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Traffic Ticket Myths

Date posted: 03/16/2012

by Jen Lamboy on
in Tickets & Violations

shrugging driver Traffic Ticket MythsWe’ve all heard them: “You can’t get a traffic ticket for driving under the posted speed limit.” Or, “Driving with the flow of traffic prevents you from getting a speeding ticket.” The opinions out there are just as numerous as actual traffic laws. But what’s the truth? We chatted with a few ex cops to set the record straight. And the myths they busted just might stop you in your tracks.

Fact or Myth:

1)   Driving the posted speed limit won’t get you a traffic ticket.

Myth. The posted speed limit is the maximum legal speed during ideal road conditions. If it’s pouring rain, icy out or the roads are covered in slush, going the speed limit might not be safe. Therefore you could get a traffic ticket for driving the exact speed posted on the side of the road.

2)   Following the flow of traffic is a valid excuse for speeding.

Myth. Not only might you annoy the traffic cop by stating your reason for breaking the law, you’re also admitting guilt. Surprisingly, when we polled our users, many said moving with the flow of traffic won’t land you a speeding ticket. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

3)   Traffic cops have quotas.

Myth. Well, kinda. We couldn’t find a law enforcement officer who said this was true. In fact one ex cop we interviewed said, “If there is any law enforcement agency that acknowledges that they have a ticket quota, then Rip Van Winkle must be their chief. Not to say it isn’t possible somewhere, somehow in some no name, jerk water town. But very, very unlikely.” For more on this, check out our article on traffic ticket quotas. It just might change your way of thinking.

4)   There is a range above the posted speed limit that is legal for driving.

Myth. While many drivers think a cop can’t ticket them for only going a few miles over the posted speed limit, the truth is traffic laws offer no range that makes it legal to speed. Former Maryland cop Tod Burke adds that drivers who trust this myth often get themselves into a stickier situation. “People believe the police have to give them a range such as five over, and even tell the officer, ‘You can’t pull me over.’” He says the common response to this reaction is a traffic ticket.

5)   A few tears, a winning smile or a little cleavage never hurts.

That’s a tough one. Many women swear by this, including one of our users who advised drivers on our Facebook page to “flirt or name drop like crazy.” When we checked in with our law enforcement contacts they laughed. One former cop even said tears often caused him to quickly turn a warning into a traffic ticket.

What’s more truth than myth is that traffic laws exist to protect us. While getting pulled over and slapped with a ticket blows, the presence of cops on our roadways is a good thing. So please drive safely, stay up to date on your state’s traffic laws and the next time you hear a traffic stop myth, leave a comment below or drop us a line on Facebook. We love debunking these bad boys.



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About Jen Lamboy

Jen Lamboy is a Colorado-based word girl and yoga teacher. She's covered crime beats (which made her cry), endurance sports (well, OK, that made her cry, too), arts and entertainment, pop culture, dining, health and wellness, you name it. She's also written for various food publications and another rag called The Onion that has very little do with edible goodness. When she's not running mountain trails, holding a handstand while listening to Survivor's Eye of the Tiger, or chasing a smaller being around the front yard, Jen is sitting at the edge of her kitchen chair tapping away about the riveting automotive world. More articles by Jen Lamboy

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