After over eight years with not even a traffic stop on my record, my streak was marred this weekend. And I’ve decided that speeding tickets suck.
At 3:30am I was driving to my parents’ house in NJ. I was on a pretty major highway (2 lanes in each direction) and there were maybe one or two other cars on the road. At one point I looked up and saw that there was a cop car immediately behind me without his lights on. I continued at the same speed I was going, since I was within a couple mph of the speed limit. He then flipped his lights on and I uttered a few choice phrases as I pulled over.
The cop played the stereotypical traffic cop perfectly. “May I see your insurance and registration please?” with the flashlight shining in the car. I avoided that “What seems to be the problem, officer?” line since I figured he’d tell me anyway. I was intimidated because I’d never been pulled over before and he had the more-lawful-than-thou attitude down, like I was transporting drugs across state lines or something.
“Back there I clocked you doing a 60 in a 45.” He looked at my license, insurance, and registration and added, “Is this your current address?” He then went back to his car to do write out the ticket and do whatever else cops do in the car for that ungodly amount of time.
60 in a 45. I was watching my speed and making sure I wasn’t doing over 55 in a 45, though since I was extremely tired (my eyes were absolutely bloodshot), I figured I must have creeped up a little higher than I expected at one point. He must have clocked me before I noticed I was going a little fast.
He came back to the car and said, “Even though you were going 15 over, I made it nine.” Oh, gee, thanks. Save me $10. “You have a right to contest this ticket if you wish. The court date if you choose to do so is December 28th.” He paused. “Do you know where you are?” Whether he asked this because I was out-of-state or because he was drunk, I’m not sure.
In any event, I’m now stuck with a $78 ticket (!!!) and points on my newly clean insurance record (I passed the 25 milestone a couple months ago). And what irks me is that he actually pulled me over for this…
- Though I may have crept up to 60, he followed me for a while and must have seen that I dropped my speed. There were very few other people even on the road, but the ones I saw were all going as fast or faster than me.
- I’m a defensive driver 95% of the time — I use my turn signals even if no other soul in the world is visible to me, I wasn’t driving erratically, and I never try to run red lights.
- As an out-of-state person, I have a feeling that he didn’t even consider giving me a warning for this minor infraction. Why? Because he knew I wouldn’t pay $30 in tolls and taxes and spend eight hours driving three days after Christmas to contest a $78 ticket, even if I wasn’t guilty.
I guess I should have read this book (which I do own) a little more carefully. -ram
Posted in Cars