Scofflaws Blame GPS, Bad Eyesight for Traffic Violations

  • Ticket Cartoon Picture

    Ticket Cartoon Picture

    Some drivers are now blaming GPS when they get stopped by the cops, according to a new survey. | May 02, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • A new survey reveals that the most common excuse for traffic violations is, "I couldn't see the sign telling me not to do it."
  • The most common high-tech excuse is, "My GPS said it was the right thing to do."
  • The classic "everyone else was doing it" also made the list.

FOSTER CITY, California — A new survey by reveals that the Number 1 excuse drivers give for traffic violations is, "I couldn't see the sign telling me not to do it."

The survey of 500 licensed drivers aged 18 and over, conducted in February 2013, shows that most of the excuses are unremarkable. However, one digital-age item did make the list: "My GPS made me do it."

Here's the complete list of excuses, along with how often they're used:

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 (speedometer, taillight, etc.): 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 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.

The study also delved into gender differences. For example, of those who said they were "just helping out," 90 percent were men. Women seemed to try the "lost" and "had to go to the bathroom" excuses more often than men, 65 percent for each.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the guys wouldn't admit to failing to maintain their cars properly. Only 39 percent of the "didn't know it was broken" group were men. The least common excuse given by women was "helping out" (10 percent), although only 18 percent were inclined to blame the GPS.

What the survey didn't report was how well these excuses worked in encounters with the law, but it's a safe bet the cops have heard it all before.

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

Luckily, another site,, published a list of nine excuses that have been used successfully to avoid tickets. They include "I'm late for a funeral" and "You can't drive slow to Aerosmith."

Edmunds says: Interestingly, it seems no one seems to have tried to get out of a ticket with the excuse that they were busy texting while driving.

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