The Car Riding Your Rear Bumper Could Be a Cop, Don’t Speed Up!

September 07, 2014

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

It’s an all-too-common reaction when a motorist sees someone close behind them in their rear-view mirror: speed up to get around traffic and then let the car behind them pass. However, what the person didn’t know was that the car riding the motorist’s back bumper was a police officer.

Whether it’s the fact that law enforcement officers know people tend to speed up when someone is close behind them, or that law enforcement tends to drive in excess of speed limit and gets slowed by motorists driving legally, it is not uncommon to see police cars (not in emergency mode with lights and sirens) speeding. Unfortunately, at night, one cannot necessarily see by its headlights that the car behind is law enforcement. But it makes all the difference when a motorist speeds up to get around traffic and let the car by only to get pulled over and issued a citation for speeding. Is that fair? Should it matter?

Time for more bad news: the law does not care. Despite how common speeding police cars may be and the fact that it was out of courtesy that a motorist sped up to get out of the way, courts routinely find for the police and make motorists pay citations even when the speed was – not encouraged – but we’ll say, in response to speeding law enforcement.

So what is a motorist in this situation to do? Three things. First, keep your eye on your speedometer and do not go above the posted speed limit (even if it would help alleviate the traffic bottle up that the trailing car is causing). Second, when traffic permits, signal your turn for 300 feet (remember: under Indiana law, it’s not enough to just signal. A motorist must signal for a sufficient distance). Third, safely change lanes and permit the (now enraged) motorist behind you to pass. Remember, it is far cheaper to irk another motorist for a few moments than have to pay a citation for attempting to be courteous.

If you are a motorist and have been arrested or cited for an offense, contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to your individualized case. Act now and contact us today at (317) 857-0160.