Friday, February 27, 2009

Stop Me if You've Heard This One

The one fear I have in telling stories on my blog is that I will repeat myself. No more sure sign of aging than repeating oneself. No more sure sign of aging. . .oh, I already said that.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I was stopped an officer of the law for a driving infraction. However, I have had my share. I am just hoping I haven't already written about those encounters.

Herewith, a few samples.

I have been stopped for speeding three times. Please understand, I am not heavy on the gas. But, nevertheless I must have a "please stop me--I am speeding" sign on my car.

The first time I was stopped, I had our son with me in the car. I was on a local expressway, and was travelling with the traffic. But, I was one of the cars pulled over that morning. When I went for my hearing, I tried the "I was moving with the traffic" argument. The hearing officer, who had absolutely NO sense of humor, said--just because everyone else does it, would you do it too? If everyone stuck their heads in an oven, would you? Huh? Too much of a parental approach.

The second time I was stopped for speeding, I was returning home from work, and this time our daughter was with me in the car. (I know--why are my children always with me to witness these infractions?) I was driving along a local road that has a posted speed of 25 miles per hour. One of our township's "friendly" officers was playing with a quasi-radar machine that day. It works by taking two points of reference, hitting a button when the car crosses the first and then again when it crosses the second. The machine then calculates speed. Based on that, he stopped me, and said I was going 40 MPH in a 25 MPH zone.

Now, I can get my "Irish up" so I challenged this ticket before a local magistrate. I also enlisted the help of an attorney friend of ours, who just happened to bring along to the hearing another attorney--who happened to be a priest. (It's a long story.) Anyway, when they walked into the magistrate's hearing room, the district judge said--hello Father So and So. Hmmmm.

When the local officer gave his testimony, he allowed as how that day he was letting drivers go if they were doing up to 30 + MPH, but I must have been doing more since he stopped me. Then, I was asked--how fast were you going. And I replied--I really have no idea, but I am sure I wasn't going 40. The judge ruled in my favor, since the local officer was capricious in whether he stopped people for speeding or not.

The last time I got stopped for speeding we were in upstate New York, visiting our daughter at college. We went out to eat near the college, and had to pass through a little town named Earlville. It was one of those one strip towns, where the speed limit drops from 55 to 40 to 25. Suspiciously, the speed limit signs are posted in such a way that you really couldn't see them, unless you knew the area. The great irony in this whole incident is that I am always the one to say--the speed limit changed here; slow down.

Anyway, as we drove through Earlville (I soon came to call it E-ville for reasons you will soon understand), I saw red lights flashing in the rear view mirror. I stopped the van. The local officer walked up to the window and asked--do you know why I stopped you. I said--I have NO idea. He told me I was speeding, told me where the speed limit changed, and wrote out a ticket with a hefty fine.

When we returned home, my husband took the ticket and called the local judge in E-ville. He learned that while I could appeal the ticket, I would have to drive back to New York, appear in person, and then very likely I would still be fined. So, I swallowed my principles, and agreed to pay the fine. I have never returned to E-ville, and will never return.

So, any speeding confessions out there, friends?


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I've gotten only two speeding tickets in my life. Both of them were in the same neighborhood, same block actually, six days apart, and issued by the SAME police officer! He recognized me when he pulled me over the second time and laughed as he wrote out the second ticket which was double the fine of the first ticket!

RuthieJ said...

Two warnings, but no citations. And I DO have lead foot, but I don't drive much anymore either.

Dog_geek said...

No speeding tickets (knock on wood.) I've only been pulled over once, and after the officer sent me on my way, I realized that I had a huge pair of bolt cutters on the passenger seat. He didn't ask me about them, though - I've always wondered if he noticed them.

Ruth said...

I got my first speeding ticket last year, one block from our home while rushing home from work. I knew I was going 20 km over the limit and did not argue with the officer. Of course 2 of my daughters were there to see their law-breaking mother. I should have lost 3 demerit points from my license but because I had no tickets in 30 plus years, I was written up for 15 km over the limit...$110 and no points lost. It did make me more careful.

Anvilcloud said...

My last speeding ticket was nine years ago in Michigan. I followed a MI car through a work zone and got pulled over. There was no sign but one is supposed to know. But I had been driving from the west for most of two days leading up to that, and I probably had deserved it several times previously.

JeanMac said...

Wayne and I each got a ticket the same day - we were listening to news of Desert Storm and daydreaming. He came home and said,"guess what." I repeated it. $200. to the govt.coffers that evening.

possumlady said...

My only speeding ticket was given to me courtesy of a camera. I didn't even realize it until two weeks later when I got the notice and a nice little photo of the back of my car! That said, with drivers in the DC area, I'm very pro-speeding and red light cameras. It has had a definite affect around here.

