Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 221–234 | Cite as

The Value of Remorse: How Drivers’ Responses to Police Predict Fines for Speeding

  • Martin V. DayEmail author
  • Michael Ross
Original Article


After they stop drivers for exceeding the speed limit, police often have the discretion to alter the penalty. We investigated the degree to which extra-legal factors (apologies and other verbal responses), in addition to speed over the limit, predict ticket costs for speeding. Surveys of speeders were conducted in the U.S. and Canada. The data suggest that what people say to police matters. Participants who reported statements of remorse, e.g., “I’m sorry,” received lower fines for speeding. The relation of speeders’ responses to ticket costs is discussed from legal and psychological perspectives.


Apology Remorse Forgiveness Police-citizen interactions 



This research was prepared with the support of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship to Martin V. Day and was funded, in part, by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant to Michael Ross. We thank Richard Eibach and Mark Zanna for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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