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The Top Speeding Ticket Excuses

From running late to bringing home hot food, these are the most common traffic ticket excuses.

speeding ticket excuses

Have you ever been pulled over for speeding? What excuse did you give to try to get out of it? Whatever it was, you’re probably not alone. Recently, 1,000 drivers were surveyed to discover the most common speeding ticket excuses. Here’s what they found.

Top Speeding Ticket Excuses

These are the most common excuses respondents gave for trying to avoid a speeding ticket, according to a survey by,

  • 26% claim they didn’t realize they were speeding.
  • 21% say they are late for work.
  • 25% tell police there is a medical emergency.
  • 20% say they have to use the bathroom.
  • 14% say they didn’t see a speed limit sign.
  • 22% remark that they were going as fast as everyone else.
  • 15% blame being late to pick up or drop off a child.
  • 13% remarked that they were late for a doctor’s appointment.
  • 13% said they were late for a court appointment.

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Men Versus Women

When it comes to safe driving habits, it appears women reign supreme. 42% of women say they’ve never been stopped for speeding or haven’t in about 10 years, compared to just 15% of men.

The most common excuse for speeding for both men and women was that they did not realize they were speeding.

speeding ticket excuses

Speeding Habits

According to the survey, 52% of drivers acknowledge exceeding the speed limit by 5-10 mph, while 4% admit to driving 16 to 29 mph over the speed limit. Another 3% of people admit driving more than 30 mph over the limit.

Other speeding habits include:

  • 31% said they speed, but it’s rare.
  • 34% said they almost always speed but only between 5 and 10 mph over the limit.
  • 64% said it’s OK to speed on the highway.
  • 8% said they’re OK with speeding on residential streets.

So, what is the reason behind speeding? Drivers had various explanations: 17% said they speed to arrive on time, 10% said speed limits are generally too low and 8% claimed it’s safe to speed as long as it’s less than 20 mph above the speed limit.

Everyone hopes to just get a warning from the police rather than a ticket. If the survey is correct, asking for leniency often works. The survey revealed that 48% of drivers requested a warning didn’t offer an excuse and got the warning, while 29% of respondents still got a ticket after asking for a warning without giving an excuse. Women are less likely to request a warning: 20% of women have never asked for a warning, compared to 52% of men.


Safety First

Speeding significantly increases the likeliness and severity of a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, speeding killed 9,478 people, accounting for 26% of all traffic fatalities that year.

AAA implores all motorists to drive cautiously and within the speed limit. This is even more crucial when driving in hazardous conditions or past emergency vehicles.

Not only is speeding dangerous, it will also hurt your wallet. You’ll have to pay the fine plus your car insurance costs will increase. recently found that auto insurance rates increase between 22% and 30% on average following a speeding ticket. This can result in hundreds of dollars of additional costs.

Searching for auto insurance? Find out what AAA Insurance can do for you. 

Tell us your best speeding ticket excuse in the comments! 

  • william b.

    We need to investigate the lack of police coverage on RT3 south. My experience shows that most drivers travel at 70 to 75 MPH in the passing lane which is 10 to 15 MPH over the 60 MPH Limit. There are no police except at construction sites. There is going to be a big accident one day as the travel at less than a car length between the two cars. Please help us.


    Best excuse my clients use if stopped for speeding clocked by radar is that gun is inaccurate. Ask for magistrate hearing and beat the ticket.

  • BARRY L.

    “Speeding significantly increases the likeliness and severity of a crash.”

    Yes and no. According to a study some years ago – whose results, as I recall, were provided by AAA itself – if everyone ELSE is speeding, and you insist on driving the speed limit even when that makes you substantially slower than all the other cars on the road, you are actually MORE likely to be involved in an accident. (This seems like common sense.)

    In other words, when everyone else is also speeding, flying along with the crowd makes an accident LESS likely. However, IF you are involved in an accident, it IS likely to be more severe, because you are traveling at a higher rate of speed.

