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View Full Version : Can you get ticketed for going 1 mph over the speed limit?


SenorBeef
12-10-2002, 08:25 AM
I know most cops will give you at least 5 mph before they'll pull you over for speeding, but if they wanted to, could they pull you over for a 1 mph violation?

I assume there's some margin of error for their radar gear, and I'm thinking perhaps there needs to be a certain amount over the speed limit before a ticket can be given.

Or, perhaps, they can ticket you at 1 mph over the limit, but you could easily argue in court that their radar is off, etc. and get out of the ticket.

deathawk
12-10-2002, 08:33 AM
Can you? Yes. Will they? Probably not for reasons you note. However, if your ticket is for 1 mile over, your better bet is to have the speedometer calibrated by a licensed mechanic. The cops do have calibration tests they can produce regarding the radar, so I don't think that line is as easy as you think. While 1 mph over the limit is not the reason, you should consider that many states have a second class of speeding that is considered reckless driving. So being able to show the difference there is important.

Uncommon Sense
12-10-2002, 08:39 AM
Can they --- Yes, Will the judge throw it out ---- 99 percent of the time.

Typically (I know several cops) they will not engage you unless you are giong 6 over in a residential area, and 11 over on the freeway. `Course every cop is different so read the Disclaimer.

deathawk
12-10-2002, 08:40 AM
Meant to add this: In MD a few years ago they did have some "zero tolerance" campaigns where they did ticket anyone clocked over the limit. None of these tickets were thrown out as far as I am aware. If any were, it would have only been because someone brought spedometer calibration results with them to indicate that it could have been an error resulting from that, not the radar.

Speeding is Speeding, no matter how much over you are.

Mangetout
12-10-2002, 08:58 AM
It is rumoured that (here in the UK) they allow as much as 10% over to allow for calibration tolerances, but that doesn't mean you can drive at 77Mph in a 70 limit with impunity because if your speedometer is off, you could actually be doing 80+ when it only reads 77.

RickJay
12-10-2002, 09:04 AM
On freeways here in Ontario, I have NEVER heard of someone being pulled over for doing less than 120 km/h. The limit is 100. That's a wiggle room of 12.5 MPH.

jjimm
12-10-2002, 09:09 AM
AFAIK, speedo calibration is the responsibility of the car driver - so incorrect calibration iss no excuse in court. One would assume that cop cars have correctly calibrated cars, so, as Petit Pois says, 10% leeway WRT their speedo is given.

mazzer
12-10-2002, 09:15 AM
By the by, here in the U.S. at least, you can get a speeding ticket while driving under the posted limit. If the officer considers your speed to be unsafe under the current conditions (rain, snow, etc.), then he/she can ticket you. The speed limit is the maximum allowable under optimum conditions, so be careful not to take it for granted.

bordelond
12-10-2002, 09:19 AM
SenorBeef, my father was once actually pulled over and ticketed for going 61 mph in a 60 mph zone. It can happen.

BF
12-10-2002, 09:23 AM
AFAIK, speedo calibration is the responsibility of the car driver - so incorrect calibration iss no excuse in court. One would assume that cop cars have correctly calibrated cars, so, as Petit Pois says, 10% leeway WRT their speedo is given.Same goes for some jurisdictions in the US. If you get clocked doing 57 in a 55, get your speedometer calibrated and it shows it's off my 2mph, then you can be convicted of improper equipment, which probably means no points, but you're still paying a fine.

Meant to add this: In MD a few years ago they did have some "zero tolerance" campaigns where they did ticket anyone clocked over the limit. Correct. My father got a ticket on 495 near Indian Head for 56. The result of this campaign was that MD almost lost federal funding because they had the most ticketed drivers in the nation, or east coast, something like that. Needless to say, they chilled out, but their speed limit signs on 495 say STILL!! 55 MPH.

mrcrow
12-10-2002, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by Mangetout
It is rumoured that (here in the UK) they allow as much as 10% over to allow for calibration tolerances, but that doesn't mean you can drive at 77Mph in a 70 limit with impunity because if your speedometer is off, you could actually be doing 80+ when it only reads 77.
i second that
i had a car whose speedo was well out..probably more than 10% low
fortunately a friend who was tailing me in his mg asked why i drove so fast.
got the garage to check and re-do whatever and it was amazing the difference.
its funny how the numbers make it seem safe when it isnt.
my daughter got a nip for 35 in a 30 zone but it was a red light jump as well so i dont know if the speed was the criteria
i go along with the 10%
apparrently if you are doing over 30mph over the motorway limit it is instant loss of licence.:)

handy
12-10-2002, 10:05 AM
It depends on the Speed Zone Survey (California) too. If the survey says the safe speed is 30mph & they post a limit of 25mph & you are caught doing 26mph, your ticket would probably be thrown out.

