5 Trivia Questions About The History of Speed Limits

On January 2, 1974, President Richard Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph. See if you can answer these 5 trivia questions about speed limits in America and around the world...


Who Received the First Speeding Ticket in the United States? That singular honor goes to a man named Jacob German, a taxi driver in New York. The date was May 20, 1899, and German was zipping down the road at a shocking 12 mph in Manhattan along Lexington Street when he was stopped by a police officer patrolling on his bicycle. Mr. German was arrested and tossed in the clink at the station house on East 22nd Street for exceeding the speed limit by 4 mph.

What State First Imposed a Speed Limit? In 1901, Connecticut became the first state to regulate the speed of motor vehicles, which included early vehicles such as the Searchmont Stanhope, Loomis Runabout, and Holyoke Tourer. Motorists were limited to a speed of 12 mph inside the cities and towns and 15 mph when cruising along country roads. By the time 1930 rolled around, only 12 states were left that had not established speed limits.


In What Country Will You Find the Highest Speed Limit? Although the UAE does have maximum and minimum speed limits, which depend on the types of roads and vehicles, it currently offers the highest speed limits in the world for those who really want to break loose. Two of its major highways, the Sheikh Khalifa and Abu Dhabi-Al Ain highways, have 99 mph speed limits. Some vehicles such as buses and trucks have speed limiters installed to help prevent accidents involving heavier vehicles.

What U.S. President Was Arrested for Speeding? Ulysses S. Grant was arrested near the corner of M and 13th Street in Washington, D.C. and charged with driving his team of horses too fast. The arresting officer, William West, apparently lectured the president on the dangers of speeding after having pulled the president's buggy over the day before. Grant's response was to apologize and say that he would obey the law. However, the president had a short memory, because the same police officer pulled him over the next day doing the same thing. This time, in addition to the lecture, the officer took the president to the police station after having ordered the president to stop (which was ignored) and then chasing after the president to pull the team of horses over.

How Much Was the Biggest Fine for Speeding? The lesson here is to never speed in Sweden. In 2010, one driver was fined $290,000 while speeding in Sweden. He happened to be caught zooming along in his Ferrari through a rural village at 85 mph.