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Police officers discuss excuses people offer when they get speeding tickets

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Lt. Chris DeHart

Lt. Chris DeHart, Rome Police Department

If you get pulled over by the police for speeding, telling them you have to go to the bathroom is not a very original excuse. They’ve heard that one.

Speeding tickets, unfortunately, are one of the most common ways people deal with law enforcement.

Getting a speeding ticket is not only expensive, but can also impact driving records and insurance rates.

So it only makes sense that some people will try to talk their way out of getting ticketed.

According to Rome police Lt. Chris DeHart, sometimes a pleasant conversation may help the offender, but most of the times a ticket will be issued if the driver deserves it.

DeHart said he and his patrol officers have heard just about every excuse possible for speeding.

They range from reasonable explanations to absurd proclamations.

“A common one is people saying that they really have to go to the bathroom,” said Rome police Pfc. Aaron Thacker.

If it is obvious that a driver is in danger of having a bathroom accident, Thacker said he’s most likely just going to give the driver a warning and let them go.

George Lemming, a former officer with the Floyd County police, said he got that excuse one night and let the driver relieve himself in the nearby woods.

Lemming said that man came to his retirement party.

Other excuses are just plain absurd, Thacker said.

“We had a lady pop an Alka-Seltzer tablet into her mouth and claim the devil made her do it,” Thacker said.

The tablet caused her mouth to look like it was foaming. While Thacker and DeHart both laughed about the incident, the woman still got a ticket.

Another claim that is frequently made by drivers is that they are rushing to see someone in the hospital.

“We get that one a lot. Sometimes it’s true but most times it’s a lie,” said Thacker.

Thacker said drivers also just claim ignorance when they’ve been pulled over.

“They’ll say they thought the speed limit was different or that they didn’t see the sign when the limit changed,” said Thacker.

This excuse usually doesn’t work because it makes the driver look like they were distracted or just not paying attention.

Also, contradicting an officer is also not a good idea when trying to get out of a ticket according to Thacker.

“They’ll say things like, ‘I was not going that fast’ but we have them on radar that says differently,” said Thacker.

Thacker said the radar guns used to track speed are very accurate and every officer who uses them has to be radar certified.

Lemming said in his four decades of policing, every time he told a driver how fast they were going, they would inevitably glance first at the speedometer of their stopped vehicle.

“I never could figure out why they did that,” he quipped.

Speed is a factor in almost every wreck, Thacker said, so writing tickets does make the roads safer.

Managing Editor Mike Colombo contributed to this report.