skaterboarder87
12-10-2002, 10:54 AM
Originally posted by deathawk
[B]Meant to add this: In MD a few years ago they did have some "zero tolerance" campaigns where they did ticket anyone clocked over the limit. None of these tickets were thrown out as far as I am aware.

I'm guessing this "zero tolerance" event you speak of was actually referring to the procedure after you get pulled over, meaning the cops didn't give any warnings. If the cops were actually pulling people for only 1mph over, they'd have to stationed 24/7.

zuma
12-10-2002, 11:03 AM
Come on... no cop is going to pull you over for going 2 mph over the limit. Not gonna happen. Unless of course you are driving around in a crappy 20 year-old bondo-held-together car, a 1978 sedan with thumping stereo, or another suspicious vehicle.

If you are not driving in a suspicious vehicle, you have nothing to worry about. And a cop can find any reason to pull you over, no matter what your speed. If you are not driving a crapmobile and your tags are in order, you have nothing to worry about.

Rex Fenestrarum
12-10-2002, 11:07 AM
Well, in the state of Georgia only the State Patrol (acting as a direct agent of the state) can give you a ticket for going 1 mile over the limit - not that I've ever heard of anyone getting such a ticket.

On the other hand, all municipal or county officers (acting as a "delegate" of the state) CANNOT give you a ticket for such an infraction. In fact, if you look up the fine table for any city or county in Georgia, you'll see that the fines for speeding don't start until 11+ mph over the limit. Also, because the county or city cops are acting "indirectly" as agents of the state, any ticket they issue via radar is subject to regulations that don't apply to the State Patrol, such as the physical visibility of the officer, the incline of the area where you were nabbed and the aforementioned equipment calibration issue.

Your state should have something similar.

Bongmaster
12-10-2002, 11:18 AM
My girlfriend's aunt was ticketed in Spenserville Ohio about 8 years ago for doing 26mph in a 25mph zone. I was outraged, but she just paid it.

deathawk
12-10-2002, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by skaterboarder87
I'm guessing this "zero tolerance" event you speak of was actually referring to the procedure after you get pulled over, meaning the cops didn't give any warnings. If the cops were actually pulling people for only 1mph over, they'd have to stationed 24/7.

No it was for the violation itself. Not 24/7, but as another poster noted, they were camped out on 495 and other major highways and ticketing for any speed over limit. 1mph or 15mph - both got you pulled over. During rush hour and off peak. I forgot exactly why they stopped the campaigns per se., but BF's explanation sounds right for some reason.

Spoke
12-10-2002, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by Rex Fenestrarum
Well, in the state of Georgia only the State Patrol (acting as a direct agent of the state) can give you a ticket for going 1 mile over the limit - not that I've ever heard of anyone getting such a ticket.

On the other hand, all municipal or county officers (acting as a "delegate" of the state) CANNOT give you a ticket for such an infraction. In fact, if you look up the fine table for any city or county in Georgia, you'll see that the fines for speeding don't start until 11+ mph over the limit. Also, because the county or city cops are acting "indirectly" as agents of the state, any ticket they issue via radar is subject to regulations that don't apply to the State Patrol, such as the physical visibility of the officer, the incline of the area where you were nabbed and the aforementioned equipment calibration issue.

Your state should have something similar.

Sort of correct.

In Georgia, county and municipal cops can't use RADAR to give you a ticket unless you are going at least 10 miles over the posted speed limit. They could, however, pace you to give you a ticket for going less than 10 mph over the limit. (That is, follow behind you to match your speed.)

The State Patrol can do pretty much whatever they want, including giving you a ticket for going 1 mph over the speed limit.

Regardless of legalities, virtually all cops in GA will give you at least a 9 mph "cushion" before ticketing you. The only exceptions would occur in circumstances zuma notes, where the cops are looking for a reason to pull over a "suspicious" vehicle.

Spoke
12-10-2002, 11:45 AM
Hmm. Didn't mean to sound snarky, there, Rex. Sorry about that.

