Sen. Marco Rubio has been in a hurry to get to the top, rising from state legislator to U.S. senator in the span of a decade and now running for president at age 44.
But politics is not the only area where Rubio, a Republican from Florida, has an affinity for the fast track. He and his wife, Jeanette, have also shown a tendency to be in a rush on the road.
According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets, the Rubios have been cited for numerous infractions over the years for incidents that included speeding, driving through red lights and careless driving. A review of records dating to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Marco Rubio with four and his wife with 13. On four occasions they agreed to attend remedial driving school after a violation.
Rubio’s troubles behind the wheel predate his days in politics. In 1997, when he was cited for careless driving by a Florida Highway Patrol officer, he was fined and took voluntary driving classes. A dozen years later, in 2009, he was ticketed for speeding on a highway in Duval County, which includes Jacksonville, and found himself back in driver improvement school.
Things got more complicated in 2011 when Rubio was alerted that his license was facing suspension after a traffic camera caught him failing to stop at a red light in his beige Buick. His lawyer, Alex Hanna, paid a $16 fee to delay the suspension and it was dismissed.
“Senator Rubio’s license has always been in good standing,” Hanna said in a statement provided by Rubio’s campaign. “This matter was resolved by the court system, and at no point was the license suspended by the DMV.”
That was not the last time Rubio was given a ticket. In 2012 he was caught failing to obey a stop sign, but the infraction was dismissed.
Jeanette Rubio’s driving record is messier.
According to the records, her driver’s license faced suspension on three occasions, including after a 2009 episode where she was driving a white Cadillac at 58 mph on a road in West Miami with a speed limit of 35 mph. She paid a $302 fine and agreed to attend a four-hour course at a local traffic school.
However, Jeanette Rubio, who also took a four-hour basic driver improvement course after a careless driving incident in 2000, failed to complete the class and had to pay another $34 penalty.
A year later, in 2010, she was stopped for driving 23 mph in a school zone where the speed limit was 15 mph. She was fined $185.
It is not clear how the infractions have affected the Rubios’ car insurance policy or premiums. On at least one occasion, Jeanette Rubio was cited for lacking documentation that her car was insured.
The Rubios have spent more than $1,000 paying traffic penalties over the years, but after Marco Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010, they took a different approach to handling their tickets.
Marco Rubio hired Hanna, a lawyer in Miami who is also a donor to Rubio’s campaign, whose website sales pitch says, “Have you received a traffic ticket? Don’t pay it.” With Hanna’s help, Marco Rubio’s last two citations were dismissed and seven of Jeanette Rubio’s last eight were cleared.
Marco Rubio’s campaign had no comment on the traffic violations or whether Jeanette Rubio’s license was ever suspended.
And not all accidents become police matters. This year, Jeanette Rubio, a former cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins, sideswiped a Porsche Panamera while driving her husband’s Ford F-150 pickup truck to an event at the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach. According to the Miami Herald, the police declined to take a report on the incident because it was a “minor” fender bender.
If Marco Rubio is fortunate to make it as far as the White House, there will be many perks that come with the job. Chief among them, however, might be having a driver.