There is no denying the fact that the concept of rental cars has been a huge blessing for tourists and travelers. Getting the chance to make your way around a new city without having to splurge on a new car or board a bus is pretty cool.
However, before renting a car, there are several things to consider, and that includes fees, car seats for kids, and the chances of getting pulled over. Yes, you read that right. Getting pulled over is a legit concern for renters because of rumors that rental cars get pulled over more than regular cars.
In this article, we will be exploring the truthfulness of this while putting every possible factor into consideration. Let’s settle right in.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether Rental Cars Get Pulled Over More:
There’s no solid proof that the police are out targeting rental cars. In other words, rental cars get pulled over just like regular cars, especially when the cops have reasonable grounds to suspect foul play. To avoid getting pulled over, make sure to abide by traffic rules and have proper documentation.
Do the Police Stop Rental Cars More Often Than Regular Cars?
There is no statistical evidence for the assertion that the police stop rental cars more frequently than regular cars. However, one clear fact is all cars, whether regular or rental, are more likely to be targeted if the driver is a minority or foreigner.
So in an area where the police department is discriminatory, renting a car as a foreigner or minority can instantly increase your chances of getting pulled over.
Regardless of these, if you do get pulled over, it helps to obey law enforcement agents and just stay calm. Provide everything demanded from you, such as your license and car rental contracts. Throw in some respectful jokes and politeness, and you are likely to be let go sooner than usual.
We should also mention that if you rent a car and get pulled over, cops/state troopers can search your car if there’s someone else at the wheels. So, to avoid worse troubles than a pullover, we advise sticking to your rental contract by driving the car yourself.
Back in 2014, a man got pulled over in a rental car with his girlfriend, and he apparently wasn’t listed on the contract. The state trooper took that as a reasonable ground for a comprehensive search, and lots of heroin was found in the trunk.
He got 10 years in a federal prison, as one would reasonably expect. And while his lawyers fought all the way to the Supreme Court, they could have avoided the whole thing if they had just stuck to the driving agreement.
Do Expensive Rental Cars Get Pulled Over More Often?
As we have mentioned before, there is no proof that rental cars get pulled over more often than regular cars. However, when the rental car is a luxury one, the story might be a little different.
Here’s what we mean-some luxury cars actually get pulled over less depending on the brand, color, and class.
According to a study by YourMechanic in 2016, 33.4% of Lexus ES300 drivers got ticketed, making it the most ticketed luxury car.
In the same breath, the Lexus IS350 was the least-ticketed luxury car, with only 3.4% getting a ticket.
If you are renting a sporty car like convertibles or coupes, you will likely get pulled over more because those cars are associated with teens and young adults. Cops and troopers are more likely to suspect such youthful cars of misconduct.
However, if you are renting a minivan or sedan (cars typically associated with families), you are less likely to get pulled over.
Please note that these are minor factors and there are ways to avoid getting pulled over whether you’re driving a luxury or regular rental car. They include:
• Avoid speeding.
• If you have to speed, don’t go beyond 5mph more than the actual speed limit.
• Don’t swerve in and out of lanes.
• Make sure the car is in good condition- driving with damaged headlights, for instance, is a recipe for getting pulled over.
• Whoever is driving the car should be the one listed on the rental agreement just in case you get pulled over.
What Do Cops See When They Run Plates on Rental Cars?
When you get pulled over, one of the first things the officers will do is to run your plates and make sure things are tight in that end. However, what happens when it is a rental car, considering the fact that you rented it and it’s actually not yours?
Well, here’s what happens-when the cops run the plates on rental cars, they’d see the same information that comes up when it’s a regular car, i.e. color, make, model, and year. They would also see that a rental company owns the car.
Nothing about the driver comes up at that point, which is why they might ask for your license so they can identify you. In some other cases, they might actually contact the rental company to get information about the driver just to be sure there’s no deception going on.
So if there’s anything up with your license like a temporary suspension, driving a rental car with that might just land you in trouble.
Basically, the only thing that comes up when the police run a rental car’s plates is its registration history with the rental company.
What Happens If You Get Pulled Over IN a Rental Car?
If you get pulled over in a rental car, the very first thing that happens is you are required to stop.
Once you do that, the cop would approach you, ask a couple of questions about your movement and then run your plate number.
Usually, the cops can recognize a rental car from afar, so they typically would not ask for the registration documents. If you are speeding or violated traffic rules, you’ll be fully responsible for the fines. If it’s a problem with the vehicle itself, then the rental agency will bear the brunt.
If you get pulled over, and you are not the authorized driver, the police will be inclined to probe further for any evidence of wrongdoing.
As long as your papers are right and your license is intact, you shouldn’t encounter any troubles. Also, whatever you do, be honest with the cops..
Can Cops Search a Rental Car Without a Warrant?
In the United States, the police do not have the authority to search your car without consent or probable cause.
However, one thing you can expect is they will try to trick you into giving consent, usually through empty threats. Don’t fold.
We told a true story earlier about the man who was driving a rental car with his girlfriend and got caught with heroin after a search. Now, that case went all the way to the Supreme Court because while there was indeed a crime, the lawyers strongly challenged the legality of the search.
If you are uncomfortable with your rental car being searched, decline the search politely and unequivocally. Also, don’t let up till you see a warrant. That’s the way to go.
Note: The information in this article does not constitute legal advice. Please endeavor to read and understand the local traffic laws of a region when using rental cars.