I also know of those little town speed traps. On the way to the Eastern Shore from DC there is a little town, I believe Georgetown, Delaware that is notorious for catching us city folk.

Jayne said...

Both of mine were in college. On the way home going down a steep hill off a ridge where the speed limit was 55, I was simply "letting the car coast" on down, and was clocked doing... um... gulp... 81? Thankfully, the state trooper had pity on me and brought it down a bit to avoid the reckless driving charge. I learned my lesson to keep an eye on the speedometer.

The second one was also in college a few years later where, going through the small town, I was doing 40 in a 30mph zone. Pshaw. It was a speed trap.

I've never been stopped since... knock on wood... then again, I really DO watch my speed and never do more than 5-8mph over the speed limit usually.

Ginnie said...

Yes, I've had my share over the years...but my kids still tell of the time I was driving them through an area that was posted at 25 mph. They kept telling me that I was going too fast and I finally yelled "DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO DRIVE 25 MILES PER HOUR??" They still puzzle over that but I know what I meant.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Ohhhhh! yes. I have had a few. I had a new truck once and got two in one week at about the same spot. I was just not used to the smooth ride and could not sense the speed I was going. The second time, I tried the "I have a sick calf on the seat beside me and I am rushing it to the Vet's." Hoping for a police escort as well as getting off.
It didn't work. I got a ticket and no sympathy. On top of it all I had acquired enough points to require me to take a course in driving at the Ministry of Transport, where some officious little man tried to humiliate us. My attitude got so bad he almost flunked me.

More interesting than that was being stopped at 2:00 AM just after crossing the border into Canada at Fort Erie. The officer took all my papers and sat in his car checking me out. He returned and sent us on our way, no ticket but said the young woman with me should drive, as I had been driving for 10 hours. As she pulled away in front of the police car she spun gravel up. A short distance down the road, the lights come on again and the same officer pulls us over. Perhaps, an infraction for spraying him with gravel! He said, I just wanted you to know there was no problem. You fit the description of a person we were informed by INTERPOL to look out for.

Strange! How many couples, at 2:00 AM, are crossing the border into Canada, with three kids in a volkswagen and a red canoe on top. I shall always wonder.

troutbirder said...

I've gotten tickets under the most unfair and outrageous circumstances. My leadfoot wife cries or says things like "I was just breezing along officer." ...and get away with it every time.
I found you post about no more books very interesting. A friend of mine teaches a a local community college. He tells me how he collects textbooks from some students when they are finished and (discretly) passes them on to those students who can't afford them. I am interested in learning more about KINDLE.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

You won't like my story. I was in my early 30s, driving with my father across the plains of Colorado. I came to the top of a rise--and there was a state policeman, just waiting for me, his lights already flashing! However, for some inexplicable reason, he let me off with just a warning. That's the one and only time I've been stopped for speeding.

KGMom said...

There are some great stories here, folks. I suspect there are a few more stories out there too!
Philip--I am curious how you fit an Interpol profile!?!
I begrudge no one who has beaten the speeding rap--more power to you.
And if you have never been stopped, good for you.
As I said--I think my car has a special sign on it!

Susan Gets Native said...

For me, it's been two speeding tickets and one "running a red light".
That last one, it was yellow as I went through...the cop was an ass.

Worst speeding ticket: Bopping through PA on the way to Woodstock 94. It was me and my boyfriend and two of his loser friends. On RT. 80 through PA, it's like 55 mph the whole freakin' way, and the two loser friends kept leaning up and pushing my knee so I would go faster, so I did, just to shut them up.
I got stopped doing 85 mph. The ticket cost $143.

Bad. And the cop looked like a little pipsqueak who got picked on in high school and was getting his revenge by being a police officer.
The last one I got was not a big deal, but the kids were with me. I tried to use them as an excuse "They were yelling and fussing, and I wasn't concentrating". The cop looked a bit sympathetic, but I got a ticket anyway. Dammit.

Anonymous said...

Had two speeding citations - one on the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel thruway going 70 in a 50. Radar trap. First offense. I paid a court cost - no fine, no points.

The other ticket on I95 north in Dinwiddie VA. 80 in 65. I got pulled over because I had an out-of-state tag, and I was speeding. I was on my way to MD for Mom's funeral. Trooper didn't care. $131 fine - no points.

I had a two warning tickets on the same road back in 1979.

Overall, not bad! I do like to drive fast :o)

Anonymous said...

Oh, that Harbor Tunnel ticket with no point, no fine did cost me 18 months probation before judgement!