Dread Pirate Jimbo
12-10-2002, 12:23 PM
Here's a whole mess o' things to mull over:

I have heard from a reliable source that in the early 70s, when police were just learning to work with radar technology, a police officer clocked an oak tree travelling at 25 mph. That led to a long period of time where police wouldn't ticket drivers who were just barely over the limit because the calibration of the radar was not considered reliable.

More recently, with much more sophisticated radar guns which are far more consistent and accurate, a cop friend of mine here in Calgary has told me that police here won't even look at you under normal circumstances until you're doing 16+ km/h over, not because they don't trust their radar, but because below that is only worth one demerit, and over that is a three demerit penalty--it's not worth their while to get you for such a minor infraction. However, Calgary police also run zero tolerance campaigns a couple times a year, with much publicity, so drivers are expected to be on their toes for a week or so.

The only speeding ticket I've ever received was a photo radar ticket for 17 km/h over. I sent the cheque within a half hour of receiving the ticket. My dad got pinched for 9 km/h over a few years back, on a section of highway where the posted speed slows from 100km/h to 80.

Oh, and I can corroborate Rickjay's note about Ontario speeds. I learned to drive while living out there and got yelled at more by my driving instructor for hovering around the 100 km/h speed limit than I did for staying in the flow of traffic at around 115. When I was there, you didn't dare stray below 110 on highway 401, unless you really wanted to be run over by a semi.

occ
12-10-2002, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by deathawk
Meant to add this: In MD a few years ago they did have some "zero tolerance" campaigns where they did ticket anyone clocked over the limit. None of these tickets were thrown out as far as I am aware. If any were, it would have only been because someone brought spedometer calibration results with them to indicate that it could have been an error resulting from that, not the radar.

Speeding is Speeding, no matter how much over you are.

Yeah, but the above wasn't law enforcement, it was politics. One mile hour over would likely (a) get you out of the ticket, and (b) get the cop a talking-to for wasting the court's time. Unless, of course, some silly zero-tolerance campaign is in progress, in which case all bets are off.

Man, is there a more wonderful phrase than "zero tolerance"? Definitely in everybody's best interest!

occ
12-10-2002, 12:56 PM
Originally posted by jjimm
AFAIK, speedo calibration is the responsibility of the car driver - so incorrect calibration iss no excuse in court. One would assume that cop cars have correctly calibrated cars, so, as Petit Pois says, 10% leeway WRT their speedo is given.

The calibration tolerance in question is that of the radar gun, not the speedometer. However, if speeding really were enforced at the 1-mile-per-over level, it might well be an excuse, since I'd guess the average car's speedometer is off by at least 1 mph, dependant on speed.

Max Torque
12-10-2002, 01:06 PM
What the federal government did... was declare, in 1974, a National Pretend Speed Limit of 55. This has been strictly observed everywhere except on the actual roads, where the real speed limit--the one actually enforced by the police--is a secret, unposted number ranging between 63 and 78, unless an individual police officer does not care for the way you look, in which case the speed limit is zero.-- Dave Barry

So, yes, you can get a ticket for one MPH over the limit. Doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

Not long ago, while driving to the law school to take a final exam, I noticed something that really pissed me off: cops were hanging out in the bus stops on campus, running radar. I can't believe that they were such pricks that they would take advantage of the fact that students would probably be speeding if they were running late for an exam, so that they could write tickets and delay them even further. That's about five kinds of mean.

Bearflag70
12-10-2002, 01:12 PM
California Vehicle Code:

22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

22349. (a) Except as provided in Section 22356, no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.

22356. (a) [The Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol may raise the speed limit to 70 MPH on certain highways and shall cause appropriate signs to be erected giving notice thereof.]
(b) No person shall drive a vehicle upon that highway at a speed greater than 70 miles per hour, as posted.

When these laws went into effect, raising the 55 MPH limit, the CHP implemented a temporary "zero tolerance" policy and issued tickets to drivers going 66 MPH.

In Conceivable
12-10-2002, 01:39 PM
Originally posted by bordelond
SenorBeef, my father was once actually pulled over and ticketed for going 61 mph in a 60 mph zone. It can happen.

