Overall, you’re a good driver. You obey Denver traffic laws and try to follow the speed limits when commuting to work and going about your daily activities. You’re not like the scofflaws out there who routinely zip in and out of traffic, run red lights or blow through stop signs, text their friends while driving and put everyone else’s life at risk.
So, if you do happen to get pulled over for speeding or some other traffic offense, you may be irritated, but what options do you have? Everyone gets stopped now and then, right? It’s a lot less hassle to pay the fine and move on.
Here’s why you shouldn’t.
1. It will add points to your driving record.
Speeding more than 20 or 30 mph over the posted speed limit will result in six points against your driver’s license. Going more than 40 mph will result in 12 points, as will drunk driving, street racing, evading law enforcement or leaving the scene of an accident instead of waiting for first responders.
Adults over 21 need only accumulate 12 points within a 12-month period, or 18 points within 24 months, to have their license suspended. These thresholds decrease for younger drivers.
Lesser infractions have less points, but these points can add up – fast.
2. You cannot expunge driving points.
Driving points stay on your driving record for life. Now, Colorado’s traffic laws generally only have a two-year lookback period when assessing possible license suspension, but your insurance company may look back further than that. Sometimes tickets from five or 10 years ago may come back to haunt your insurance rates.
Furthermore, if you commit enough serious traffic violations, you could be labeled a habitual traffic offender (HTO). This will enhance any penalties you might already face. It could also result in jail time and the permanent revocation of your driving privileges in Colorado.
3. The costs add up.
A fine for speeding will depend on how far above the speed limit you were driving and other factors, but in general ranges from $50 to $1,000. Other moving violations like reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, texting while driving or driving under the influence have similarly high fines. Severe infractions often include jail time as well.
Beyond that, your insurance costs will almost always skyrocket after paying a traffic ticket, especially a high-stakes one like speeding or DUI. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-impaired driving and speeding cost the nation $201 billion and $203 billion respectively each year. Insurance companies largely foot those bills. Increasing your premiums is the only logical step for them.
Is it worth the risk?
While traffic tickets may seem as mundane as going to work on Monday mornings, they are never “just” traffic tickets. Paying a traffic ticket essentially means you agree that you were committing a moving violation. Therefore, given the above factors, it may be worth it to seek out what options you might have for fighting the traffic ticket.