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It pays to avoid a ticket -- or fight one
MSN Money ^ | July 15, 2003 | Chris Solomon

Posted on 07/15/2003 11:22:14 AM PDT by mvpel

The best advice is simply not to speed, at least not brazenly. But if you get nailed, fight it -- because a $50 ticket can cost you thousands once your insurer gets wind of it.

 By Chris Solomon

Now is a very bad time to have a lead foot.

States facing yawning budget gaps are finding new money by pinching speeders more frequently -- and pinching them harder, too. Texas lawmakers recently added $30 to fines for speeding tickets. California has added a surcharge of between $7 and $20, depending on the severity of the violation. And the Illinois Legislature is set to tag an additional $4 to the cost of a minor speeding ticket.

True, four more bucks won’t change your life, but the fine is usually the least of your worries. Even one speeding ticket can begin to turn your name to mud in your insurer’s eyes. More than one can cost you thousands of dollars in higher premiums.

Insurance companies say punishing speeders is well warranted: In one study, California drivers with one speeding citation in a three-year period had a crash rate 50% higher, on average, than those with no infractions -- and the crash rate more than doubled for those who had two or more tickets, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, industry-sponsored research groups.

A ticket from Johnny Law does seem to slow people down, at least for a bit. A study of Ontario traffic statistics, published in the British medical journal the Lancet, found that a conviction for a moving violation cut the risk of a fatal crash in the following month by 35%. The benefit evaporated by four months after the conviction. Assigning penalty points to a driver’s license -- especially for speeding tickets -- reduced the risk of fatal crashes more than convictions without penalty points.

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Keeping your nose clean
Still, as long as running late is an American pastime, people will speed. And there are ways to protect yourself and your premiums. First, reduce your likelihood of getting snagged by the speed gun in these ways:


The traffic stop and its aftermath
You get pulled over anyway. Now what do you do?



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: insurance; police; speeding; tickets
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1 posted on 07/15/2003 11:22:15 AM PDT by mvpel
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To: mvpel
2 other pieces of advice:
Don't tell your insurance company, lag time between you getting the ticket and them finding out about the ticket can be as much as 6 months, but the surcharge clock starts ticking the minute you get the ticket which leads to #2
Remind the insurance company when the surcharge should end, they tend to have the same lag time (or more) taking charges off as adding them, unless you bug them about it, find out what their surcharge period is for a ticket (2 or 3 years depending on your company) and the day after the appropriate anniversary call them
2 posted on 07/15/2003 11:28:48 AM PDT by discostu (the train that won't stop going, no way to slow down)
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To: mvpel
In parts of Florida you have bulk firms which represent people for as little as $35.00.

It pays to fight tickets in certain states. It pays to ask.

Ps buy a license plate sheild.
3 posted on 07/15/2003 11:29:31 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: All
A Recall AND a Fundraiser? I'm toast.
Let's get this over with FAST. Please contribute!

4 posted on 07/15/2003 11:29:56 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: mvpel
When I was young and foolish, I fought two speeding tickets in court...Won one when the cop didn't show and lost one 'cause, well, I was guilty.
5 posted on 07/15/2003 11:34:01 AM PDT by Drango (Just 5 a day will end pledge drives on FreeRepublic.)
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To: mvpel
I served on the Grand Jury for the first time in my county about 10 years ago. Since then, the few tickets that I have gotten (I use to drive about 70,000 miles a year) I ALWAYS fight. They almost never get through the grand jury unless someone was injured or it was a DUI. Most of the time the DA would call and try to "settle" with me, I respectfully say no then they let me "sweat" for a few months and then drop the charges. the down side? We have an illegal court system that you have to go to first. You are always found guilty then you can contest it, request a jury trial, pay your "bond" (= to your fine), and then the legal court process starts. You miss a day's work to go to this sham traffic court and then they keep your "bond" for up to two years when the statue of limitations runs out.
6 posted on 07/15/2003 11:37:38 AM PDT by CCCV
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To: mvpel; Catspaw; LouD; Crow; steveegg; afraidfortherepublic; petuniasevan
Any advice for my husband who recently received a speeding ticket from a rent-a-cop in the Town of Ripon in Fond du lac County?

He was on his way out of town and apparently started his acceleration to the highway speed before he completely cleared town. Was clocked at 49 in a 35.

Pertinent facts:
1) Driving a rental car.
2) Rental car with Illinois plates.
3)Unfamiliar with the area, he was on his way home from calling on a customer in Green Lake.

His court date is this Thursday. I want him to try to get it changed to a non moving violation of some kind or at least get the miles over speed limit reduced, he just wants to pay it and be done with it. He's very embarrassed. Been driving 25+ years with no traffic violations.

To top it all off, our insurance premiums are already sky-high because we have 2 teeneged drivers!!

