Fact or Fiction?
Fact- During difficult economic periods cities rely on traffic violations for added revenue. It’s been shown a 10% decrease in economic growth leads to a 6.5% increase in the number of speeding tickets issued.
Fact- You’re more likely to get a speeding ticket if you’re male.
Fact- The average traffic policeman costs a city roughly $75K yet they bring in about $200K in ticket revenue.
Fact- across the U.S. it’s estimated that 40 million tickets are written each year. That’s almost 110,000 per day or 4500 each hour.
Fact- The top 10 states you’re most likely to get a ticket in are Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Fact- Doctors are more likely to receive a ticket than any other profession.
Fact- It’s estimated that the public pays $6 billion in traffic fines each year.
Fact- One out of 6 drivers are issued a speeding ticket in their lifetime.
Fact- More women, rather than men, are willing to go to court to face the judge and fight their speeding ticket. It’s more likely for men to just pay the fine.
Fact- The fastest speeding ticket ever issued was to the driver of a Koenigsegg CC8S in Texas in 2003 at a speed of 242MPH in a 75MPH speed zone.
Fact- Only about 5% of people go to court to fight their speeding ticket while the other 95% send a check in the mail.
Fact- In some European countries speeding fines are based on income. In Finland one man received a ticket for over $200K. Luckily tickets in the U.S. top out at about $2500.
Fiction- Most people think once they're cited for speeding there is very little that can be done about it and it's not worth the fight. That's nothing more than a slick sales pitch to get you to give up and write a check. That officer's will tell you 2 or 3 times how easy it is to pay because the last thing he wants is to be on the stand answering questions from a well-prepared defendant.
Fiction- Writing a check to pay your fine for a $1 more than the actual fine trips up the system and they cannot properly process the transaction. As a result the check will not clear and you will avoid any points being reported on your MVR. This one I never understood but I’ve have people swear to me it worked. I think they got surprisingly lucky! The truth is the only people who know whether this works and why (if it does) are court employees who process the payments. Relying on this to get out of a ticket is a real gamble, especially when there are so many other options that result in a dismissed case or a flat out not guilty verdict. In today’s environment, the court systems across the country are overwhelmed with higher expenses and lower revenues, bottom line, they struggle to pay their bills. I think anyone in that situation will cash that check whether their accounting system balances or not.
Fiction- If I change my court date the officer may not show up. This can actually work so it’s not actually fiction but it can be a risky bet. If the officer does show what’s your next line of defense? Also in the event he’s not there the prosecutor can ask for the trial to be rescheduled as well. Looking at it from the judges chair, you asked for the trial to be rescheduled and it was granted. It’s only fair for the prosecution to be granted the same courtesy. If this happens you’ve tipped your hand to the prosecution. They now know you know something about the court system and intend to fight. You better expect that prosecutor to be more prepared for your case on the new court date.
Fiction- An officer must show you the speed reading if you ask to see it and by not showing you there is no proof of the violation. This is simply not true. Many times the officer will not allow you to approach the patrol car because of safety reasons, such as other cars speeding by at 70MPH. Also, once in the courtroom it’s the officer’s word versus yours. Without evidence the officer is wrong, you’ll lose that argument every time simply because so many people have lied to the judge to get out of trouble before.
Fiction- The officer must read you your rights. An officer does not have to read you your rights in a routine traffic stop. It is only necessary for the “Miranda rights” to be read before an interrogation. In a traffic stop there are typically very few questions the officer needs to ask because all the evidence they need is their own eye-witness testimony of the violation and any supporting evidence such as radar/laser reading. It is common for an officer to ask leading questions to get an admission of guilt. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” This is not a question you have to answer and the proper way to handle it is covered in this system.
Fiction- If I get a ticket in another state the information will not be sent to my home state. This is not true due to the “Driver’s License Compact”. This is an interstate compact used by 45 of the 50 states in the US. Any moving violation such as speeding, DUI, or license suspension is passed on to the home state and treated under home state laws. The only states that are not members are Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Michigan.
Fiction- Following the flow of traffic is a legitimate reason to speed. This idea is not true and can have grave consequences by stating this to the officer. In doing so you are admitting to speeding. This is one of the most important things you should not do if you’re pulled over. An admission of guilt is the kiss of death for even the best trial lawyer.
Fiction- If you don’t sign the ticket it will be dismissed. This is another one that gets a laugh in court. By signing the ticket you simply acknowledge that you were present at that time. It is not an admission of guilt and will certainly not be dismissed without the signature. In fact in some states you can be taken to jail for refusing to sign. I imagine this probably upsets the officer and can have more negative effects down the road.
Milestones of early traffic control devices:
• 1911, a centerline is painted on a Michigan road.
• 1914, the first electric traffic signal is installed in Cleveland.
• 1915, the first STOP sign appears in Detroit.
• 1916, the Federal-Aid Act requires that a State have a highway department before it can get Federal money.
• 1918, Wisconsin is the first state to erect official route signs as part of its maintenance functions.
• 1920, the first 3-color traffic signal is installed in Detroit.