Myth: The malfunction of a speedometer is a defence for a ticket for speeding

By Jonathan van Ekelenburg

Some drivers have been shocked to be pulled over by a police officer and given a ticket for speeding because their speedometer indicated otherwise. Sometimes the speedometer can be shown later to have been malfunctioning, and some drivers believe this can be used as a solid defence against a ticket for speeding.

This is not the case. A ticket for speeding is what is known as an absolute liability offence, which means you either were or were not committing the offence. The prosecution will vigorously challenge using the malfunction of a speedometer as a defence. They will state that your mental state, regardless of the functionality of the machine, is not a defence since the charge is absolute liability and the malfunction of a speedometer does not mean you were not actually committing the offence of speeding.

In the eyes of the law, it is your responsibility to ensure that your car and all its parts are working correctly, including the speedometer, so make sure to have your car checked regularly to avoid any potential tickets for speeding that a malfunction could lead to.

Read about more traffic ticket myths

Top