  • An amusing story. ~ When I was younger I was the Chief Referee of a Junior Level hockey League (age 18 to 21). It was the playoffs and the rink called me at puck drop time telling me my Referee didn’t show up. With no time to call anyone I grabbed my bag and jumped in my car and headed for the rink. The rink had secure parking so I wasn’t worried about the car. It was 10:00pm ish and no traffic on the highway so I was cruising at about 100 mph. My car would easily do that and safely. A set of headlights came around an on ramp as I blew by so I didn’t see the light bar on top of the cruiser. He fell in behind me and turned on the blues. Although I could have blown the police car away, you don’t try and out run them, so I just pulled over. He asked for my license and registration, I gave it to him and he walked back to his cruiser. He wrote me up for 87 mph. I was a Construction Engineer and had many State Police for Traffic Duty on my jobs and one of them gave me a State Police Baseball Cap which I kept on the rear deck of my car. Of course this Officer saw it and knew he’d get a call if I really knew anybody so he held the ticket till the next day. As soon as I got home from the hockey game I called the Barracks to see if any of my friends were on duty and of course I got one. I told him I had a problem and he said “Yeah, you probably got a ticket in that black beast of yours” I told him my story and assured him I wasn’t racing or messing around. He asked me if I gave the trooper any guff and assured him I didn’t. He called me back the next morning and told me to throw the ticket away, no problem. Incidentally, the black beast is a 1986 Buick Grand National which was the fastest production car in the country at the time and it did the quarter mile in under 11.5 seconds at about 120mph. I still have my baby and it has about 70,000 orig, miles on it. I had given a lot of the troopers a ride in it so they knew what it was.
    That was the only time I ever did anything like that and the only time I’ve ever been stopped. I only go fast and play on the Drag Strip.

  • Kevin F.

    Whenever I’m pulled over for speeding I just admit that I was in fact speeding and have no excuse. I usually get off with a warning. Maybe being refreshingly honest is the key.

    • Joanne G.

      I agree with you Kevin. When I was stopped, the statey while driving my Camaro – he asked me if I knew why I was being pulled over – I said that whatever the reason it had to be valid. He told me I was over the speed limit, I apologized. He asked for my license and registration and I didn’t even have it – left it at home in my bag! I said I lived in town and would be fine to have him follow me home to get it. He declined, checked everything my plate and let me go (I headed back home to pick up my bag) He was very kind – it is very important to treat them the way you want to be treated – with respect – and giving them the benefit of the doubt. Have an awesome day and stay safe!

    • I had the same experience. I was driving too fast (I won’t say how fast) when I saw the blue lights behind me. Since I was approaching an exit I exited and pulled over on the ramp. Told the trooper I had no excuse and received a written warning.

  • Jerry K.

    I was speeding on the Grand Central Parkway, when I was pulled over by a State Trooper.
    When I admitted I was speeding, he said I was the first person to admit it and take responsibility all day….so he let me go, with a warning!!!!

  • Michelle W.

    You know when you’re speeding. Admit it, take the ticket (& responsibility for it!!) and suck it up buttercup! Today just wasn’t your day.

  • Scott G.

    What bothers me more than the speeding is the cars doing well above the speed limit and weaving on and out between cars. There are usually two or three cars “racing” and I consider it extremely dangerous. I usually see this on the Garden State Parkway

    • Some of these morons are traffic surfing which is also dangerous and stupid. Usually it’s two small cars doing it.

    • Marie C.

      AND the Southern State and Belt Parkways in Brooklyn and Long Island. They are CRAZY!

      • Yes they are! My issue is with the Long Island Expressway through Suffolk County. The 55 mph limit is ridiculous. It’s a 6 lane, limited access expressway! BTW, pretty much NOBODY goes 55.

  • As a young manufacturer’s rep, I drove all over New York and New England – over 500 miles a week. One day when everything had gone wrong, derailing my schedule, I was running late to see a new client in Rhode Island whose location I was unsure of. At that moment, in a stroke of Divine intervention, a police officer pulled up, lights flashing. I exclaimed “ Am I glad to see you!!” He replied , “ You are?” I explained I was running late and needed help finding an address. The police officer kindly gave me directions, and I pulled out to keep my appointment. It didn’t occur to me until later that stop probably hadn’t gone as the policeman had intended!

  • A number of years ago I was racing someone while driving my Mitsubishi Eclipse on route 8. All of a sudden I saw flashing lights behind me and pulled over. When the officer came over to my car I asked him why he didn’t pull over the other drive as well, his reply? I pulled you over because you were winning.

    • Had a similar experience on I84. On my way to work in the morning driving my Inca orange 1973 BMW 2002 and was in a group of cars in the fast lane cruising along as we passed a speed trap. A short distance ahead was a trooper standing on the shoulder pointing at me to pull over. I did. I asked why that out of all those cars that were speeding why I was pulled over. He responded that I was the only bright orange car and was easily identified! He got me there.

