Most-Used Excuses for Getting Out of Traffic Tickets: Survey

April 29, 2013

Plead ignorance.

That’s the most-used excuse when drivers are pulled over for a traffic violation, according to Insurance.com’s new “Ticketmasters” survey.

Among people who said they have used excuses when pulled over by a police officer, here’s how explanations break down:

  1. I couldn’t see the sign telling me not to do it: 20.4 percent
  2. I’m lost and unfamiliar with the roads: 15.6 percent
  3. I didn’t know it was broken: 12.4 percent
  4. Everyone else was doing it: 6.4 percent
  5. I’m having an emergency situation in my car. (For instance, spilled a hot drink on your lap.): 5.4 percent
  6. I missed my turn/exit: 4.8 percent
  7. I had to go to the bathroom: 4.6 percent
  8. I didn’t do anything dangerous: 4.2 percent
  9. I was on my way to an emergency. (For example, to help someone who is ill or injured.): 4 percent
  10. My GPS said it was the right thing to do: 2.2 percent
  11. I’m just helping out; I wasn’t even supposed to be driving. (For example, your friend is intoxicated.): 2 percent

“By now, police officers can probably finish people’s sentences,” said Michelle Megna, managing editor of Insurance.com. “I wonder if they wouldn’t appreciate a little dog-ate-my-homework creativity.”

Men are more likely to rationalize their driving behavior by saying they were being altruistic – “I’m just helping out. I wasn’t even supposed to be driving!” Among people who have used this excuse, 90 percent were men.

There are differences in excuses between men vs. women, the survey also found.

I couldn’t see the sign telling me not to do it. — Men: 38 percent; Women: 62 percent

I’m lost and unfamiliar with the roads. — Men: 35 percent; Women: 65 percent

I didn’t know it was broken. — Men: 39 percent; Women: 61 percent

Everyone else was doing it. — Men: 56 percent; Women: 44 percent

I’m having an emergency situation in my car. (For instance, spilled a hot drink on your lap.) Men: 67 percent; Women: 33 percent

I missed my turn/exit. — Men: 54 percent; Women: 46 percent

I had to go to the bathroom. — Men: 35 percent; Women: 65 percent

I didn’t do anything dangerous. — Men: 71 percent; Women: 29 percent

I was on my way to an emergency. (For example, to help someone who is ill or injured.) — Men: 55 percent; Women: 45 percent

My GPS said it was the right thing to do. — Men: 82 percent; Women: 18 percent

I’m just helping out. I wasn’t even supposed to be driving. (For example, your friend is intoxicated.) — Men: 90 percent; Women: 10 percent

Insurance.com offers a few tips for drivers getting pulled over:

  1. Acknowledge the officer’s presence by turning on the right turn signal.
  2. Move your vehicle to the right shoulder of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
  3. Turn on your hazard lights.
  4. Turn off your radio. Do not make a phone call.
  5. Remain inside your vehicle.
  6. Place your hands in clear view; for example, on your steering wheel.

Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 500 licensed drivers age 18 and over. The survey was fielded in February 2013.

Source: Insurance.com

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