Marion have normalized. In mid-May, there were only slightly more drivers compared to mid-January.


3. Pasco

  • Speeding violations per 1,000 residents: 10
  • Penalization rate for speeding violations: 46% (54th highest of 67 counties)
  • Driving levels compared to January: 99%

Pasco County had about as many speeding violations as Gulf and Marion had in 2019. But it penalizes its speeders at a much lower rate. Of the 5,290 speeding violations in which a disposition was issued, only 46% of drivers were penalized.

If you drive in Pasco now, you might not know there is a pandemic going on. Activity is almost identical to an average week in January.

How speeding in Florida counties has changed from 2018 to 2019

Speeding violations in Florida increased by 6% year over year, going from 664,767 in 2018 to 706,418. But the trend was not uniform across the state.

  • 2019 was the year Madison County separated itself as the clear leader in Florida for speeding violations. In 2018, it ranked first with 284 violations per 1,000 residents, beating out Glades County's number of 219. But with a year-over-year increase of 58%, Madison became the county with the highest rate of speeding violations by far.
  • Gilchrist County saw the biggest increase in the rate of speeding. It went from 14 violations per 1,000 residents in 2018 to 41 violations. This moved it from one of the lowest rates of speeding in Florida to middle-of-the-pack.
  • Union County saw the biggest fall in the rate of speeding. In 2018, it had 27 violations per 1,000 residents. In 2019, it had only 12, the fourth lowest of any county.
CountySpeeding violations per 1,000 residents (2019)RankSpeeding violations per 1,000 residents (2018)Rank
Madison45012841
Glades20922192
Bradford20632113
Jefferson18641714
Monroe1195968
Liberty1076729
Hamilton8971116
Holmes8281037
Jackson7991125
Gadsden71106510
Hardee70114317
Martin69124715
St. Lucie63135411
Okeechobee57144912
Osceola57154714
Dixie56162447
Clay53174318
Levy52183530
Hendry51194123
Taylor49204220
Indian River47214319
Wakulla46224713
Nassau46233629
Santa Rosa45243728
Leon44253531
Columbia42263925
Duval42274221
Broward41284122
Alachua41293826
Suwannee41302843
Gilchrist41311462
Collier39323432
Okaloosa37331955
Sumter37343924
Palm Beach37353236
Washington36364316
Lake36373237
Bay35383235
Orange34393333
Polk32403727
Walton32411857
Lafayette31422744
Baker30433038
Seminole30441954
Sarasota30453234
Volusia30461856
St. Johns29472941
Hernando28483039
Citrus28492053
DeSoto28502051
Flagler28512940
Miami-Dade26522942
Manatee25532052
Franklin25541760
Brevard24552546
Pinellas23562448
Escambia21572350
Calhoun21582349
Highlands1959967
Charlotte19601661
Hillsborough18611758
Putnam15621265
Lee15631759
Union12642745
Pasco10651363
Marion9661364
Gulf8671266

How often are drivers penalized for speeding in Florida?

Throughout Florida, 43% of speeding drivers were penalized. A total of 661,498 violations in 2019 received a disposition, and:

  • 282,168 of the violations were found guilty or paid a civil penalty.
  • 379,330 of the violations had adjudication withheld or charges dismissed.

But the rate that drivers were penalized could differ greatly depending on where in Florida they were speeding.

  • Gulf County had the highest penalization rate. As much as 89% of speeders paid a penalty or were found guilty.
  • Miami-Dade had the lowest penalization rate by far, as 91% of cases were dismissed or had adjudication withheld.

Below, we've ranked all 67 counties for penalizing speeders, with the highest rank indicating speeders are penalized the least.

County2019 speeding violations with disposition issuedPenalization rate
Miami-Dade65,0129%
Broward75,49114%
Monroe4,90719%
Palm Beach52,31628%
Hillsborough24,43337%
St. Johns7,27940%
Hendry2,01041%
Glades2,70441%
Collier14,46843%
Pinellas20,60544%
Orange45,27744%
Seminole13,63744%
Volusia15,53345%
Pasco5,29046%
Charlotte3,37047%
Martin10,05548%
Lee11,13948%
DeSoto99549%
Hernando5,33449%
Osceola19,52950%
Lafayette25051%
Brevard14,03352%
Highlands1,94753%
Hardee1,78754%
St. Lucie19,79654%
Alachua10,60855%
Manatee9,48556%
Sarasota12,31356%
Lake12,59157%
Duval37,89358%
Sumter4,60558%
Okeechobee2,25358%
Taylor1,01859%
Flagler3,02659%
Suwannee1,65860%
Marion3,06461%
Levy1,98861%
Dixie84861%
Union17361%
Citrus4,09861%
Madison7,06762%
Polk21,91762%
Indian River7,08762%
Liberty85362%
Columbia2,77162%
Bradford5,36563%
Leon12,23464%
Gadsden2,85564%
Jefferson2,48164%
Clay11,05765%
Calhoun25966%
Nassau3,87166%
Putnam1,02769%
Gilchrist72270%
Baker81271%
Jackson3,42572%
Wakulla1,50673%
Santa Rosa7,88573%
Bay5,67574%
Okaloosa7,42974%
Hamilton1,11077%
Franklin28077%
Escambia6,33079%
Walton2,21180%
Holmes1,48181%
Washington86782%
Gulf10389%

Methodology

Data for 2018–2019 speeding violations in Florida was collected from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. We considered a driver penalized when they paid a civil penalty or were found guilty.

Driving activity levels were drawn from Apple Maps Mobility Trends reports, with data comparing a week of driving from January 13 to January 19 to May 17 to May 23.

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

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