Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Turn

I got a speeding ticket today, the first speeding ticket in my entire long career as a shitty careful driver.

I didn't argue, I didn't make smart-alecky faces, I didn't claim my speedometer had been sabotaged, nor did I invent a pitiable tale of having to get home in time to save the puppies from the chainsaw or whatever. I said very little, in fact. When Officer Not-Quite-Friendly asked me if I knew how fast I had been going, I answered honestly that no, I didn't know, but that I had been keeping up with the rest of the traffic around me. And that's the weird thing -- I was in a grouping of cars that were all moving at the same speed. Why me? Have I turned black or something?

I had it coming. I was speeding, and, um, it's not the first time I've exceeded the posted speed limit since the late-middle-1980s when I first took the wheel (legally). Call it the law of averages, call it kismet, call it fate, call it a turn o' the wheel of fortune.

It will cost me $206 of the best dollars I have had. And I'd rather not think about what it will do to my insurance rates from this point forward.


Ario said...

Hard luck and my commisserations.

But bloody hell. $200+ for speeding? How fast were you going? Over here in Germany 10-20 kms/h too fast only cost me €15 last time round. That is not even a tenth of your fine.

Or does that actually mean were you going (10 x 10 km/h =) 100 km/h too fast then...?

Dale said...

Ario, thanks. Not that I've kept close track of traffic fines around here, but I think this $206 was relatively high because I was going clocked at 19 MPH (about 30-32 km/h if I'm not mistaken?) over the posted limit in a "construction zone."

Mind you, no actual construction was taking place when I drove through -- the only civil servant in the vicinity was the cop who was setting the speed trap that caught me. And the presence of the construction zone is, I'm pretty sure, the reason the posted speed was considerably lower than usual.

I think maybe the "construction" is finished, and it was always intended to be nothing but a permanent "construction zone" that serves as a convenient speed trap for traffic cops. Purpose served!

Here in the USA, given that people get into a poo-flinging snit every time a government authority actually asks them to pay taxes for government services and infrastructure, it's a longstanding tradition to raise revenue by extracting it through fines. Hence speed traps are common.

They're actually not as bad or as common around here as they are in my dear native Oklahoma. Had I stayed in Oklahoma, I shudder to think how many speeding tickets and other moving violations I'd have by now.

Oh well.

Ian McCullough said...

Appear at your court date, tell the judge you are sorry, don't make excuses and it will probably be reduced by half.

I got a $150 ticket of running a red light in Portland (on my bike) reduced to $40 by showing up and being humble.

Just for the halibut said...

A guy gets pulled over for speeding and starts yelling at the cop. "I wasn't the only one, there were others going just as fast or faster."
The cop calmly looks him in the eye and says, "You ever been fishing?"
"What are we talking about about fishing for?" the guy yelled back.
Again, the cop calmly says, "Have you ever been fishing?"
The guy yells, "Of course I have, what does that have to do with you picking me out of all the people speeding out here?"
The cop says, "Did you catch all the fish?"

Dale said...

Halibut, Ian, thanks and good points. I'm not going to fight it. I do have doubts about the 54MPH radar clocking, but if I'm completely honest, I would estimate my speed at 48-50, which is still in the range where the same fine applies.

I don't know what I'd say to a judge other than, "don't apply the law to me, I'm a nice fellow." I did it (or something close to it), and $206 is the fine, whether I'm a nice fellow or not. And I'm not even a nice fellow a lot of the time! I'm really kind of an asshole! Just read this blog!

Fortunately it's in a heavily-policed area where I almost never drive these days. Rest assured I'll be watching the speed more closely from now on, and as always, driving as little as I possibly can in the first place.

I can haz life lesson?