Why are police, detectives etc allowed to break speed laws and other general speeding comments


I realize by asking this I’m going to get a flood of ‘because they can’ type of answers so don’t bother unless you have some real insight or inside knowledge. In theory our traffic laws are for all our safety, and even though speed limits in many cases were created years ago before technology improved braking etc they are still there to be obeyed or at least as a suggestion as to what speed is appropriate for a given road. If we go too fast and a cop feels the need they’ll ticket you. So why do I routinely notice unmarked police/detective/municipal etc cars routinely going 20-over in the left lane with impunity? In a perfect world shouldn’t they be subjected to the same laws? There I just answered my own question by saying ‘in a perfect world’. It just pisses me off if you know what I mean. See I’m no angel either, I routinely do 10-over on highways and maybe 5-over on local roads but that’s what seems to work for me, and if I see a cop sitting on the side of the highway even when all the other lemmings are hitting their brakes for him I’ll keep doing my speed and they never ever even look my way. Haven’t had a speeding ticket in 30 years and I drive a lot so that’s my comfort zone. I’ll move over for you idiots who are on my ass for not going fast enough but I’ll wait till I’m done passing whomever I’m passing and I can safely do so, meaning without being too close to the car I just passed, so just be patient (LOL!). Oh and while I’m at it, what’s with you idiots who insist on staying in the left lane when you’re not passing anyone and there’s no other reason to be in the left? I’m not supposed to pass on the right so there I am like a clown flashing my lights and hitting my horn while you totally ignore my pleas? I’ll bet that if came up behind you on a crowded sidewalk and said excuse me you’d let me pass, so why do you act differently on the road? That driver’s license in your wallet isn’t also a license to be stupid! Ok I’ll shut-up, for now…


I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that police, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles are permitted to exceed the speed limits ONLY if they have the lights and/or sirens going. This might vary from state to state.

But I think the question you are really asking is more of a political one - why do we grant the police special powers that we do not allow the average citizenry - and that is a good question. More over, why are they granted freedom from prosecution for certain offenses while not performing their duties - such as driving down the street on patrol - and I think there are 2 answers:

  1. Bullies tend to be attracted to policework. It’s not that every cop is a bully, but that the police force has more than the average population. They think they are above the law - or worse, that they are the law.

  2. The average citizenry ALLOWS the police to get away with things they wouldn’t tolerate in the general population - thereby encouraging it.

Solution: I think every police force ought to have an independent review board. This board ought to be outside the political structure for the police force. For example, the review board for a city police force should be appointed by - say - the state governor. And that review board should have sufficient power to terminate individuals within the organization.


It’s kind of silly to ask us a question and then tell us not to give you the right answer.

“Because they can” is the only answer. They’re not legally allowed to do it unless they’re responding to an emergency call, and they’re supposed to run lights and sirens when they speed to get to an emergency. They do it because they know their buddies in blue will not give them a ticket for it out of “professional courtesy.”

It’s a very mild example of the abuses of power that have caused citizens to mistrust the police - the other end of the scale being that they can murder people in cold blood and more often than not get away with it. Google “New Orleans ham sandwich” for an illuminating insight into what cops can, and do, get away with.

And all of it, from the traffic violations to the murders, is doubly a shame because there are a lot of good cops out there who just want to help keep society safe, but they get lumped in with the bad cops who view the badge as a license to be a sociopath.


The OP claims to speed but doesn’t think anyone else should apparently. Does not want conflicting opinions to his. Honks horn and flashes lights at other drivers inviting road rage and his avatar picture makes one think of someone yelling " Get off my lawn "


In addition to shadowfax’s on-target answer, I will add that–for some people who seek to become cops–it is all about power.

When I was a kid, my mother was friendly with one of the other teachers, whose husband was the “motorcycle cop” in our town. He had a reputation for ticketing people for driving 2 mph over the speed limit, and he never gave anyone a break. He was also an out-and-out racist, but that is a story for another day.

One day when my mother was at their house, the cop–in a weak moment–confessed that he was a real speed demon in his personal car, and his wife revealed that she was always nervous when driving with him because he always drove so fast. When my mother–innocently–asked, “Tom, aren’t you worried about getting a ticket?”, he laughed at her and gave her some reality regarding “professional courtesy” when other cops see somebody flash a badge.


Every once in a while a civilian will pull a cop over for speeding. I would not recommend it, maybe get a dash cam and report it. A link below, easy enough to find on google.


In NY State , police vehicles are specifically exempted from the vehicle and traffic code. they do not even need to be licensed by the state and are considered under the law as a piece of police equipment.


All I was saying was yes I know they can get away with it so don’t just tell me that. Hey yeah I admitted to speeding. What I’m talking about are the cops and others who do 80 in a 55 zone in the left lane and without any emergency lights. If I happen to be in the left I’ll pull over when I can do so safely as I would with anyone else who rides my ass or I see is coming up real fast behind me. Now as to the guy I’m flashing lights at, it’s usually but not always a trucker or a guy in a cube van, etc going slower than the speed limit and is causing a dangerous situation by not moving over in that everyone’s trying to pass him on the right and then zoom around in front of him. I only get annoyed when there’s no apparent reason for said driver to refuse to move over. My avatar picture is Doc Brown from Back to the Future with that look of shock, which is how I feel sometimes while observing other driver’s crazy behaviour.


You’re right I should’ve been more specific. I was just wondering, as oldtimer_11 said about NY, if state law specifically allows for cops to break the same laws they’re sworn to enforce or if it’s just because noone holds them accountable?


What does Peter Noone have to do with this situation?
I prefer to believe that no one would consider him to be responsible.



The county and state police in Central MD speed at will, and about the only time they aren’t speeding is when they are stopped. They also tailgate and cut other drivers off, all without the lights and siren. A few years ago, a county policeman tailgated me on an exit ramp. What was that fool thinking? A couple of days ago, a county policeman (different county) cut me off on the beltway. There was a car in the left lane about three car lengths in front of me and I was in the lane to the right. The cop cut between us and drove on at probably 75 mph or more in a 55 zone. Why should I pay attention to the speed signs if they don’t? I called to report the cop on the exit ramp, and they wanted my name and address. They didn’t seem to care about what the cop did since they never mentioned anything about it during our conversation. All they wanted to know was who I was. It made me wonder who they thought the law breaker was.


That’s why I decided to stop reporting the local cops who ALWAYS have a cellphone pressed to their ear while driving. Yes, my state has designated hand-held cellphone use while driving as a moving violation, but that clearly doesn’t stop the boys in blue from violating that statute on a steady basis.


I haven’t noticed a big problem in Minnesota but given they are the only thing between us and anarchy, I’ll give 'em a little bit of a pass. They’ve got a tough job, never knowing if the next person they stop will be their last.


Haha ok major English, touche’


In my state emergency responders and tow truck drivers are exempt from the cell phone law.