Should Out Of State Drivers Be Hit With Bigger Speeding Fines?


Rep. Bob Skarphol has introduced HB1189 which, if passed, would target out-of-state drivers with bigger speeding fines and distribute the revenues from those larger fines back to the cops writing the tickets.

Not withstanding any other provision of law, if an operator of a vehicle is stopped for a violation of section 39-09-02 or equivalent ordinance, the operator is the registered owner of the vehicle, and there is evidence that the operator is gainfully employed in this state, the fee for the violation is the higher of the fee in section 39-06.1-06 or equivalent ordinance, or the highest fee, fine, or bond for a speed limit violation at any speed and location in the home state. The superintendent of the highway patrol shall provide a schedule of the highest fees, fines, or bonds for other states every two years and make the schedule available to police officers. A determination of the highest fee by the superintendent is deemed to be the highest fee. If the fee, fine, or bond in the other state is higher than in this state, the difference is assessed as a special fee for deposit in the state treasury. The state treasurer shall distribute monthly the special fees deposited in the state treasury for a citation issued by a county police officer to the sheriff of the county in which the violation occurred and for a citation issued by the highway patrol to the operating fund of the highway patrol. All fees deposited in the state treasury under this section are appropriated on a continuing basis for distribution as provided in this section.

Skarphol has characterized it to the media as a way to tie the cost of traffic impact in the state to the influx of out-of-state drivers creating it. “Its become far too prevalent that people are doing this,” Skarphol told KX News. “I think it’s appropriate for us to find a mechanism that would ask these individuals to support the costs of our road system as well as our own citizens.”

There are some good reasons to be uncomfortable with this bill.

For one thing, this is rank parochialism. This is the “stick it to the out-of-staters” attitude which is so unhealthy for our state. It’s a manifestation of a wide streak of isolationism which runs through the state. At a time when we should be thankful for all the new people coming to our state to work and invest (though always cognizant of the challenges which come along with them) after years of a shrinking state population and dying communities, we’re targeting them with laws making their traffic violations a more serious sort of transgressions than ours.

Let’s not go down that road. Equality under the law, please.

For another, this law may as well be putting a bulls eye on people driving cars with out-of-state license plates. This law provides a big financial incentive to law enforcement agencies for targeting out-of-state drivers. How long until the cops are prioritizing out-of-state speeders over in-state speeders because one sort of ticket directs revenues to directly to their department while the other does not?

Is one type of speeder more dangerous than another? Of course not. Let’s not give incentive for enforcing the laws unequally.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Thresherman

    A fine is a punishment for a crime and is based on the severity of the crime not where you call home.

  • borborygmi


  • Kevin Flanagan

    This would open ND to a civil rights suit.

    • Tim Heise

      You are right. ND would spend more litagating this in federal court then any money they get from speeders.

  • The Fighting Czech

    Stupidest thing out of Bismarck ive ever heard….( However, its kinda refreshing to hear our politicians trying to stick their mitts in someone elses pockets for a change)

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    Can’t imagine it’s even constitutional. Someone who breaks the law from Tennessee should be punished differently than someone from North Dakota?

    Parochial pandering …

  • headward

    I get the merit of the bill. There are thousands that should be getting ND licenses and ND plates but choose not to. This would be another reason.
    Equal protection under the law? Why doesn’t Montanans and Canadians have to pay sales tax in ND?

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Tax treaties.

    • Dave Golterman

      If there’s evidence the violator is employed in North Dakota, then why don’t they enforce the law regarding registration of your vehicle. I live in Montana, but have lived and worked in North Dakota in the past. At one time, I was living in eastern Montana and commuting to a job in Williams County. The local highway patrolman paid a visit to my work place and informed all of us who were driving vehicles not registered in ND that we were going to have to have them so registered or he would begin writing tickets. Problem solved.

      • Sky Rider

        You don’t have to register your vehicle in ND just because you work there.
        I live in MN but my job is in ND. My vehicle is registered in MN. That Trooper was wrong. You register your vehicle in the State where you live.

  • opinion8ed

    Geez that would be a great welcome to the state would it not? Why do they try to turn ND into MN…

  • Stuart

    Lets keep North Dakota free from exorbitant fees and fines to encourage others to come here. This is just another ploy to suck more money out of us ! It’s always the same narrative..we have to keep up with other states..BS Minnesota charges $300 for their license tabs. Want to keep up with them also? California charges $600 a year for their licensing of a vehicle! Same question? Politicians want to pend more of our hard earned money and that is all!

    You can guess what the speeding ticket cost per mile an hour over the speed limit turns out to be.

  • Dave Golterman

    When I read this, the picture in my mind is of the stereotypical southern sheriff with the beer gut and the big white hat, mouth full of Red Man, saying “Do you know how fast you was goin’ back there boy? This ain’t Indian-damn-apolis, you’re going to have to pay. We’ll just put you up in the county jail until the judge comes in next Tuesday and feed you some fried balonie & white bread!

  • hellboy

    A new definition of speed trap…..What a stupid idea…… but since I was born and raised in Bottineau many years ago, maybe I could get “grandfathered” in when I come back for class reunions??? To Mr. Skarpholl… the indian definition of Dakota is “friend,” Right ???????

  • Zach

    I know this might sound crazy, but I have an idea.

    Instead of raising fines for out-of-state people, why not raise the fines for everyone?

    • The Fighting Czech

      Your right, It sounds VERY crazy… Our Politicians dont need help figuring out new ways to steal from the public. they do that very well on their own…

  • nimrod

    I agree with Skarpohl on this one because of the points part of speeding tickets. When I get stopped, I don’t worry about the fine, I worry about the points, but out of state drivers only have to deal with the fine. By raising the fine on out of state drivers, it actually evens up the penalties between in state and out of state drivers.

    • Hellboy

      Like Obama’s credo…… We’ve got to be “fair………” and give all of the states a “fair shot” at the speeding money….. Maybe all of the states could pool all of the speeding ticket money and divide it up 50 ways…. No, Wait……. or is it 57 ways????

    • camsaure

      Oh boy, the cops can turn this into another “industry” just like they have with alcohol and soon will be with smoking. I don’t like this “idea”.

  • devilschild

    In South Dakota they eliminated the point system for speeding. Last year one person had 31 speeding tickets. And apparently there is nothing they can do about it. I have to wonder … what company insures someone with 31 speeding tickets?

  • Sky Rider

    If this goes through I propose that MN do the same thing. Just put Troopers along HWY 10 and I-94 and pull over every car with ND plates that’s going 66/71mph or faster and fine them the max speeding fine and add reckless driving for good measure.

  • Lynn Bergman

    It is fine to limit the NUMBERof out of state hunting licences but REDICULOUS to charge more for each out of state license; it is largely our relatives and friends who come back to North Dakota for a “family hunt”. Why on earth would we apply the same wrong headed policy to drivers?