Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tale of Ten Tickets

When most teenagers first start to drive, their parents usually advise caution before speed. Not my parents. Their feet are so full of lead, I'm not sure how they ever board airplanes. Unfortunately, lead in the feet is a genetic trait, but eagleness of the eye is not. That is how my mother, despite her speeding ways, has never gotten a speeding ticket, but I have a record spanning several states.

I thought I had finally broken my torrent of tickets, but my eight years of driving clean was shattered, this summer, by a road trip through Colorado. Unpleasant as the experience was, it gave me time to reflect, like a cheesey series finale, on each and every ticket I have gotten. The result was....disturbing.

1. Southern Utah, 1990: I didn't even have my license yet, just a permit, and I was driving the family van on a road trip with my mother in the front seat looking at the speedometer and saying, "We're never going to get there at this rate".

2. Houston, Texas, 1991: As an incredibly unobservant teenager, on my way to Galveston, I came up behind a slow moving car so I passed it on the wrong side of the road only to discover it was a police car. I was nabbed for going 20 over.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1992: In the wee hours of the morning, I figured I could turn left even though the turn light was red because the streets were deserted. I turned alright, but the streets weren't quite deserted. Dang!

4. Somewhere in Wyoming, 1992: The best thing about getting a ticket in Wyoming is, at the time anyway, the penalty is one dollar per mile over the speed limit. I was out $17.

5. Sandy, UT, 1993: Got nabbed behind the highschool I was attending. Being a student that the school zone was designed to keep safe apparently didn't help my cause at all.

6. Provo, UT, 1994: I hit a Geo Metro when we both started out from opposite driveways into the same break in 5 lanes of traffic. Why did I get the ticket and not her? I was turning left. Left turners have no rights. Maybe I should start lobbying...

7. almost to Utah, CO, 1995: I discovered that it is a policy in Colorado that if you are going more than 20 mph over the speed limit, the policeman is obligated to take you into custody. Lucky for me, he had mercy in his heart that day.

8. Provo, UT, 1996: Okay so this one's a parking ticket. Sometimes you just have to risk it when you're late for class and there's no other place to park. It's just embarrassing calling your boss to tell him you're going to be late for work because your car got booted.

9. Spokane, WA, 2001: On an overnight roadtrip, the book on tape I was using to keep me from dozing also kept me from realizing the speed limit had just dropped. Sneaky guy was waiting right after the reduced speed sign.

10. middle of nowhere, CO, 2009: I seriously got pulled over for doing 77 in a 65 on a straight, flat, country road. I think it's a ploy by financially strapped local governments to raise revenue, so I'll just think of the $164.50 I'm out as my contribution to stimulating the economy. It makes speeding patriotic, in a way.

So speed on my friends, and don't fret the tickets. It's saving jobs, or something.

4 comments:

Cheryl said...

Good Grief! That's quite the impressive line up!! Sorry to see you broke your 8 year slump!! ;p)

I got my first speeding ticket when I wasn't even the driver. Scott and I hadn't been married very long (kind of surprised we stayed married after that!) and we were driving along when he saw a police car coming towards us in the opposite lane. Scott saw the lights come on and the car prepare to turn around and realized that he was speeding, and then he realized that he didn't have his license on him. We dropped down into a dip and he grabbed me and pulled me over him and slid into the passengers seat and by the time we came up the other side and the police car was right behind us, I was nailed.

Happy The Man said...

You and I are kindred spirits. I hadn't had a ticket for many years (after many many tickets in my youth that I care not to reveal). My last was a few years back, was behind a 1973 Volvo wagon doing about 25 on the freeway on-ramp and showing no signs of ever being able to even meet the minimum speed limit. At the first opportunity I blasted around him in my unnerved state doing about 85-90mph trying to insert myself between two wolf packs before the window of opportunity passed.

Mr. smokey was in the slow lane up ahead on the right, when I noticed him I was braking hard in an attempt to stay behind him. He slowed to a mere crawl to get behind me and pulled me over. He couldn't write me for speeding because he had no way of knowing how fast I was going since he was ahead of me. But he wrote me up for an unsafe lane change. I went to court, asked the judge how he could know I made an unsafe lane change when he was 5-6 car lengths ahead of me (which was the truth, at least while I was changing lanes). Since I had no points on my record, the judge allowed me go to traffic school (on-line, you gotta love this country) in exchange for waiving the ticket from my record. So my record is still clean going on 8+ years :)

Of course, now that I've boasted my good fortune, I'm doomed!

Tim said...

Love the stories! So here are mine.

1992 Summer, Sanpeete County, UT. On a deserted two-lane highway, somehow the cop coming the other way determined that I was going 15 mph over. I went to court two weeks later. The judge looked like your typical farmer and his 'court room' was his messy office. Went to traffic school only.

1997 May, New Jersey. I was in a rent-a-car with out-of-state license plates, going to visit a P&G plant in Pennsylvania (on the Sesquehanna River of all places). Going 65 in a 55 and the idiot pulls me over?! Started yelling at the cop and he started yelling back. The two Japanese new hires in the car with me were silent the rest of the car ride.

2002 Spring, Peoria, IL. Again, out of state, on a family trip to Nauvoo. Speed limit had just changed from 65 to 55 and I was going 70. Tried to be really nice and penitent, but when it became clear he was going to write the ticket, I laid into him. When he approached our car the second time, he had his hand on his holster. What an idiot!

Fall, 2007 I was test driving an Acura TSX and had just put it into 6th gear and was checking the speed to rpm ratio (3500rpm at 85 mhp) when I noticed the cop under the overpass with the radar. Tried the whole, I'm-not-used-to this-car-story, but no luck. Made all kinds of threats about rescinding my annaul Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) donations, but still no luck.

Hey this feels good! Kinda like a support group!

ray said...

Hey, it's like confession time at AA. Yes, hearing your stories made me feel better, well, like I'm not alone anyway. Traffic School (I've gone twice in two different states) is like going to night school with people who ride the city bus, although if they did they wouldn't be there, with a summer school teacher. It's not exactly an enlightening experience but it serves its purpose. I like what a judge told my brother when he asked to go to traffic school. He said, "if I let you go, you'll never learn". Ponder the inconsistencies in that statement for a while.