Reckless driving can be costly. But when you take into account that the average speed of a vehicle in 1917 was 10-15 miles per hour, one wonders how much damage could actually occur. Adjusting the fine to today’s costs this fine would be $1012.12 for the first offense, $2024.24 for the second. This was a significant increase in fines by Judge William Moylan from just one year earlier when the first speeder in Eveleth, Louis Rich, was warned that he would be serving time at the work farm without paying any fine for a second offense.
Driver Gets Heavy Fine
Matt Lake Assessed $100 for Second Appearance
on Charge of Reckless Driving
"A second offence for reckless driving enriched the city treasury just one hundred dollars when Matt Lake was brought before Judge Moylan last Thursday. Lake was arrested some time ago and the judge at that time assessed a fine of $50 and revoked his license to drive.
"After two weeks the judge permitted Lake to take charge of the car again with the result that he was again brought up before the court. For the second offence the fine was doubled and the license was again revoked."
--Eveleth News September 20, 1917
An important thing to remember when considering these hefty fines is the cost of the car itself. A new Ford Model T Touring Car cost $360 in 1917, making the fines equal to almost half the price of a new car!