My father told me the same thing happened to him. Of course he told me that when I was 15 and he was teaching me how to drive. He later confessed that it never happened. ;)

Not saying that it didn't happen to your father. But, I have never actually seen a ticket for 1 mile over. Can't a difference of 1 mile an hour be accounted for by having the wrong amount of air in your tires?

badmana
12-10-2002, 02:15 PM
According to speedometer error allowance by the manufacture you could easily fight a +/-3 kph (about 1.5 mph) ticket. Car speedometers are not designed by the car company to be absolutely accurate. 1-3 percent off is nothing special.

car and driver (http://www.caranddriver.com/xp/Caranddriver/features/2002/april/200204_feature_speedometer.xml?keywords=speedometer)

and same site, different article (http://www.caranddriver.com/xp/Caranddriver/features/2002/april/200204_feature_speedometer_tables.xml?keywords=speedometer)


One other point. When changing tires you will also affect your speedometer reading. There are too many variations to account for, so I doubt many cops will actually ticket someone for 1-3 mph over. Most judges wouldn't bother and would probably get annoyed at the police officer.

I have received a 145 over a 100 zone (about 90 over 60) that was shot down to less than 129 ($350 ticket down to $100) so I'd love do see what would happen with a 1 kph over ticket.

Eberfinn
12-10-2002, 02:16 PM
Here in Florida there is a law on the books that you cannot be ticketed for going 1-5 mph over the speed limit. This is due to the fact that in the small town of Waldo the local police was supporting the town finances by ticketing people for going over the speed limit by just a few miles per hour. You can recieve a warning and after three warnings you can then be ticketed.

samarm
12-10-2002, 02:43 PM
I'm sure I read somewhere that some vehicle manufacturers make their speedos so that when they read 50mph (for example) the car is actually doing 49mph.

Anyone else hear of this?

Pushkin
12-10-2002, 02:48 PM
I was pulled over by a cop who had me driving at 43mph in a 30mph zone with his radar gun. Apart from taking my name and address I was allowed to proceed. I was told it was only because I was below the 45mph speed limit for learner drivers in the UK.
Disclaimer: Speeding is never right kids, but it was at the edge of a small town with a very wide straight stretch of road so I doubt any harm would have come of it. I always slow down in suburbia and the town centres. Dangerous not to if nothing else.

elmwood
12-10-2002, 03:31 PM
Several years ago, I got a ticket in Kenmore, New York for driving 33 MPH on a street where the posted speed limit was 30. The judge wouldn't hear of dismissing the case for a de minimus infraction; other defendants in the courtroom were cited for driving 2 MPH over.

Buffalo's suburbs are notorious for draconian traffic enforcement, and the area has a national reputation for slow drivers. Residents are terrified to drive above the speed limit, especially on expressways; sweeps are conducted several times a month, and seeing 15 or 20 police cars lined up on the shoulder waiting to chase speeders clocked a few hundred meters away.

Mangetout
12-10-2002, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by samarm
I'm sure I read somewhere that some vehicle manufacturers make their speedos so that when they read 50mph (for example) the car is actually doing 49mph.

Anyone else hear of this? Certainly isn't the case in my car; on UK motorways, the emergency telephones are exactly a mile apart; driving at exactly 60mph (really difficult to do unless it's a flat stretch), it takes me exactly 60 seconds to get from one to the next (improving the accuracy of the test by measuring the total time taken to pass 5 of them).

handy
12-10-2002, 06:27 PM
" 22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."

Yep, that's basically what a speed limit is. You can't drive faster than is safe for conditions. If its safe to do 26 in a 25 zone, well?

Bob55
12-10-2002, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by zuma
Come on... no cop is going to pull you over for going 2 mph over the limit. Not gonna happen.


Police in some nicer suburbs outside Orlando (Windimere, Bay Hill) are notorious for giving tickets to people going 32mph in a 30mph zone.

SenorBeef
12-10-2002, 09:06 PM
Originally posted by chriszarate
By the by, here in the U.S. at least, you can get a speeding ticket while driving under the posted limit. If the officer considers your speed to be unsafe under the current conditions (rain, snow, etc.), then he/she can ticket you. The speed limit is the maximum allowable under optimum conditions, so be careful not to take it for granted.

Is it arbitrary? I mean, if a few snowflakes are falling, can he ticket you for going 40 in a 40 if he deems it unsafe? Or is there some sort of objectivity built in?

