A growing percentage of drivers busted for speeding in Minnesota are finding ways to keep those violations off their driving records, often by paying extra, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. They are taking advantage of little-known court deals in which they pay a sometimes-hefty fee and keep their records clean as long as they don’t get caught disobeying traffic laws too quickly again. In some cities, drivers can end up paying more than double the price of the ticket.
“It’s a loophole,” said Jeff Hochstein, a 43-year-old self-described habitual speeder, who said he has sought and received the deal several times throughout his driving career in an attempt to keep his insurance rates lower. “There’s ways to buy your way out of it.” Last year, nearly 16,200 speeders kept a ticket off their driving records, court data show. That’s 8 percent of all speeding tickets, up from 6 percent in 2004. Besides added revenue, the deals help keep court calendars from getting clogged with traffic cases, some prosecutors say. But the deals, allowed in some cities but not others, raise questions of fairness and governmental policy. “To me, that’s bribery,” said Sharon Gehrman-Driscoll, director of Minnesotans for Safe Driving.