‘Tis The Season To Get A Speeding Ticket! Are You Next?

by Paul Michael on 22 December 2009 11 comments

Yes, speeding tickets suck. And yes, they’re also a necessary deterrent; they come not just with fines and points on your license, but insurance rate hikes. This is also the time of year when more speeding tickets are issued, and you may be more likely to get one based on a few factors.

So, why is this time of year open season on drivers? And how could you be more likely to get a ticket? Well, there are several factors, which some police officer friends of mine recently let me in on. The most obvious is that it’s party season, with the Holidays and New Year's. And parties mean drinking, which means bad driving. There are more cops on the roads, and more cops means more chances of getting a ticket. Simple math. But what about your own situation? What are the circumstances that put you in a higher-risk category of getting a speeding ticket? Here are some questions that will help.

Where do you live?

This is not just party season; it’s also budget season. People in businesses everywhere are having huddled conversations with accountants and tax attorneys. And unfortunately, every state in America is also trying to balance the budget (or these days, get somewhere close to breaking even). If you happen to live in a state that’s got way more money problems than it should have (sorry Californians) then you’re going to be on the receiving end of some budget-boosting strategies. Enter the police force. They have the ability to create revenue for the state in the form of traffic violations. For example, the average traffic cop will cost a city about $75,000 per year in salary, bonuses, and benefits. This same police officer will make the city an average of $200,000 per year in traffic ticket fines. That’s $125,000 in pure profit!

Make no mistake, this is lucrative. Here are just a few stats I found on the kind of money this can bring in (and this is JUST for speeding tickets — this doesn’t include any other type of traffic violation):

  • Over 100,000 people a day receive a speeding ticket in this country. That equates to over 41 million speeding tickets per year.
  • One in every six drivers will get a speeding ticket this year.
  • The average speeding ticket costs $150.00.
  • 41,000,000 x 150.00 = $6,150,000,000! That’s right…over $6 BILLION.
  • The average raise in insurance costs for one speeding ticket over the course of 3 years is $900.00.
  • 41,000,000 x 900 = $36,900,000,000 in extra insurance money in 3 years.
  • Over 95% of people who receive a speeding ticket never contest it and just pay the fine. That includes me by the way.
  • The 5% who fight the ticket usually have their case dismissed and/or receive reduced charges that don’t get reported on their driving record. (Oh, and at least 50% of the time, the officer who gave you the ticket doesn’t show up.)

What do you drive?

AOL.com recently released a list of the top 10 makes and models of cars that have increased chances of getting a speeding ticket. If you’re on it (and if you drive a Scion, you probably are) then you increase your chances of getting the ticket. Scion drivers tend to be younger, preferring the cheaper, highly-customizable car. And the Hummer — well, it’s hard to miss one of these suckers.

  • #9 (tied) Toyota Matrix: 2.64 times higher-than-average
  • #9 (tied) Audi A4: 2.64 times higher-than-average
  • #8 Subaru Outback: 2.66 times higher-than-average
  • #7 Scion xA: 2.75 times higher-than-average
  • #6 Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG: 2.76 times higher-than-average
  • #5 Toyota Camry Solara: 3.06 times higher-than-average
  • #4 Mercedes-Benz CLK: 3.97 times higher-than-average
  • #3 Scion xB: 4.03 times higher-than-average
  • #2 Scion tC: 4.60 times higher-than-average
  • #1 Hummer H2 / H3: 4.63 times higher-than-average

How old are you?

Hold your breath for this staggering stat. The age groups between 17 and 24 years of age receive the most speeding tickets. I know, I was shocked, too. I figured it would be retired nuns. But seriously, at this age the lack of road experience, the determination to disregard rules, and the attitude of thinking they will live forever, keeps this age group at the top of the speeding ticket pile.

What sex are you?

This one is all against men. First, men seem more willing to speed. Next, men have a harder time getting out of a ticket than women. I’m not saying why, but just ask around and see how many men compared to women have ever been let off with just a warning. And finally, more women than men are smart enough to fight the tickets. So, if you’re a guy, you’ve got it all working against you.

And finally…are you a doctor?

Doctors receive the most speeding tickets than any other profession. Maybe this has something to do with emergency calls. Maybe it just goes hand-in-hand with psyche of someone who wants to be a doctor. But, whatever the reason, if you answered yes to that question, your chances of getting a ticket just went up.

