It's what everyone wishes they'll never see while driving: the dreaded "flashing blues" in their rearview mirror, an indication that someone's about to be pulled over for speeding. Hopefully, not you.
At one point or another, just about everyone drives faster than the posted speed limit. Generally speaking, traffic enforcement officers give motorists some latitude - allowing motorists to drive between 5 and 10 miles per hour faster than what's allowed for - but anything more than that, and the flashing blues come out.
There's no denying that speeding is a significant safety issue. In a poll conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of motorists said that they considered speeding to be a problem on the country's main roads and back roads. In 2013, nearly 10,000 people died in speeding-related highway accidents, accounting for almost 30% of all crash fatalities. And in most of these incidents, motorists were traveling faster than 55 miles per hour.
The overriding concern as it relates to speeding is that fellow motorists' safety is threatened when exceeding the posted limit. To discourage the behavior, police officers issue traffic tickets. Usually costing at least $100, the overall amount typically depends on the state and how egregious the offense was, as driving 20 mph over the limit usually carries a more significant fine than going 5 mph over.
A speeding ticket has lasting effects. It can cause auto insurance premiums to increase for motorists who are convicted and attaches points onto one's driving record. Accumulate too much, and it could result in license suspension.
Every ticket lists what a driver's options are should they be cited for speeding. The question is whether you should contest a ticket's legitimacy or accept the punishment. Here are a few items to consider:
Have the facts
If you can establish proof that you were within range of the posted speed limit, then it's worth your while to put up a fight. Occasionally, a police officer's radar may be faulty or their memory may be different from yours. If you have corroborating evidence that demonstrates your side of the story, contesting a citation is worthwhile.
Consider the consequences
When it comes right down to it, the validity of a traffic ticket is your word against theirs. Generally speaking, most courts decide in the favor of the police officer, typically because they have proof that confirms their observation.
Furthermore, even if you think you have a compelling argument, there's no guarantee that the judge will decide in your favor. Thus, you can wind up spending hours upon hours in court hearings and paying legal fees if you hire legal counsel, on top of the original ticket citation.
Objectively assess your situation
Most people who speed don't have a good reason for it. But occasionally, the ends justify the means. For example, you may have been in a situation where you or a family member required immediate medical attention at a hospital. Alternatively, the flow of traffic may be faster than the limit, requiring you to exceed the limit, such as on the highway, for example. Generally speaking, though, there aren't many excuses for speeding.
It's in your interest to adhere to the speed limit as closely as possible, both for the good of your safety and your auto insurance premiums. To learn more about how being a safe driver can lower your auto insurance costs, speak with a Selective agent.