Recently I went to Wilmington, DE on my first longest road-trip since I bought my car. Though it was (only?) 5 hours drive but driving alone all-the-way down and coming back isn't that exciting! (driving pleasures apart) It was a Saturday morning when I started, drove through New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware; while the surroundings change there were few common things throughout: us behind the wheels trying to stick to our plans and those watching us doing so safely. Yeah, those here refer to the state patrol troops, rangers and police officers. While they do their duty penalizing if we disobey, we still have chances to save on those fines.
On my way to Delaware I saw some cars pulled over and may be most of them got fined for violating traffic laws, that left me pondering over the topic and inspired me to share this on Let's Be Curious. This is what the article is about: tips on how to tackle a traffic stop and avoid getting a fine.
- Yearly Speeding Tickets by State
Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a non-profit organization which administers several programs to enforce safe driving habits on interstates. GHSA conducts and publishes relevant surveys from time to time under title 'Survey Of The States'. Most recent and relevant one I found was published in 2005 based on three years data on 'speeding' habits.
I was amazed by the numbers when I grazed over the report. Let me tabulate some of the eye-catchers:
|State ||Average Speeding Citations Over Past Few years|
|Dist. Of Columbia||385,618|
Note: Although GHSA operates in all states but data for some of them was not available, including New York!
This table itself is enough to give an idea about how much revenue these citations might be generating for the states, worth driving and behaving careful while at the wheels fellas, read on ...
- The Golden Rule - Keep Watching For Signs On Road
- it is safe
- it is recommended
- it gives you sufficient time to adjust to changing traffic conditions
- Dealing With A Traffic Ticket
- Stop Immediately, Safely and Properly
b) Turn-off engine
c) Keep your driver license and vehicle registration ready
d) Roll down driver side window, if not already
e) Keep both your hands on steering
f) Think what is the speed limit of this zone. If you don't remember use your
experience and judgement to come-up with something logical and safe.
Traffic stops are supposed to be very dangerous tasks in a Police Officer's day-to-day activities and thus they are extra cautious when approaching the stopped vehicle. Any kind of movement in the vehicle by driver OR any of passengers is seen as highly suspicious, don't just do it. If you are in between any of the above steps when officer approaches, just stop whatever you are doing. Stay calm and wait for the officer's arrival at your window.
- Be Quiet, Let Officer Say The First Words - The 2 Important Questions
b) Do you know at what speed you were going?
Every traffic ticket can be challenged in court and this is officer's attempt to make you admit something which will wipe out all your chances to do so. Take your time to collect yourself and answer when you are ready. Below are the best of the responses to above questions:
b) Do you know at what speed you were going? Answer: Use the limit you
recollected/calculated as told in the previous section.
Never even try to admit what went wrong on your part, there are high chances that you might say something which the officer had not yet noticed. Never say you don't know what speed you were going at, you are responsible for maintaining your speed within safe limits and that's what the speed limit signs are meant for.
Based on my experience with speed limits in New York state, here are few limits I always remember:
b) State Highways - 55 mph
c) When entering a city/town/village - 45 mph
d) City/Village/Town - 30-35 mph
e) Watch out for reduced speeds for road works
- Be Polite And Respect Their Job
- If You Get A Ticket, Plead Not-Guilty ASAP
a) Who are you
b) You realize the severity of getting points on your driving record
c) Your have an impeccable record so far
d) Request to dismiss a ticket or at least reduce the fine and/or points
Many a times it is also suggested to try to postpone the appearance date in court in a hope for the officer who issued you the ticket would not show and ticket will be dismissed, I am not sure how much this trick may help, let me know if you have had any such experience.
- Consult Any Free Services Available
- Be Ready To Accept Any Deal Offered In Court
a) reduce the fine
b) reduce the points on your record
c) reduce both
d) reduce severity/charges of the ticket
Usually accepting these offers results in reduced fines, at least; only thing they need you to do is accept the reduced charges. There have been many instances when people rejected the offers and contended to prove their case, resulting in a win and dismissal of all citations. However, to make sure winning a case in a traffic court needs rigorous planning and adequate evidences, if you are confident you have those, it's worth giving it a try.
- Try To Avoid A Ticket In Future