Sunday, March 6, 2011


One of the advantages of going through a speed trap and getting a ticket is you are provided the opportunity to interact with people you usually don’t get to meet.

When I went to court, for example, there was a line around the courthouse and I noticed I was one of the very few white people in line. Hmm, I thought. Isn’t this interesting?

After about an hour of being in this queue, I could see how certain people were now becoming fast friends. There seemed to be lots of whispers between people, making deals, sharing phone numbers, and making plans to meet up later. There definitely was an atmosphere of making a buck or closing a deal.

Later I went to traffic school to learn the errors of speeding. Again, I had the opportunity to meet people I usually don’t hang with; this time in a classroom setting. What surprised me in this setting was that most everyone was white. The darker skinned brothers and sisters that had been in line with me at court were not in traffic school.

I did learn something in traffic school, however. I learned the state of CA and every municipality has raised their motor vehicle penalty fees. Speeding tickets are around $300 and going up. Incomplete stops are about $530. Driving without a license is around $1500. DUI’s can cost $10 K and a drug rehab program is mandatory. Also, nurses and doctors get their medical license suspended if they have a DUI.

In the past, police would allow a certain grace of being over the speed limit, but not now. Those days are long gone. Some people in our class had driven just 2 miles/hr over the speed limit and now had that lovely $300 fine.

Also, cities have shortened the yellow light time on stop lights so more people will get tickets. This is another creative way to generate city revenue. It seems that motor vehicle penalties have become the new hidden tax to keep government afloat.

My speeding ticket experience allowed me to learn more about court and traffic school and be around people I don't usually hang with. Hopefully I won’t need to repeat this experience anytime soon and you won't get this opportunity either.


Kathy G said...

Wow! That's harsh.

I have no idea if things have changed in my area; I'm a recovering speeder and always to the speed limit :-)

AnotherQ said...

I am on the path to recovery, too.
My ticket was from a speed trap at the bottom of a hill. I was 5 mph over the limit. The cop picked us off, one by one. The city probably made $10K that night.

Dan said...

Interesting. I remember Samantha attending "Comedy Driving School" for momentarily driving in a bike lane in Mountain View. My memory is that neither the comedy nor the cost were very funny.

Here it is common for speeders to "plead" their case down to a non-moving violation. That keeps your driving record clean for insurance company purposes. All it takes is an extra $100. I'm on a first name basis with the city prosecutor who immediately upon hearing my voice says ... "How fast was Helen going this time?"

AnotherQ said...

Good to know you can plead your case to a non-moving violation OR blame it on Helen! Next time (if there is a next time) I am going to try both of these. lol