  • You are doing your readers/subscribers a disservice with this discussion by not pointing out the reason police officers ask you why you were speeding…which is to use your answer against you if you challenge the ticket in court. Admit to speeding, and any “not guilty” plea is moot.

    Your best defense against speeding is, to point out the obvious, not speeding. Drive safely regardless, don’t speed in school zones, bad weather, construction zones, or anywhere you are not in control of your vehicle or outside the vehicle safety limit. Your second best defense, unless you really want to pay fines and insurance surcharges, is not to be stopped by getting a concealed radar detector, and a dashcam with GPS in case you are pulled over for speeding when you weren’t or cited for a higher speed then claimed. Finally, if stopped, be polite, admit to nothing and see if you can get a warning.

    Anything else in the discussion is simply helping the police, which you are certainly welcome to do if you desire.

    • Your best defense; don’t speed. But then again, maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t bother with red traffic lights. I used to make my living pulling people out of wrecks caused by that.

  • Carinsurance percentage total 169%. Therefore many respondents gave 2 excuses.
    I doubt that is a good technique

  • Larry S.

    I had an 86 Buick Grand National that I would often use to go upstate to my son’s college using rte. 17 or otherwise known by the “quick way” a misnomer seeing how well patrolled it is .
    Anyway I was speeding and sure enough a state trooper stopped me.
    He asked me “ do you know how fast you were going?”
    I was probably doing about 95, but I answered , “no sir, the speedometer only goes to
    85 mph”
    When he stopped laughing , he just gave me a warning and told me to drive safe

  • The last time i got pulled over I told the officer that i was impressed with his spot and I didn’t even see him. He laughed and told me to slow down and have a nice day

  • I have noticed that on most highways/interstates traffic moves much faster than the speed limits. For example, if you actually go at 55mph on the Long Island Expressway (I495), you are by far the slowest car on the road, by 10 or 15 mph. In fact you feel that the posted limit is clearly too slow for the way the road was designed and built. The same goes for most highways in the Northeast. On a recent trip to Colorado, however, we were on an Interstate where the speed limit was changed quite a few times in the course of our trip (Denver to Aspin). The speeds felt right for the road in each section and traffic generally stayed within the limits. I think it would be a lot safer if highway speed limits were set in accordance with actual road design and terrain, rather one-size-fits-all limits of 55 and, grudgingly, 65, which nobody follows.

  • Phoenix R.

    Loved the excuses! I was stopped back in the mid 1980’s driving a red VW convertible. I was on my way to the divorce lawyer and couldn’t wait to get there! LOL! That’s what I told the officer and he tried not to laugh. Just a warning, and best wishes on my happy future.

  • I am infuriated at speeders. They are unsafe. Kevin F. Implies that he makes a habit of speeding. This is wrong. There is no reason for speeding unless there is an emergency. Speeders tailgate people like me. This is also dangerous. They aggravate me. I punish them by going slower. Not like the speed.limit ? We can go slower. The ” key ” to not getting a speeding ticket is by obeying the speed limit. Please , most of you people , start driving safely.

    • Kaare H.

      I hope you only “punish” speeders that are tailgating you in a travel lane. If you are one of those people that lack proper lane discipline and actively slow others down in the passing lane you are 100% making the highway a more unsafe place

    • I hope you are not one of those drivers that sit in the left lane and barely do the speed limit. MOVE OVER!

    • Kristal K.

      I hope you stay in the right lane because that kind of childish behavior infuriates the rest of us, who will cut you off.

  • Kenneth H.

    My father told me a story from when he was part of the army of occupation after WWII. He worked in a message center and one day he was traveling with an Army AIr Corps Captain on the Autobahn. There was no one else on the road and the Captain opened it up and was going almost twice the speed limit. An MP on a motorcycle pulled them over. Big Ole boy with mirrorred sunglasses, in his southern drawl he intoned “OK Captain let’s see your pilot’s license”
    The Captain reached into his wallet and handed the MP his flight certificate. The MP let out a laugh and said I’ve been a highway patrol officer and using that line for over a decade and you are the first to produce one.
    He let them go without a ticket.

