I don’t know what traffic laws and the police are like in your world, but here, hmmmm … Mostly I’m grateful for the folks that go out and face the “crazy” everyday (ever notice how many episodes of Cops are filmed in Florida?). But, sometimes I have to wonder.
As Dan, Scout, me and our Suburban-full of assorted beach stuff drove home from our beach vacation, all seemed well. Dan and I were listening to Stephen King’s Duma Key. (fun book) I was driving in the far right lane as the ‘burb doesn’t do well much over 68 mph. We were in no rush.
We passed an interesting scene of three police cars and two other cars pulled WAY off to the side of the road. In fact, we noticed them because in central Florida, the land of no hills, all of the cars were pulled way up on the grassy berm and kind of looked like they might tip over.
Less than 10 minutes later, we were being pursued by a police car with sirens and stuff. It took me a minute to realize I was the target. I pulled over. A nice little round man greeted us and started telling us about a law I have never heard of (and upon coming home I learned it’s not in any driver’s ed literature either). If you see a police car on a highway, you can either change lanes (nice try on I-95 in a car that can barely handle 70) or you slow down an extra 20 mph – again HUGE hazard on I-95.
I’ve always made sure the boys give room to emergency folks and I always have as well – with a good dose of common sense tossed in. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if the emergency folks are 30 feet from the road or that I’d have to plan ahead and aim to hit them if my intent was to do bodily harm to anyone.
I was polite to the officer. Smiled,nodded, etc. I could not find the little residue peel-off paper from our last registration. The police officer shrugged, told me that his instructions that morning had been to go out and give tickets. He let me know he was giving me a break by giving me a citation on the registration thing and NOT the pulling over or changing lane thing. He gave Dan and I a long lecture on terrible things that have happened to emergency personnel in the past – I guess we looked like the sort of folks who would aim for roadside people and cars given the chance. @@
I bit my tongue. HARD. The police have computers in their cars (even printers)and he knew full-well that my registration was ok. (Not to mention that you cannot get a sticker for your license plate until you pay your registration.) He printed (again – IN. HIS. CAR.) a citation (on which was duly noted that my registration was compliant)for not having proof of registration.
REALLY????????? I was so ticked off at having to be nice and smiley and stupid with the police officer, that I kind of blocked it all out. Last night, I noticed that the ticket was coming due. Talk about a racket – this registration information, which is totally in the state database already – was going to take 10-14 days for me to get a copy from my county. THEN I noticed that the officer that pulled me over was from 2 counties away.
Because we’re rich and money is no issue, I went ahead and paid the $100 fine (rather than make a 5 hour round trip in my tank to pay $20). 1) I did not have to show any registration to pay the fine online. Know why? Because, it’s already in the EFFING system!!!!!!!!!! 2) Are you kidding me???????? They’re not even pretending it’s 1982!!!!!!! They simply know that those of us who abide by the rules will pay rather than make waves.
How is this not stealing? I’m okay with paying a fine for doing something wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m ok with my property taxes going to pay emergency folks. BUT!!!!!!! I paid a fine for nothing more than driving past a diligent police officer who was doing what he was told – write tickets. There is something seriously wrong with that picture.
GAH!!!!!!!! I’m one little person – how often is this happening around the country? Is there a way to make it stop happening? This is total insanity. I have not been pulled over since I was about 18-19. I haven’t been paying attention. What else am I missing locally?
Sorry, folks, just had to get that out of my system!