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Top 5 Reasons People Get Pulled Over

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 27, 2015 12:59 PM

You're driving along on the freeway when, out of the corner of your eye, you spot a police car parked on the shoulder of the road. You hit your breaks and slow to the speed limit. You drop your cell phone on the passenger seat. As you drive by, you nervously peer into the rear view mirror to see if you're going to be pulled over.

Your worries may be legitimate. Here are our picks for the top 5 reasons people get pulled over:

1. Speeding

In 2011, Edmunds.com conducted a survey of three police agencies. The company claims that the number one reason for pulling a driver over is speeding .

Edmunds reports that Alex Carroll, author of Beat the Cops, claims that there is a buffer zone of 5-7 mph above the speed limit at which police won't ticket you for speeding. While it is up to the officer's discretion of whether or not to ticket, if you're going even one mile per hour above the speed limit, you're breaking the law and can be ticketed.

You can also get a ticket for driving too slowly.

2. Cell Phone Use

If you're using your cell phone, you're not focused on your driving. Most states have laws that ban texting while driving. Some states even have laws banning all cell phone use while driving for novice drivers. Even if your state doesn't have a law against cell phone use, texting or using your phone while driving may violate more general distracted driving laws. Under these laws you can be cited for eating while driving, driving with a pet on your lap, or even putting on makeup while stopped at a stop light.

3. Equipment Modifications and Violations

Dark window tints, whistle tips, and blacked out tail lights and head lights are all illegal modifications that could get you pulled over.

Even if you don't make improvements to your car, you could still be pulled over for failing to maintain your car. Expired registration tags, missing license plates, or broken windshields are common violations that get people pulled over. Luckily, these are often issued fix-it tickets that carry small or even no fines as long as you make the required repairs.

4. Not Wearing a Seatbelt

According to the CDC, wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to reduce injuries in a car accident. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that only 86 percent of drivers wear a seatbelt when driving. In addition to earning you up to a $200 ticket, not wearing a seatbelt could potentially reduce or negate your compensation for a car accident.

5. Driving While Black or Hispanic

Racial profiling is illegal and unconstitutional. However, it does happen. The Washington Post reported that a Justice Department survey found that more black drivers and Hispanic drivers were pulled over in traffic stops than white drivers. More specifically, black drivers and Hispanic drivers are 31 percent and 23 percent, respectively, more likely to be pulled over than white drivers. Also, for every white driver subject to a search during a traffic stop, two black or Hispanic drivers were subject to searches and seizures.

While most officer do pull drivers over for legitimate reason, the evidence of racial profiling in traffic stops cannot be ignored.

If you believe that you have been improperly pulled over for a violation, an experienced traffic ticket attorney may be able to help.

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