MANCHESTER, N.H. — Speeders in New Hampshire could be in for sticker shock as state lawmakers have proposed doubling fines.
Critics are called the proposed fine increases dramatic and unnecessary, while supporters said the state has held off on raising the rates too long, WMUR News 9’s Aaron Kellogg reported.
New Hampshire drivers pay a low price for speeding tickets compared to drivers in some New England states, but no one with whom WMUR News 9 spoke on Sunday in Epping liked the thought of raising the fines.
“I try to keep under the speed limit anyway, but that’s a lot of money,” said Josh Bergere, of Brentwood.
“I think that’s a little outrageous,” said Janice Verbe, of Epping.
“Normally, people just drive a few miles over and it just seems ridiculous to boost it that much,” said Christine Snyder, of Kingston.
A new proposal in Concord could double speeding ticket prices. Drivers traveling at 10 mph over the limit would pay $120, up from $50. Driving 20 mph over would cost $152 more at $252, and driving 25 mph over would net a fine increase of $148 at $348.
Currently in New Hampshire, ticket prices are cheaper than tickets in Maine and dramatically cheaper than tickets in Massachusetts.
If the fines change, New Hampshire tickets would, in most cases, be cheaper than tickets handed out in Massachusetts. Drivers in New Hampshire would pay more than drivers pay for tickets in Maine.
Lawmakers reviewing the plan said it’s designed make sure New Hampshire isn’t undercharging for speeding.
“The original idea was to make the fines more or less similar to other states so that we don’t have a lower fine schedule, which would indicate that we’re not serious about speeding on our highways,” said Kingston Rep. David Welch, R-District 8.
The question now is whether lawmakers will approve the plan. Even some of people who have watched the debate unfold are a little uneasy.
“I would go so far as to say that they’re a little higher than I’d like to see them. Whether they’re excessive or not depends on how fast you drive,” Welch said.
There was no clear indication when lawmakers will make a decision on the plan, but they could reach some sort of agreement as early as this week.