According the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHSTA) speeding is a factor in about 30 percent of all fatal crashes. About 1,000 crash fatalities result from speeding-related motor vehicle traffic crashes every month. (NHTSA 2005 Traffic Safety Facts.)
As a retired police officer, I’ve heard my share of excuses for getting out of a speeding ticket. I’ve heard it all from “I’m lost” to “I have to go to the bathroom!” A comrade heard one of the best excuses when a woman put a towel over her lap and claimed it was, putting it mildly, “her womanly time.” My personal favorite was the little old lady leaving church who turned her hymn book right side up because it had a cross on it. Before you ask, No I didn’t! It was Sunday for Pete’s sake!
Mostly the excuses are just automatic responses due to the uncontrollable human necessity to avoid responsibility for their own actions. Whether you mean to or not the fact still remains that you do not have to speed. So don’t press that pedal called the accelerator and the car won’t go any faster.
I will tell you from my experience that the best way to get out of a speeding ticket is to simply be honest. Honesty is a breath of fresh air to any police officer anywhere! Police officers are told a lie 99.9% of the time and when someone is honest, it is like a cool refreshing breeze on a hot summer’s day. The first thing the police officer usually thinks to do is reward you for being honest and issue a warning instead of a citation.
The best response I ever heard from a driver who was being honest was as follows. “You’re absolutely right officer. I was speeding and I apologize.” I paused and advised the driver that I would be back after I checked his license. After confirming that all was okay, I returned to the driver and advised him, “You played it right, sir. Please slow it down and have a nice day.”
Please understand that this isn’t going to work every time. I worked with some officers who literally cited their own mother. I’m still bewildered by that mentality after all of these years. The fact remains that the officer pulled you over for what he firmly believes was a speeding violation. Speeding tickets are hard to beat in court and typically only result in lost time, wages, and having to pay a higher fine and court costs. The average payout on a speeding ticket is usually far less than the maximum penalty, and even worse, you may find yourself going to traffic school.
If you receive a speeding citation after being honest to the officer, simply thank the officer for doing their job and to be safe. After all, slowing traffic down is their job; otherwise there would be total chaos on the highways. Think of how bad it is now with the police enforcing traffic laws. It would be another India without them!
Take the time to thank an officer much like you do a veteran. The police officers across the U.S. are serving their country too, at least their little corner of it. Whether it is LA or Mayberry, the police officers are out there just trying to keep you safe. It’s a thankless job and most of the time the police officer is so used to negative contact that he grows to expect it every time. Surprise a police officer the next time you run into one. Just say, “Thank you for keeping us all safe and you stay safe too.” It will make both of you feel better about yourselves. Besides, chances are very good that officer may pull you over for speeding someday.