So, if you’re a 23 year old male doctor, living in California, driving a shiny Hummer H2, I’d say you may just be better of taking the bus for the next few weeks.

Have a safe holiday season everyone.

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Andrea Karim's picture

Let this be a lesson to anyone who drives a Hummer. Ever.

I got pulled over the other day for going 8 miles over the speed limit. I was given a lecture, which was pretty good, considering I couldn't find my registration OR proof of insurance (they were on the kitchen counter). Maybe the cop assumed I was going to be a doctor; it WAS my dad's car.

Guest's picture
Michael

The biggest factor, of course, is if you are speeding or not.

Guest's picture
Guest

Another big factor is how much the town needs the money. Cops in some areas are notorious for finding any little fault (or in some cases just making stuff up) because they need the revenue. I think all fines should go to charity so that the cops don't have a financial incentive to give tickets.

Guest's picture
Chelsea

"I’d say you may just be better off taking the bus for the next few weeks."

Or you could just, you know, stop speeding.

Guest's picture
BEth

Doctors are mor likely to have Porsches

Guest's picture

Beth, literally anyone who can afford a car can afford a Porsche. o_O I'm not lying, I just never said it would be a new and shiny 997.

Besides, the only doctor I'm fairly good friends with owns two Subarus.

The issue here is that there are people speeding recklessly. Naturally, I speed -- 5 MPH over the limit, sometimes 10. (Because where I live, if I don't I'm going to get run over. I am not kidding.)

For my age, 21, I'm also a much better driver than your average kid. I have a full year of autocrossing experience and track time under my belt... That's a lot more than most people twice my age. I take my driving very seriously... As evidenced by my clean driving record. I save it for the track, as I wouldn't disgrace the clubs I'm affiliated with by driving stupid on the streets.

Guest's picture
Richard

# The average raise in insurance costs for one speeding ticket over the course of 3 years is $900.00.
# 41,000,000 x 900 = $36,900,000,000 in extra insurance money in just 1 year!

Shouldn't that be # 41,000,000 x 900 = $36,900,000,000 in extra insurance money in 3 years?

Paul Michael's picture

Sorry, my bad. I have corrected the error. Thanks for the eagle-eyes.

Guest's picture

There are many common misconceptions about speeding tickets including the following:

Police officers follow quote systems?
They may exist in some areas but it doesn't really matter. Police officers patrolling around will issue tickets to whomever they see violate the law. Don't think that their supervisors won't ask them how many tickets were issued when they return to the police house (quote or not).

Officers will not issue a speeding ticket to motorists traveling less than 10 mph above the limit?
It depends on the officer. Generally, you'll get a 5 mph grace and sometimes up to 10 mph.

If I am stopped, I should flash a PBA or other police card?
I'd say no. If you have one, I'd be subtle about. As you "look" for your license, make sure officer can see that you have one.

If the cop makes a mistake on the ticket like writing the wrong birth date, then I'll win the case?
No, unlike a parking ticket, most mistakes on the ticket will not result in a dismissal. Further, up to the time of trial, the officer may amend the ticket to correct a mistake or omission. Exceptions exist for substantial errors like the date of offense and place of occurrence.

Guest's picture
Cheap_yankee

Although most of the cops I know are pure professionals, there's a few real cowboys out there (especially amongst the state police, it seems) who will pull all sorts of tricks to give you a ticket. There was a rash of people who complained that a state trooper on once certain highway route would pull up behind them in the dark, turn on his high beams, tailgate really close, and wag back and forth like a lunatic until the driver sped up to get around whatever car was in the slow lane to get out of the way (despite being a 4-lane highway) then they'd get a ticket. It happened to us (my slowpoke husband driving, me and 3 kids in the car), and it happened to several other friends who are all cautious (and middle aged) drivers, and despite numerous complaints to the barracks supervisor nothing was done. At least with OUR crazy cop ticket we went to court to fight it and won!

There was also a town cop in a nearby town who was reportedly doing the same thing, only he'd turn off his headlights at night, speed up to a slow driver, then pull a similar scary act to get the nervous driver to speed up, then ticket him. He did it to my cousin, her brother, and finally my uncle, who worked for the town and had enough pull to finally get the chief to listen. At least that cop got nailed once enough people complained.

Most cops are just doing their job, but there's always a few bad apples...

Guest's picture

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art–if they desire to learn it–without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken the oath according to medical law, but to no one else.