Getting a ticket for speeding is always a major disappointment, whether you’re pulled over by an officer or assigned a ticket after the fact by an automatic detection camera. When driving your car or a rental, the process is pretty much the same: contest the ticket or simply pay up. Usually there’s nothing particularly complicated about receiving a ticket when you’re renting a car. Because you have information on file, authorities will likely be able to find you and get the whole situation over with quickly.
In the event that things get tricky, the following are a few tips to keep in mind about receiving a ticket in a rental car. If all goes well, none of them will apply directly to you. With that said, it is better to understand the process rather than ending up with extra questions in the event that you are issued a ticket.
What’s the Process of Paying a Speeding Ticket in a Rental Car?
The correct way to pay a speeding ticket in a rental car will depend on whether the ticket is issued in person by a police officer or assessed later due to automatic detection by a traffic camera. When you receive the ticket directly from an officer, you just send in your payment as if you were driving your own car. While the situation is obviously unfortunate – no one likes to get pulled over, after all – at least it’s simple. The rental car company likely won’t become involved at all.
Being caught on a camera is a different matter. Because traffic cameras identify cars by their license plates, the rental car provider will be the one receiving the mailed ticket. In this case, the company will contact you after the fact and bill you, likely on the same credit card you used to rent the vehicle.
Only In Your State pointed out that rental car contracts typically involve agreements with the company that makes most speed cameras – American Traffic Solutions – to allow this type of billing for fines. The same type of process plays out if you’re caught running a red light by an automated camera. There can be administrative fees associated with such violations, alongside the ticket amounts themselves.
Make sure that you hold onto the receipt for paying your ticket. Traffic School Online pointed out that in case of a miscommunication between the authorities and your rental provider, you will want to be able to prove that you did indeed pay the fine and are back in good standing.
Can You Contest Your Speeding Ticket?
Contesting a ticket by proclaiming that the sensors and cameras have made a mistake might work to get your fine canceled. According to Only In Your State, this process is likely to work out in your favor in only a few situations. If you can provide evidence that you weren’t at the place where the violation took place and the charges are due to a case of mistaken identity, you might be able to show up in court and present that proof to negate the ticket. Of course, the one thing you shouldn’t do is just ignore a violation.
How Does Driving Overseas Affect Your Speeding Ticket Risk?
What happens when you’re driving in another country, potentially facing unfamiliar rules of the road and signage? According to The Wall Street Journal, driving in Europe comes with an elevated risk of receiving a speeding ticket. The rise of automated ticketing in countries such as Germany and France is keeping drivers on their toes. These systems were typically installed earlier in Europe than in the U.S., meaning the cameras are now widespread.
Receiving a ticket overseas is a more potentially complex process than getting one at home, with The Wall Street Journal noting that the appeal process in Italy is particularly convoluted compared to the U.S. equivalent. Some of the rules being enforced automatically in Italy may be unfamiliar to American drivers, so it pays to get as much information as possible from local guides and hotel staff about potential problem areas. Receiving an unexpected charge after the fact can be a disappointing ending to a fun European trip.
How Can You Most Effectively Avoid Speeding Tickets?
The best way to avoid a speeding ticket is to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. This is simple advice, but it’s always applicable and may protect your wallet from costly fines at home and abroad. Speed limits and regulations can change drastically between areas, and authorities are unlikely to accept ignorance as a defense. Keeping an eye out for signage is always important, and when you’re in a new area for the first time, you should be especially aware.
Even if you’ve driven in a region before, you can’t let your mind go into autopilot. As the recent proliferation of cameras in some areas has proven, the rules can change over time. City planners often undertake projects to change traffic flow or reduce the risk of dangerous driving, and the resulting process may involve new or more strictly enforced traffic laws. You owe it to yourself to drive cautiously, keeping yourself ticket-free on the road.
When it comes to avoiding additional fees that come from traffic violations in a rental car, the best thing to do is to be prompt and responsive. Reacting to the ticket right away and paying it off in a hurry can prevent fines for lateness. After making the payment and receiving your receipt to answer any questions about the amount and timing of your response, things should be resolved.
Speeding tickets and similar moving violations are relatively common out on the road, and it can help your peace of mind to consider the rules of the road in your destination city and the processes required in the unfortunate event you are issued a ticket, before you take your trip. It usually makes little difference whether the car is a rental or your own; but being proactive and prepared can make all the difference.