Maryland speeding ticket statistics complicate myth of 10 mph cushion
It’s a common view that state troopers and police officers won't give you a speeding ticket as long as you don't go more than 10 mph over the speed limit. But figures compiled by the District Court of Maryland tell a different story — or seem to.
Statewide, 26 percent of all officer-issued speeding citations (as opposed to the automated speed camera variety) went to drivers clocked going 1 to 9 mph over the limit, according to the data from the 2011 fiscal year. About 70,000 of the 272,000 tickets fell in that range. (These are separate from the $40 automated speed camera tickets, which are triggered when a motorist exceeds the speed limit by at least 12 mph.)
In 2008, Sun reporter Michael Dresser found that in some Maryland jurisdictions, officers routinely gave "on-the-street discounts" by writing tickets for speeds lower than those clocked by radar guns. Other departments discouraged the practice.
Sgt. Marc Black, a Maryland State Police spokesman, said the numbers don't surprise him. Troopers are trained that “if we see a violation, then we are supposed to act upon that violation,” he said.
So no 10 mph cushion? "I think that's a fallacy put out there," he said, "and unfortunately some of these people found it may not be so."
And while it's true the penalty is lighter for less egregious speeders — $80 and one driver's license point for going less than 10 mph over, but $90 and two points for going 10 to 19 mph over (and $160 if the speed limit is 65 mph) — Black said troopers don't have latitude to discount the listed speed to be nice.
(Data is from fiscal year 2011)
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.