Times are tough right now. The economy is suffering from a crippling recession, bordering on an economic depression. Most people can barely afford to spend on simple luxuries like vacations and new electronics – it’s just a fact. With that in mind, it is safe to say that a mistake like getting a speeding ticket can cost you way more than it typically would. Not only is speeding dangerous to yourself and others around you, but a seventy-five dollar speeding ticket can quickly mount into thousands of dollars of fees over time when your insurance provider finds out about it.
When someone receives a speeding ticket, it gets noted in the insurance company’s filing and the driver’s premium can be increased significantly. In fact, it almost always increases. And by quite a bit, too. Some statistics to ponder:
-Speeding tickets are doled out to over 100,000 people a day in the United States.
-A ticket will cost the driver on average about $150.00. This is just upfront.
-After insurance premiums get raised, the average sum of money calculated after three years of paying upped premiums sits around $900.
-An average of 41,000,000 speeding tickets are issued in any given year in the United States.
Nine hundred dollars is a lot of money to pay for something that could easily be avoided. Speeding can be dangerous and risk lives, however, most people do it anyway. So what does someone with empty pockets who gets bagged speeding do to help themselves?
Most people don’t realize how effective contesting a ticket can be. The statistics show that most police only show up for ticket hearings about fifty percent of the time. The exact reason for this is unknown, but logic would dictate that most police officers have better things to do with their time than to contest a ticket for 45 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. However, sometimes the police officer will show up to the hearing, and you will not always win your case. But there are some precautionary measures you may take to prevent getting a ticket to begin with.
-Driving a flashy sports car that screams “write me up!” will make you an instant target for the radar gun. It’s certainly nice to have a fancy car, but keep in mind when you go to the Infiniti dealership that cars like that are profiled by police officers on radar patrol. Perhaps rightfully so.
-Try not to cut too many corners on simple vehicle maintenance. So many people drive around with busted headlights and taillights, either careless to the fact that this is cop magnet behavior or just plain ignorant to the facts. If an officer sees you with a broken headlight or taillight, it’s an easy and perfectly ethical reason to pull you over and cite you for whatever he sees fit.
-Don’t be stupid on the road. Perhaps easier said than done, but use some common sense. If you are on the highway and are behind a police car – don’t pass it. Resist whatever temptation you may have. Even if you do it “politely” and without speeding, this will most likely be enough to incite resentment in the police officer – something that’ll never get you anywhere.
-Get rid of the police affiliation sticker. Okay, if you really want to keep it, you can, but police officers have stated on record that this will not cut you any sort of break. If you are going to get a speeding ticket, thWe “Support our State Troopers” sticker on your bumper won’t help you any.
-While we’re at it, the “No donuts for bad cops” bumper sticker should probably go too.
-Make sure to keep your eyes open in your rear-view and side mirrors. You should most likely be doing this anyway to watch for errant or reckless drivers who may sideswipe you, but keeping an eye open for police cars behind you and in what appear to be obvious hiding spots can stop you from getting a ticket.
-In the event that you do get pulled over, just be polite. Don’t kiss up, don’t act indifferent, and DEFINITELY don’t get an attitude with the officer. This would normally seem like common sense, but police officers have noted that most people who get pulled over could have gotten off light if it weren’t for the way they handled the situation. If a person shows remorse, they are much more likely to appear willing to avoid speeding in the future. On paper, that is the essential job of the police officer – to condition people to stop committing crimes that can endanger the community.
-If all else fails, when you do receive the ticket, don’t go home and pay it right away. Think about the repercussions that come along with a ticket financially. If you can really swallow the costs given the statistics provided earlier, then by all means, go for it. But more than likely, it would be in your favor to contest the ticket, especially when the police officer has a fifty percent chance of ditching out on the hearing anyway.
Clearly, there are plenty of ways you can avoid getting a ticket. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to request a copy of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles – it’s only a few dollars and you can do it online. You don’t even have to deal with the obnoxious lines or cranky employees.
So why bother getting a ticket when it can be easily avoided? As the economy sinks farther and our pockets get even more shallow, most of us can ill-afford the consequences of a speeding ticket. Most insurance companies reward safe drivers with lower premiums, and there is so much you can do to avoid being cited anyway – so why speed?
Just remember, if you STILL get caught speeding despite all this advice – contest it. When in doubt, remember that the officer probably won’t show up anyway.
Obey the speed limit. You’ll save money and maybe your life , too.