Speeding is by far the most common violation Massachusetts drivers have been cited for in recent years, state data show.
About one in four violations was for speeding.
The next most common type — a distant second — was a violation for not having a valid inspection sticker.
That was followed by failure to stop at a stop sign or red light, seat belt violations, and driving an unregistered vehicle, according to a Globe review of traffic ticket data.
John Carr, an activist with the Massachusetts chapter of the National Motorists Association, said he was surprised that speeding did not account for an even larger share of violations, and he was surprised to seat belt and inspection sticker violations ranked so high.
But law enforcement officials said the list of the most common violations issued was no surprise to them.
“This is what I would expect,” Brian Kyes, president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association and chief of Chelsea police, said in an e-mail. “Common mistakes made by motorists.”
Cambridge-based attorney Ryan Caselden, whose firm represents drivers who fight traffic violations, said the list of most common violation types fits with what he’s seen.
State Police spokesman David Procopio said troopers “do not pay special attention to any one type of offense. We are alert to any and all offenses.”
Of the five most common violation types, a seat belt violation was the only type that is not a primary offense in Massachusetts, meaning people can only be cited for failing to wear a seat belt if they are stopped for another infraction first.
Massachusetts has for years had one of the lowest rates of seat belt use nationwide.
Police said most drivers they issue violations to receive only one violation per stop.
Here is a chart and a table showing the types of traffic violations issued. (Note: The number of traffic violations issued is down sharply from 2010 to 2015, for a variety of reasons.)
|Type||2010||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||Change 10 v. 15||% change|
|NO INSPECTION STICKER||73,919||74,890||76,896||64,114||69,215||60,378||(13,541)||-18%|
|FAILURE TO STOP||72,490||65,183||67,528||61,174||61,842||52,751||(19,739)||-27%|
|SEAT BELT VIOLATION||61,216||46,874||53,212||46,716||46,351||38,232||(22,984)||-38%|
|WEAVING BETWEEN LANES||33,324||30,661||35,121||32,402||33,537||30,320||(3,004)||-9%|
|OPERATING AFTER SUSPENSION||28,846||26,611||30,457||30,957||30,042||27,465||(1,381)||-5%|
|NO LIABILITY POLICY||19,236||18,473||17,778||17,597||17,577||16,189||(3,047)||-16%|
|NO LICENSE IN POSSESSION||5,508||13,520||14,543||13,462||13,212||11,328||5,820||106%|
|STATE HIGHWAY-TRAFFIC VIOLATION||4,017||11,108||12,558||13,490||13,607||11,981||7,964||198%|
|DRIVING TO ENDANGER||9,607||9,898||10,449||10,852||11,217||11,245||1,638||17%|
|NO REGISTRATION IN POSSESSION||4,310||10,929||11,083||10,210||10,212||9,033||4,723||110%|
|DISPLAY NUMBER PLATE||10,358||8,658||10,062||8,274||8,327||6,973||(3,385)||-33%|
|RMV/FED SAFETY REGS||5,426||9,239||8,372||8,680||8,724||7,032||1,606||30%|
|DWI ALCOHOL PROGRAM||8,272||7,788||8,465||7,848||7,557||5,955||(2,317)||-28%|
|OPERATING AFTER REVOCATION||7,211||6,996||7,075||7,147||7,096||6,624||(587)||-8%|
|RT OF WAY INTERSECTN||6,842||6,381||6,310||5,672||6,156||5,089||(1,753)||-26%|
|LEAVING SCENE PROP DAM||6,108||5,974||6,002||6,056||5,820||5,763||(345)||-6%|