In a city like Pittsburgh with traffic that backs up daily, it’s tempting to speed once you see a clear stretch of road ahead. You might have been listening to the radio or talking to your kids and not even have realized you were going too fast.
However, if the police pull you over and write you a speeding ticket, you will face problems that can include points on your driving record, fines, expensive insurance rates and the risk of having your driver’s license suspended. This makes it even more important to fight your speeding ticket and keep your driving record clean.
The Police and Your Speed
Pennsylvania is one of the only states to prohibit local police from using radar guns, the method of choice by police in most other states. Only state troopers are allowed to use radar guns to issue you speeding tickets.
To catch speeders, Pittsburgh police increasingly use the ENRADD system, an automatic speed trap funded by PennDOT. With ENRADD, infrared beams are used to automatically calculate your speed.
Local police also use VASCAR, a stopwatch-type device, to measure your speed during manual speed traps. The reliability of VASCAR has been questioned especially when it is used to measure distances that are 500 feet or less.
Probably the most frequent way you will get a speeding ticket is after the police follow or pace your vehicle and measure your speed against their own speedometer. In Pennsylvania, they are required to follow you for at least 3/8 of a mile, the length required to get a good reading. Factors such as the distance between your car and the officer’s, whether it was twilight or night, and road conditions, can affect the pacing’s accuracy.
Your MPH and Speeding
In Pennsylvania, you can draw a speeding citation if you are driving six or more miles over the speed limit.
In active work or school zones, you can receive a speeding ticket if you are shown to have driven even 1 MPH over the speed limit.
If you are driving on a street or expressway without a posted speed limit, the guidelines are:
- 25 MPH on residential streets
- 35 MPH on non-residential streets
- 55 MPH on expressways
Demerit Points and Speeding
In Pennsylvania, there is a point system that affects your driving record. After 11 or more points on your record, your driver’s license is automatically suspended. The points structure for speeding is as follows:
- Exceeding the speed limit by six to 10 MPH — 2 points
- Exceeding the speed limit by 11 to 15 MPH — 3 points and a 15-day license suspension if in a work zone
- Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 25 MPH — 4 points and a 15-day license suspension if in a work zone
- Exceeding the speed limit by 26 to 30 MPH — 5 points and a 15-day license suspension if in a work zone
- Exceeding the speed limit by 31 MPH or more — 5 points, a 15-day license suspension if in a work zone. A hearing examiner may assign additional penalties.
Speeding by 31 MPH or More
You will have to attend a required PennDOT hearing if your ticket is issued for going 31 MPH or more over the speed limit. If you don’t attend this mandatory hearing, your license will immediately be suspended for 60 days. During the hearing, the hearing examiner will recommend that you take a driving road test or have your license suspended for 15 days.
If you receive a license suspension, you will also receive five points on your record.
The Real Cost of a Pennsylvania Speeding Ticket
Your ticket will include a cost you see written in black and white — your fine. But the real cost of a ticket includes much more. If you are found guilty of a traffic violation, one of the biggest financial impacts will be the steep rise in your insurance rates. For example, according to insurance.com, speeding 30 miles over the limit will cause your insurance to increase 15 percent on average. Add to the monetary costs the stress you will feel if your license is suspended because you have too many points on your driving record.
A Pittsburgh Speeding Ticket Lawyer Is Your Best Option
First, look over your citation. Check the violation and fines, and make certain that your name, address, vehicle information and license number are all correct. You will need to contact the court to verify or change information if any of it is incorrect.
You have 10 days to respond to the citation. If you ignore it, you may have to pay additional fines and your driver’s license can be suspended.
If you have been charged with a traffic offense, it is a sound decision to hire a traffic defense attorney who can help you fight your ticket and help you avoid having to pay thousands of extra dollars over the long haul in insurance costs.