WEST MICHIGAN –The Michigan State Police in West Michigan issues hundreds of citations a year for traffic violations.
The great majority are for speeding.
For each ticket, there can be hundreds of excuses from West Michigan Drivers to try to explain why they shouldn’t receive one.
”I’ve said a few things to get out of a ticket,” said Ian Kelley, a driver from Wayland.
“I’ve given a lot of excuses and they usually don’t work,” said Nick Harig, a driver from Hastings.
Trooper Mitchell Dyer said he’s well versed on all of our excuses. We rode along with Dyer on a road patrol to find out what West Michigan drivers were saying when they were pulled over.
First we found Brad Franck over the limit on South 131. Dyer pulled him over for speeding.
“Hello sir, state police, how you doing?” said Dyer. “I had you at 81 in the right lane.”
“I seen you. You scared me. I had to slam on my brakes,” said Franck.
Franck brings us to the first of one of our top five excuses. He “didn’t know” he was speeding.
“I just looked down, OK, I better slow down,” said Franck.
Next we caught up with drivers Nick Harig and Teresa Pountain using another popular excuse, the kids.
“Your speed is the reason I’m talking to you,” said Trooper Nick Harig, a driver from Hastings. “We’re trying to feed the kids on the way home.”
“I would hope having a car full of kids and being exhausted is good enough,” said Teresa Pountain, a Mom from Grand Junction.
However, Harig isn’t so sure it’s the best excuse.
“I don’t think so really, because speeding with kids in the car isn’t a good idea,” said Harig.
According to Dyer, other top excuses include the need to go to the bathroom and car or mechanical error.
“My accelerator was stuck. I’ve heard that,” said Dyer..
Heidi Tague of Caledonia was pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. She quickly prepared a number of explanations.
“I told him I didn’t know I did it,” said Tague. “Then I told him I hadn’t’ been pulled over in like 15 years. Then I found out his in-laws live right down the road from me so I kind of brought that up too,” said Tague.
But, Heidi said her first instinct was to blame her husband, Lance.
“I didn’t know if he had a seat belt on so I was yelling at him,” said Tague while laughing.
Lance replied with a smile on his face, “It couldn’t have happened to a better person because I’m always the one getting it.”
We also found those with big imaginations. Ian Kelley admits he used his grandma, who was in good health, as his worst excuse.
“I’ve told people I’m in a hurry, my grandma’s in the hospital. Lots of crazy things,” said Kelley
From Grandma to Rover, David Dohm says he’s thrown his dog under the bus so-to-speak.
“I was rushing home because my dog got hit by a car or something like that,” said Dohm. “I got off on the speeding ticket for that cause the cop was like, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry for you’.”
Franck says he’s used a popular science fiction television show to attempt to joke his way out of a ticket.
“There was that one time I grabbed my cell phone like this and said, ‘Scotty, beam me up!’ Didn’t work,” said Franck.
Our drivers also tell us there’s always the option of turning on the tears.
“I would definitely cry, definitely,” said Leslie Worm of Hastings.
“I guess maybe I ought to try that. It might work if I’m a guy,” said Harig.
That brings us to the number one excuse of all time that Trooper Dyer has heard on the road. “I’m late.”
“late for appointments, late for work,” said Dyer.
Whether the excuses are creative or common, Trooper Dyer said the tickets are at the discretion of each officer.
The lesson to take away from West Michigan’s worst excuses is accident prevention.
He said absent of alcohol or drugs, the number one cause of crashes is following too close and speeding.
“Try to share the road and everyone be safe,” said Dyer.
The drivers we talked to received verbal traffic warnings during the stops. However, Dyer advises that typically excuses don’t work.
Speeding tickets in Michigan can range from between $90 for going one to five over the speed limit and zero points on your license to $155 or more for those going over the limit and four points added on your license.
Following too closely to someone else can get you a fine of $95 and up to two points.
The most expensive tickets we found were for careless driving, causing an accident at $205 with up to three points added to your license.
To check out all the fines listed online, head to the link below.