If you're a relatively new driver, it's natural to look to the more experienced drivers in your life for answers about how to avoid getting a traffic ticket, how to get out of a traffic ticket and how to keep points off your driving record. But as with many things in life, don't believe everything you hear. Your well-meaning parents, older siblings and "experienced" friends may simply be perpetuating urban legends rather than passing on pearls of wisdom. And if you believe these myths, it may end up costing you money, a good driving record or even your freedom.
Traffic Ticket Urban Legends
Busting Myths That Mislead New Drivers
Fortunately, we at Edmunds — with the help of police officers, insurance companies, the Insurance Information Institute, trial attorneys and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators — have taken 10 top traffic ticket urban legends and debunked them for you here.
- The "Amnesty for 18-Year-Olds" Myth: The claim here is that on your 18th birthday, all unpaid tickets received prior to that date will be torn up and forgiven. Turning 18 means many new rights, responsibilities and privileges, such as voting, registering for the draft and being considered an adult in a court of law. But it doesn't mean a clean slate. Nope, according to Lieutenant Randy Gagne of the Camden, Maine, police department, your speeding and parking tickets will not be torn up the instant you turn that magical age.
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The perfect crime, no? It would be if it actually worked, but it's a total hoax. As soon as you're found guilty of speeding, the points will automatically appear on your license, whether or not you make the payment.
While laws regulating searches vary from state to state, running from a police officer is never a good idea. Some states, like California, explicitly allow police to enter your house without a warrant to pursue a DUI suspect, and no state recognizes your driveway as a "safe zone" in a police chase.
Though you might be a young driver, you may now know more than your folks, friends and older brothers and sisters, at least when it comes to these urban legends. These debunked myths will undoubtedly aid you in becoming not only a better driver but a better citizen and, if anything, help you convince your parents that a shiny new red car really is your only option.