  • I once got stopped for speeding in my bright chartreuse Porsche in a long road cut into a hill. The officer had approached me from the opposite direction in his cruiser. After he went by me he turned around and caught up to me, blazing blue lights flashing. I was speeding but not by much. I doubted he would have bothered if I had been in my old faded blue 100 hp Renault station wagon. We ended up in court. The way police built-in radars in cruisers work is they measure both the closing speed and cruiser speed then subtract the cruiser’s speed from the closing speed to yield the approaching car’s speed. If there is a bounce reflection of the police radar by a nearby roadside object or geographic feature, the radar will incorrectly display too low a speed for the cruiser and thus too high a calculated speed for the poor victim (me in this case), and that is what I believe had happened. When I pointed this out, the officer was obviously stunned that I knew about this (I had quite a bit of experience using radar myself when doing consulting research on road safety issues), but then recovered, claiming he had looked down at his car’s mechanical speedometer to be sure it agreed with the radar’s measurement. I didn’t believe him but ended up paying the ticket anyway. Moral: if you are going to speed, do it in your faded blue Renault, not in your bright green Porsche.

  • Robert T.

    About 1968 or so, I was living in Boston, and visiting friends in Western Massachusetts, and was going abouot 15 miles per hour over the limit on one of the back roads, with no traffic. I wal pulled over, and when I gave the officer my driver’s license and registration, the following conversation ensured:
    Officer: “Is this your correct address?”
    Me: “Yes sir”
    Officer:” Well, since you are from Boston, I will just give you a written warning”.
    Boston drivers had a reputation even then.

  • George K.

    We have friend, Tilly 80 yo and sharp as a tack. But Tilly is always in a hurry. She was driving 75-80 mph to visit a friend on a 55mph highway. She saw the flashing-lights and thought “oh my, now I have an escort”. The trooper pulled alongside and motioned her to pullover, which she did. He motioned her to lower the window and asked for license and registration. Tilly looked at the Officer;(I swear this is what she told him.) “I don’t have either”. The Officer, in deference to her age asked “where are they?” She replied “I stole the car and killed the owner and put his body in the trunk.” The Officer, totally flummoxed, loosed his gun and backed away while warning Tilly to stay in the car and “keep your hands where I can see them.”
    Two minutes later a Black and White pulls behind the Trooper’s car. Two officers with shotguns jump out the back, the Sargent first speaks to the Officer and then approaches Tilly’s car, warily. My Officer tells me you don’t have license or registration. Tilly hand the Sargent her papers, he checks them even checking the vin number. He hands them back, looking a bit perplexed he asks her to pop the trunk which she complies. The Sargent walks back to check the trunk, but it’s nice and neat. The Sargent really perplex now, returns to Tilly and tells her what his trooper said and asks “what’s going on”? Tilly with a straight face says “I don’t know, but I suppose he also told you I was speeding.”
    Tilly won’t say what happened next, except she has the biggest smile when you ask her.
    Tilly’s friend, Geo. Kleiner

  • Lynford G.

    On my weekly trips on the Garden State “Raceway,” hardly a trip goes by without seeing at least one race at high speed between two or more cars, weaving in and out of traffic. I have witnessed horrific accidents, but it seems the current environment makes it safer for police to pick up the pieces than stop and ticket these demented idiots. Let us rally around enforcement to challenge and stop this rampant behavior on the Turnpike and Garden State. Helicopters are a best defense to identify these incidents.

  • Barbara J.

    I don’t have a speeding excuse! Thanks be to God I don’t speed. Makes me angry when I see so many other drivers speeding as if they’re the only ones on the road. There seems to be little or no respect for residential speed limit. I find myself praying a lot while driving asking God to touch the hearts of speeders and help them slow down. I also pray for their safety as well as for the safety of others who may experience harm from speeding drivers.

  • Speed limits nationally were created in the 1970s when cars were much, MUCH, unsafe. Modern cars today are a thousand times more safe than the cars of the past. In my experience, the people who cause accidents on the highway are people driving under of exactly the speed limit. These are the types of people who are so self righteous that they think they have to regulate the speed everyone else drives. Driving 60 in the passing lane of a 65 MPH highway while cars are flying by to your right at 75-80 is DANGEROUS. If you want to drive slow then stick to the travel or slow vehicle lanes. If someone is coming up behind you, MERGE LANES, don’t try to be a hero and brake check them. people drive like my grandma these days. The gas pedal is the little one on the right for all of you who don’t know!!

  • I usually say, “I’m trying to get to the bar before last call. I want to make the best of those last 4 hours.”

  • The way to reduce speeding violations on major highways is to raise speed limits to levels where most drivers feel comfortable. 55 mph or even 65 mph on modern interstate highways is ridiculous.

    • That’s called the “85th Percentile”. The speed at which 85% of the cars will travel at on any given road.
      I think it’s the best way to set a speed limit on many, not all, roads.


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