7 posted on 07/15/2003 11:43:32 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
The website where I describe my ticket-fighting experiences is http://www.aidoann.com/

As for your husband's situation, take a look at the laws regarding the setting and posting of speed limits, the 35mph limit at that point might not be legal.
8 posted on 07/15/2003 11:45:36 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: discostu
Sure-fire method to avoid speeding tickets:

Don't speed.

I'm 40 years speeding ticket-free.
9 posted on 07/15/2003 11:52:59 AM PDT by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Trust but Verify
Also, the fact that he was driving a rental car with Illinois plates are not pertinent to the issuance of the ticket. That he was unfamiliar with the area is something to say to the judge to try to get him to go easy on you. The fact that he's got a 25-year clean record would also be a pretty large mark in his favor in front of most judges.

Given that, I think he'd have a pretty good shot at getting it kicked down or out, unless the town in question is running a ticket mill. Where is Ripton anyway?
10 posted on 07/15/2003 11:54:00 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: MineralMan
I hope you're not one of those obnoxious people who drive exactly 65mph in the leftmost lane and create a dangerous traffic situation for everyone else. :-D
11 posted on 07/15/2003 11:54:44 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: MineralMan
Cops can pull you over and give you a ticket for *anything* they want. They were pulling over cars 3-4 at a time last week. I got pulled over as well, the cop claimed that I was driving on the "zebra" lines (shoulder, basically) which was a lie. I had a passenger in my car, so I am fighting it.
12 posted on 07/15/2003 11:55:30 AM PDT by BrooklynGOP
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To: mvpel
I hope you're not one of those obnoxious people who drive/ride at highway speeds on residential streets and create a dangerous traffic situation for everyone else.
13 posted on 07/15/2003 11:56:27 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: mvpel
Strange are the ways of insurance companies. I got a ticket for 75 in 55 MPH zone, owned up to my insurance company. I also said on the questionaire that I drove 5500 miles per year.

They paid no attention to the ticket, and reduced my insurance rate because of low mileage.

But I don't fancy another...
14 posted on 07/15/2003 11:59:09 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: mvpel
The point about the Illinois plates is this: Wisconsin cops have it in for Illinois drivers. And let's be honest, all municipalities are using traffic and parking fines to fill their budget gaps these days.

Ripon is just outside of Fond du lac, Wisconsin. There is the City of Ripon and the Town of Ripon. A friend of my husband's who is more familiar with that area said the T of Ripon cops are Rent-A-Cops and have an overinflated sense of their importance.

15 posted on 07/15/2003 11:59:17 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
He wasn't ticketed in Rosendale? That's a shock. Rosendale is the #1 speed trap on our side of the state. Ripon must be taking lessons from them.

You can take it to court, but make sure you've got your evidence--did this happen where the speed is reduced from 55 to 45 or 35 in too short a distance (that's Rosendale's trick)? If so, what is the distance between the two signs? Is the officer's radar gun working correctly?

I can come up with more, but if the officer doesn't show up for court, have your hubby ask for a dismissal.

16 posted on 07/15/2003 11:59:52 AM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Trust but Verify
Agree with #8.

Also, read VERY CLOSELY into the State's, counties and City's traffic laws. I have beaten a ticket for exceeding the recommended speed limit during incement weather ( I was doing 40 in a 55 but hit water and hydroplaned) - because the officer did not write on the ticket his recommended speed limit as required by State law.

17 posted on 07/15/2003 12:01:48 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: Catspaw
It wasn't Rosendale but it sounds like the same set up. They perch themselves in a spot where they can catch people as they are leaving town and ratcheting up their speed and they pounce on them. The jackass even said something to him like, "I bet you thought because you left the curbed streets behind you were in the clear, didn't you?" What a jerk.
18 posted on 07/15/2003 12:02:39 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
The point about the Illinois plates is this: Wisconsin cops have it in for Illinois drivers.

That bit of anecdotal evidence doesn't carry any legal weight in court, is what I was trying to say.

19 posted on 07/15/2003 12:04:04 PM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: Trust but Verify
Considering that it's 14 over, I doubt that the "deal of the day" that some courts do for those that just show up will completely wipe it off the record. Even if the court does offer it, it will usually simply be changing the citation to something that offers less points but still offers the same fine. Example, more than 10 years ago, I was pulled over for doing 16 over. The "deal of the day" in my case was to reduce my 4-point 16 over ticket to a 2-point defective speedometer, but the fine remained unchanged.

As for actually fighting it, the only circumstance that MAY be considered is the fact that it was a rental he was driving. Even then, it's likely that the most that would be done is to reduce the ticket to a defective speedometer. That would require a testing of the speedometer, not an easy task with a rental.

20 posted on 07/15/2003 12:04:30 PM PDT by steveegg (Help kill this tagline - donate to FR today - https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate)
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