5 things your traffic cop isn't telling you - MoneySense

5 things your traffic cop isn’t telling you

Officers have ticket quotas for things other than speeding, they get paid overtime to show up in court and other things you should know.


1930s Couple In Convertible Coupe Stopped By Motorcycle Cop Checking License Of Driver
1. I have quotas. Ever notice a spike in speed traps, radar guns or safety blitzes at the same time each month? You’re not imagining it. Officers in many jurisdictions have ticket quotas. Retired RCMP constable Tim Schewe says he had monthly quotas but had to limit his speeding tickets to no more than 30% of his overall enforcement efforts. His supervisor wanted him to focus on other hazards. “You don’t just sit behind your radar all day and do the easy stuff,” he said. Expect cops to be on the lookout for seat belt and cell phone violations—which carry hefty fines.

2. I’m suspicious of clunkers. You’d think red or sporty cars would draw the most attention but vehicles that are in an obvious state of disrepair stand out most. “When you watched a junker roll by you knew you’d find something,” Schewe says. License plate stickers and broken headlights can net you steep fines, so keep your rust bucket within the realm of the law.

3. I have a bad memory. If you’re stopped for a ticket, make the encounter as brief and as unmemorable as possible. Reply with polite “yes” or “no” answers. Divulging extra information like “I’m picking my kid up from soccer practice,” will make you noteworthy and increase the chances of the officer showing up in court, should you decide to appeal.

4. I get paid extra for court. Charges are automatically dropped when an officer fails to show up in court. That’s why most officers get paid overtime to appear in court on their days off. To reduce the chances of your officer showing up, book a court date, then defer it as many times as possible. The more time that passes, the less likely he or she will stay on top of the details of your case.

5. Check my work. Look for mistakes on your copy of the ticket and ask for the officer’s notes before your court appearance. Tickets with reporting errors like incorrect dates, street names and vehicle types typically get thrown out.