Excuses, Excuses! What Drivers Say when They're Pulled over - Sparrow Law Firm

If you are an average Raleigh driver, you probably follow the rules and pay attention to traffic signs and speed limits. During your driving lifetime, you may never be pulled over for driving while intoxicated, but you may get a ticket for a moving violation. Maybe you pushed it on a “pink” light and got nabbed by the traffic cop.

Or, maybe you made a left turn during rush hour, only to be informed by the officer that left turns are illegal from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on weekdays at that intersection — that intersection that you drive through every day. “But there are no signs!” you exclaim. “Ma’am,” — or sir, depending — “there are five signs,” the officer replies. Not only will you get a ticket, but you will that one driver in five that the officer pulls over who uses that excuse (or explanation).

A recent survey, conducted by an insurance information service, polled licensed drivers about the explanations they give to police when they are pulled over for a traffic violation. The most frequently used explanation was that the driver did not see the sign that siad not to do whatever it was that the driver did. Coming in second at 12.4 percent was a different kind of ignorance plea: I’m lost and don’t know the area.

Also on the list: “Everyone else was doing it,” cited by 6.4 percent of respondents, and the ever-popular “My GPS said it was the right thing to do,” cited by a surprisingly low 2.2 percent. Missing a turn, having an emergency in the car or being on the way to an emergency were offered up as well.

One surprising result was a difference between what men will say and what women will say. Of the respondents who told officers that they weren’t even supposed to be driving, that they were just helping out, a full 90 percent were men. Women were more likely to say they were lost or had to go to the bathroom.

The poll did not include questions about being suspected of drunk driving, but the website offered some good advice for every driver who is pulled over. First, turn on your right turn signal to communicate to the officer that you see him and move over to the right shoulder as quickly as possible (making sure it’s safe, of course). Turn on your flashers, turn off the radio and do not make a call or answer your cell phone.

Always stay inside your vehicle. The officer will come to you. And, finally, always put your hands in clear view — on the steering wheel is perhaps the best place.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Most-used excuses for getting out of traffic tickets: survey,” April 29, 2019