Speeding through court
MANY PEOPLE HAVE written me, angry and confused as to why the cost of traffic tickets has
increased astronomically. I have done some research,
and found out a few facts and figures people may
not be aware of in regard to this issue.
On average, more than 100,000 people per day
receive a speeding ticket in this country. That’s close
to 40 million speeding tickets per year. The average
speeding ticket costs $150. More than 95 percent of
people who receive a speeding ticket never contest it
and simply pay the fine. The average traffic officer
will make a city an average of $200,000 per year in
traffic ticket fines.
The average increase in insurance costs for one
speeding ticket over the course of three years is
$900. That amounts to about $12 billion extra the
insurance industry makes in a single year just from
Because of traffic stops, or speed traps, many
drivers find themselves constantly checking their
rearview mirrors—not for safety’s sake, but for
the police. Does this make streets safer? And
drivers now have to beware of overhead traffic
cameras, which are arguably an invasion of privacy.
So, when all is said and done, does the traffic penalty system make society safer or more paranoid?
Is it just or unfair?
I classify traffic violations as a hefty “hidden
tax” in addition to the taxes we already pay, and it
is not clear if these fees deter poor driving.
I recommend that drivers constantly read up on
the new studies, tips and rules that are readily available on the Internet (do a search for “tips for avoiding tickets”). Even though drivers should be ticketed
for speeding, the cost of such a violation should not
be the equivalent of a day’s pay.
Let’s rethink the system and figure out how to
make it fair for all. Find out who your local elected
officials are and let them know how you feel about
the high price of traffic-related fines and the inconvenience of the system as it is now.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are
pulled over or charged with a traffic offense.
• When pulled over, say as little as possible,
other than to answer the few questions, such as your
name and whether you have insurance. Do not
admit guilt, as this can be used against you, although
if the officer asks, “Is there a reason why you were
speeding?” you could say something like “I’m not
aware I was speeding.”
• Avoid arguing or being belligerent with the
officer. You won’t win, and this will make things
OUR HOME was remodeled four years ago, and the
waterproofing of our balcony
decks failed miserably. Based
on quotes from three different businesses, our insurance
company said it would cost
$25,000 for repairs. When we
went to the waterproofing
company, we learned that
they had sold their business.
The new owners’ insurance
company said they would
only pay $15,000. Obviously,
the new owners have no
intention of resolving this
and are trying to hide behind
their own insurance company quote, in order to save
money. What can we do?
• Know the exact speed you were driving. If the
ticket says you were driving faster than you actually
were, even if you were still speeding, the ticket can
• Write down as many details of the incident as
you can, as this will be helpful in court. Take notes
right after the officer has ticketed you.
• Take the ticket to traffic court whenever you
can. Remember that you are innocent until proven
guilty, and, at the very least, the fine could be reduced.
Those who make an effort to fight a ticket often have
their case dismissed or receive reduced charges that
won’t appear on their driving record, which means
their insurance rates won’t be affected.
• According to statistics, 30 to 50 percent of
the time, the ticketing police officer
fails to show up in court. This is
often grounds for dismissal of the
case. The longer it takes for your
case to reach court, the less likely
it is that the officer will show up.
• Know everything about
the situation and refer to your
notes. Come prepared. Many
things can be used to dismiss the case, from the exact
wording of the offense to
proving the radar gun
might not have worked to
questioning how the officer could have judged
your speed based on how
fast he or she was driving.
Of course, the best
way to avoid these troubles
in the first place is to drive
responsibly, and obey all
traffic signals and posted
signs. If you’ve done everything right and still find
yourself in court, FightBack!
by arming yourself with information. C
Go back to your insurance
company and have them get
directly involved with
the new owners’
Your insurance com-
pany should be able
to show that the
three higher quotes
similar and that
$25,000 is clearly
what it will take
to get this work
Update: We learned
that after their insur-
ance company went
to the owners of the
the family was awarded
what they needed to get
the work done with every-
thing that was necessary
for proper remodeling, at the
higher, and accurate, quote.
© 2010 FIGHT BACK! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate (
He is a frequent guest on radio and television stations. Consult your
local listings for dates and times.
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SEPTEMBER 2010 ;e Costco Connection 13
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