Do PBA Cards work?

Does anyone know if having a PBA card/sticker really gets you out of tickets?

It always seemed like a silly myth to me, but a friend who is cop gave my girlfriend and I a couple of cards to use. Apparently (I wasn’t there, he gave them to my gfriend) he told her that it would be effective.

Do you just hand the the card to the cop?
Do you wink when you do it?
Fold a twenty under it?

PBA? Professional Bowler’s Association? :confused: :confused:

Peanut Butter Association or Police Benevolence Association :confused:

No not quite…
Police Benevolent Association

(though if that worked it would be amazing! > “So you bowl? Well, then I guess we can let you off with a warning…”)

So, let me just clarify, we’re talking about cards indicating that the driver in question is a member of (i.e., has contributed to) the Police Benevolent Association?

I doubt that there is any “official policy” on this subject, and whether to give you a ticket is largely up to the discretion of the officer.

If it were me (and it isn’t) I would think that a prominent sticker in the back window might incline me towards lenience if the offense were minor. However, if the guy pulled a card out of his wallet and handed it to me like a Get Out of Jail Free card I would probably throw the book at him.

IANA Police Officer and YMMV.

Basically, thats it.

Also, I’ve seen stickers as well as these really nasty large suction-cupped on medallion things in the front window.

Never used one myself, but have been told that the best thing to do is to have the card in your wallet right next to your license, so that it is easily visible to the officer when you take out the license. If you’re lucky, he will “give you a break,” or “just a warning.” Sometimes the officer will take the card.

Another bit of advice is that if you got the card second hand, be sure you know the name of the PBA member who signed the back! My daughter had a PBA card that her dad had given her, having been given it by someone he knew well. When said daughter showed it to a cop, he asked her about the signer and of course she had no clue, and just said, “My dad gave it to me.” It was a local incident (going a few mph over the limit), and the cop followed her home and asked to speak to Dad. The cop was a bit annoyed, but did not give her a ticket.

During the time when I carried the card, I was coached on what to say, along the lines of “Oh, yeah, that’s Barney Fife, friend of the family. He stops by sometimes.”

It is not a get out of jail free card. Officers have the option to write you a ticket or not. Some are more inclined than others to let you go with a warning. The basic answer is it couldn’t hurt to have one. Present it with your credentials. Know who gave you the card. Make sure its signed. As it says on the back it is the property of the PBA and can be seized for bad driving. For more serious offenses don’t bother. It won’t help.

BTW the suction cup thingies are different. If it is from the PBA it is for members only. It is illegal (in NJ not sure if it is a law elsewhere) to have one in your car if you are not a police officer or a retired cop. Of course it may be the wife or husband of a cop who is in it at the time. The FOP has “associate” members who can pay a bri… I mean make a donation to the national FOP and get an FOP member badge to stick in their window. To me it’s a scam and having one in the window is meaningless.

I think we are confusing two separate and unique items. When any Jane or John Doe makes a monetary donation to a local or state P.B.A., they frequently ( but not always ) send a self-adhesive decal to be placed, if one wishes, in the windshield. They also may send a card back, saying that Mr. or Ms. Doe are “supporters”. While it is all well and good to donate to a legitimate cause like this, the cops I know could give a rat’s patootie whether or not you sent in a sawbuck to the organization.

OTOH, “Courtesy Cards” are something different. This is what MLS was referring to. Not a normal P.B.A. card at all, it is something that an officer will have and be allowed to give out. Some departments frown upon this, but most understand that a fellow cop, or family member is given preferential treatment on the minor offenses. It is the way of the world. In the case of a Courtesy Card, all courtesy is extended to the bearer, assuming that they really should be showing the card in the first place. ( the daughter of a cop from two towns over? Sure. A friend of a cousin of a guy who used to be a cop? Nope ). It is not arbitrary. This courtesy is extended as a side-ways “thank you” to family members who have someone on the job.

I’ve never known a cop to let someone out of a felony, or a very serious crime of any kind because they showed a Courtesy Card. Then again, we probably wouldn’t hear about it if they did. It’s really just used to grease the skids.

Courtesy Card

Another Courtesy Card
While I was a member in good standing of my local ambulance corps, and after that until my NYS EMT card expired, I had a green emergency light on the roof of my car. Came in mighty handy at accident scenes on the side of the road. I rarely was pulled over for speeding while that thing was up there. Did I abuse it? Naw- going incredibly fast scares the crap outa me anyway. But…doing 68 in a 50 zone? The other guy would get pulled over. It is the way of the world. I did get pulled over a few times with the light on the roof- in New Jersey. Where they hate New Yorkers with a blinding bright white flame of hatred. :smiley:


I think courtesy cards do have some mojo. Here’s why.

My son used to go out with the daughter of Mr. Chief of Police in my dinky little town in NJ. Mr. Chief of Police thought highly of my son. When my son turned 17th and got his driver’s license, Mr Chief of Police gave him the gift of a courtesy card, bestowed with fanfare and hoopla.

So as far as Mr. Chief of Police was concerned, the courtesy card was an item of value.

I do know that a IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) sticker, will repell traffic tickets.
I have several personal examples, the best however, was my first date with my husband (firefighter, he) we were driving through downtown quite late at night. No alcohol, just a ride. We stopped at a light, he mentioned the police car behind us, the ran the light! The cop stopped him, asked for the usual stuff, than asked if he was a fire fighter. With the affiramative answer, the cop said have a nice night, and drove off. I was impressed.
Hubby has been a FF since he was 16 1/2. He’s never had a ticket. I’ve had an IAFF sticker on my car for 10 years, and I have been stopped only once, and told to thank my husband.

He stopped, THEN ran the light. The cop might, or might not have been as forgiving if your freshly minted boyfriend had run that light without even tapping his brakes.

It’s a rough calling, running into burning buildings. I give them all a lot of props- and this is coming from someone who used to run towards car wrecks ( and burning World Trade Centers… ) for a living/ vocation. They definitely are high on the list to get cut a break.

Irate Officer: Step out of the car, place your hands on the roof and spread your feet apart, please.

Driver: Officer, I’m a Professional Bowler on my way to a major tournament.

Irate Officer: Oh, let me give you an escort !!


I was in New Jersey with one of my college roommates and my girlfriend at the time (both are from NJ). We were driving down the turnpike and turned off somewhere, but didn’t really slow down (like 75 in a 50). My gf was driving and my friend was in the passenger seat giving directions when we were pulled over. When my girlfriend gave her driver’s license, she also gave her PBA card with it. The cop took the PBA card, but gave my gf back her license and a warning. My roommate was ready to offer his PBA card, too. They explained to me that they’re used to get out of minor traffic offenses.

Yes, he stopped then ran it. He told the cop it was my fault. :rolleyes: And I agree, he deserves a break or two. :slight_smile:

I understand that you can basically give a PBA card to anyone, but do you have to be an actual cop (or retired) to own a car with Honor Legion plates? Or can any member of your family own a car with Honor Legion plates?

For example, my (half)sister drives a car with honor legion plates because her father is a member. I was always under the impression that the car is registered to her (NJ of course).

Why you little minx. Whatever were you doing while he was driving??

:smiley: :smiley:


As usual, I was talking… :smiley:

This thread has actually helped a great deal.

The card I have was given to me by an officer, who signed the back. It does state on the back that:

" The bearer of this Safey Card has been cited as a safe and courteous drive of motor vehicles …and is subject to forfeiture, etc…"

This definately sounds like the second kind of card mentioned (not the one you get for making a donation) and sounds like it may actually be of some help for a minor violation. Though it sounds like they take the card, so its a one time type thing.