Jet Jaguar
12-10-2002, 09:26 PM
I had a friend in college who was ticketed for 1 mph over, doing 36 mph in a 35 mph zone (the local cops had a habit of clocking students on the road coming out of the university's parking lot). He fought the ticket and got it dismissed because he found the legal allowable tolerance for a speedometer and that 1 mph was within the tolerance.

amarone
12-10-2002, 11:24 PM
Originally posted by spoke-
Sort of correct.

In Georgia, county and municipal cops can't use RADAR to give you a ticket unless you are going at least 10 miles over the posted speed limit. They could, however, pace you to give you a ticket for going less than 10 mph over the limit. (That is, follow behind you to match your speed.)

The State Patrol can do pretty much whatever they want, including giving you a ticket for going 1 mph over the speed limit.


I'd also heard that in Geargia the cop with the radar had to be visible for a certain number of feet - 500, I think. Can anyone confirm or correct that?

I got a ticket for 9mph over in GA, but it was a state cop (79 in a 70).

dqa
12-10-2002, 11:36 PM
I addressed this question in an old thread: Car color and tickets?? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=104568)

In the late 90's a study was done of two months worth of tickets written by state troopers in New Jersey. Of the 10 tickets that were written for drivers going 56mph, 8 were written by a single officer.

Blown & Injected
12-11-2002, 01:13 AM
Marylander here. I remember the even one mph over is speeding deal. It is for real but only lasted for a short time.

The man around here will usually not even look at one doing 10 mph over - there are so many doing far greater and more stupid things.

ElwoodCuse
12-11-2002, 02:30 AM
I've been driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 81 for quite some time, and I've found that even 10 miles over the limit generally won't catch the attention of stateys, because they could care less if you are doing 75 in 65. They would rather pull over the dude doing 85 or 90.

mrcrow
12-11-2002, 06:23 AM
the problem in the uk is that when you get a speeding ticket you also get 3 points on your licence
10 and you can lose it.
paying up 60 is the least of the problem
also just for interest most of the speed cameras are empty of film for a lot of the time because it costs a lot to fill er up
they do an actual dummy camera with flashing lights only
the red light camera is always kept filled...:cool:

Spoke
12-11-2002, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by amarone
I'd also heard that in Geargia the cop with the radar had to be visible for a certain number of feet - 500, I think. Can anyone confirm or correct that?

Yes, that's true (http://gnsun1.ganet.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/pub/ocode/ocgsearch?docname=OCode/G/40/14/7).

There are several other restrictions on use of radar by local cops (as apposed to the State Patrol). The idea is to prevent small towns from setting up unfair speed traps as revenue-generating devices. More restrictions here (http://gnsun1.ganet.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/pub/ocode/ocgsearch?docname=OCode/G/40/14/6), here (http://gnsun1.ganet.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/pub/ocode/ocgsearch?docname=OCode/G/40/14/9), and here (http://gnsun1.ganet.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/pub/ocode/ocgsearch?docname=OCode/G/40/14/11). The latter code section provides for suspension of a locality's permit to use radar devices if it is using them for revenue-generating purposes rather than to promote public safety.

With regard to the OP's question, here's the code section (http://gnsun1.ganet.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/pub/ocode/ocgsearch?docname=OCode/G/40/14/8) governing how much margin for error local cops in Georgia must give when using radar. As I mentioned before, the State Patrol is not governed by these restrictions. Only local cops.

I got a ticket for 9mph over in GA, but it was a state cop (79 in a 70).

Unusual. Were you actually going 79, or were you maybe going a little faster, and the cop did you a favor and wrote your speed down a bit? Usually they won't stop you on the interstate unless you're at least 10 mph over the limit (or unless they're looking for an excuse to stop a "suspicious" vehicle).

amarone
12-11-2002, 06:21 PM
Originally posted by spoke-
Yes, that's true (http://gnsun1.ganet.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/pub/ocode/ocgsearch?docname=OCode/G/40/14/7).
Unusual. Were you actually going 79, or were you maybe going a little faster, and the cop did you a favor and wrote your speed down a bit? Usually they won't stop you on the interstate unless you're at least 10 mph over the limit (or unless they're looking for an excuse to stop a "suspicious" vehicle).
I believe that the 79 was accurate. I normally try stay within 10 of the limit and set the cruise control at 9mph over. I can't remember whether I'd set it that time or not - it was 5 years ago. The weather was good and the road was quiet. Maybe the cop needed to give more tickets to make his quota. I was certainly very surprised to be stopped.