Penalty Payoff: 1 in 5 Mississippi drivers would — hypothetically — pay a bribe to evade a speeding ticket, poll finds.

Published 1:21 pm Thursday, November 18, 2021

You know the feeling… You are driving along, listening to music and suddenly the flashing of lights in your rearview mirror catches your attention, often accompanied by a siren’s burst to make sure you know to stop. You pull over, and simultaneously run through every possible scenario in your mind as a police officer appears by your vehicle, motioning you to wind down your window. ‘Was I going over the speed limit? How much will a speeding ticket cost me? Can I talk myself out of this? Or even… Maybe I can just flash the officer a $50 bill?

Given the severe consequence of this final course of action, most people know to steer well clear of attempting to pay off a police officer. However, a poll commissioned by Gunther Volkswagen Daytona Beach, sought to uncover (were it hypothetically possible) how many drivers would actually attempt to bribe their way out of a speeding ticket, if they knew they could get away with it…

It was discovered that on average, 1 in 5 (20%) drivers in Mississippi admit they would bribe their way out of a speeding ticket if they could get away with it without repercussions – above the national average of 19%. The average driver would pay out around $45 in an effort to keep their MVR (motor vehicle report) clean and avoid the admin of settling the fine.

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This figure was highest in Arkansas, where 37% of drivers would pay a bribe. However, it appears that Oklahoma is home to the most law abiding drivers in the country, where only 5% of drivers polled would do so.

Infographic showing bribery stats across the country

More worryingly, it seems not everyone believes the concept of bribery is entirely amoral, or indeed criminal… More than a quarter of drivers thought paying a bribe should only be considered a criminal offense IF the bribe is accepted. The act of subtly leaving some dollar bills within easy reach for a police officer would be fine, according to these respondents.

Encouragingly, the survey revealed that for quite a lot of people, loyalty to law & order runs deeper than their friendships  – 1 in 5 said that if they were in the passenger’s seat and their driver friend paid a bribe after being pulled over for speeding, they would report them to authorities. In fact, when asked what kind of punishment such bribery should receive by law, a majority (64%) of drivers said they thought a license ban of just under a year was appropriate, while 15% thought a fine was sufficient punishment. 11% felt it would be more appropriate to issue a license ban that lasted more than a year, while 10% thought jail time was an appropriate punishment.

Gunther Volkswagen Daytona Beach has provided 5 tips for cutting down your speed:

1.     Engage your cruise control

Some cars come equipped with a cruise control feature – this will help you to stick to the prescribed speed limit by entering your desired speed of travel and ensure that you stick to it.

2.     Apply proper time management

Running late is a common reason for road users to speed, so try and start your journey earlier so that you can allocate enough time to driving safely. This way, you will not feel pressured to speed.

3.     Consider the penalty for speeding

Speeding carries a penalty of either a hefty fine or a court hearing, so bear this in mind whenever you feel the need for speed.

4.     Always maintain a speed below the prescribed limit

Sticking to 5 mph below the limit is a good way of helping you avoid speeding.

5.     Stay alert

Sometimes you can speed unwittingly, so, be constantly weary of your speed gauge and ensure that you avoid exceeding the speed limit.