Reasons for speeding: cops don’t buy it
I may have gotten tired after working in the traffic law field for so long, but I’m not surprised how easy it is to get a speeding ticket. However, that does not seem to be the case for many of my clients because almost every client I speak to regarding a speeding ticket seems to be surprised. Consequently, I often hear exclamations like, “But I was just keeping up with the traffic” or “Well, there were other drivers who were going faster than me.” Rarely does a client show up in my office saying, “Yeah, man. I was flying.”
The problem with these kinds of justifications is that law enforcement agencies just don’t care. They are there to do a job, and writing speeding tickets is one of the main responsibilities of that job. As such, they hear every possible excuse, the most frequent of which are ‘just keeping up with traffic’ or ‘I’m late for work’. Consequently, they have become accustomed to what may seem like a perfectly reasonable explanation to the driver. for exceeding the speed limit. This is especially true for drivers who feel that other drivers are traveling much faster than they are.
This is where the inevitable question of “Why me?” comes into play, and it can be practically impossible to answer. Maybe it’s because you also committed some other offense that caught the police officer’s attention, such as driving left of center or getting in and out of traffic. Sometimes, it can simply be the result of something seemingly insignificant like the model of car you drive. Sports cars will attract much more attention than a family sedan. After all, isn’t that the reason you bought a sports car to begin with? Makes a statement, right? Sometimes, however, that statement can be: “The hearing date is on the back of your subpoena. Have a nice day,” Officer Friendly says with a twinkle in his eye and a gleam reflected in his shiny plate.
Another reason why your sports car, or even your luxury car, may be stopped by another driver, is that it can upset a police officer by seeing you drive a vehicle that costs more than your annual salary. Well, when you are operating it against the law, it gives you a chance to do something about it. Oh what sweet justice this is for a cop who can have a chip on his shoulder.
Even the color of your car could be the cause of it being singled out. If you consider that you and the car next to you are exceeding the speed limit, the other driver is driving a beige minivan, and you are in a sleek, bright yellow vehicle, guess what? You wanted a shiny, shiny car because it turns heads and now you have it. I don’t want that to sound sarcastic, but it’s human nature to be drawn to shiny, shiny objects, and yes, cops are human too.
Whatever the reason you have been singled out, rest assured that you are not part of an exclusive group. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41,000,000 drivers receive traffic tickets annually. That figure represents nearly 21 percent of all licensed drivers in the US with more than 112,000 people receiving speeding tickets every day at an average cost of a $ 152 speeding ticket. Did you hear the cha-ching yet?
A $ 6.2 billion per year industry is a great incentive for law enforcement agencies across the country to spend some money hiring more officers and investing in speed detection devices and practices like air patrols, etc. It is also quite a motivating factor for some cities to become notorious speed traps. Being in Florida, most of us have heard that Waldo is a speed trap, getting more than 68 percent of the city’s revenue from speeding tickets, but that’s not unique to Florida. The section of Highway 19 that passes through Summersville, West Virginia, is also a well-known speed trap, and many of those who received tickets refute the speeding charges. There are also about a dozen smaller cities in the St. Louis area that have a reputation for being speed trap havens, so much so that the state of Missouri had to step in.
With the exception of cities like Summersville, where those who received them challenge the validity of many speeding tickets, there are certain steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of receiving a speeding ticket, in addition to the obvious practice of never speeding. These methods are as follows:
• Don’t “stand out from the rest.” As I mentioned earlier, avoid flashy vehicles, be it brightly colored cars, sports cars, or luxury cars. Sometimes the desire for positive attention can have negative consequences.
• If you are going to exceed the speed limit, the last thing you should do is be the leading car, no matter how fast other drivers are going. I can assure you that if there is a police officer looking to catch a speeder, the first vehicle he will notice is the one in front. This is another example of how differentiating yourself from other vehicles can have negative effects.
• Avoid aggressive driving behaviors. Frequent lane changes, trying to pass other drivers, rapid acceleration followed by frequent braking, etc., are strong indicators to a police officer that you are impatient and likely pose a risk to other drivers. This is the case even if you’re not accelerating, but they will also indicate that once you break free from being surrounded by other drivers, it can be a bit heavy on the gas pedal.
• You may also want to avoid staying in the fast lane, especially if you are holding other vehicles. This is sure to get the attention of any police officer looking for speed runners, especially if it is one of the drivers you are impeding.
• Always be aware of the cars in front of you. If they start to noticeably slow down or brake suddenly, they have probably seen a police officer sitting in a speed trap. Let it be one of them and not you who is chasing.
• Buy a radar detector. They are not illegal in the state of Florida and the high-end models can be extremely effective and, if you have a lead foot, it may well be worth the cost.
• Probably one of the easiest ways to avoid getting a speeding ticket other than never speeding is to scan the road, both in front of you and in your rearview mirror, for police cars. This includes looking for areas that would be the best option for a police officer to set up a speed trap. This includes areas such as breaks in medians, behind bridge abutments, on top of a hill, etc.
Regardless of whether you were actually speeding or not, if you receive a speeding ticket, call our office at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation. Even those drivers who were “flying” deserve a fair legal defense and after fighting over a million traffic tickets, we can often even get that ticket reduced or eliminated.