Quothe Kirk:

I’ve been driving since ‘83 and have never had a ticket. You guys seem to get one a week. Slow down, you Mad Max wannabes.

Actually, I have gotten only three tickets since starting this blog, which considering that I have driven some 150,000 in that period (2.5x the average) I don’t consider to be all that bad. In the year or two before that, I got two tickets. Prior to that, I got them every 90 days like clockwork. The problem was that I was dating Julianne which had me driving up and down a particular street in Phillippi that was a major revenue-generator for the city. It wasn’t a “speed trap” in the traditional sense with the speed limits set unreasonably low. Mostly it was just under heavy enforcement at on sporadic nights and for some reason it was just an easy street to speed on. When my friends and I would eat at IHOP on that street we would watch endlessly as one person after another got pulled over.

I don’t know how much of it was Sullivan Street and how much of it was that I was young and hadn’t learned proper speed control. I did periodically get tickets on other streets, but it was pretty rare.

Sheila chimed in:

I haven’t had any tickets since I bought a four-door sedan and moved a few miles from work.

I wonder if there is something to the 4-door sedan thing. Cause the car I got in the most trouble it was a red car, which are supposed to be bad. I didn’t generally speed as much in that car as in others, though. The worst car was my grandmother’s car, The Trawler. That car drove very comfortable at rather high speeds and no cruise control. After a back-to-back car accident and ticket, my folks threatened to put me back in The Trawler, which I told them would be fine (I wasn’t particularly deserving of generosity at that point) but that I was more at risk in that car than any other. The thing is… I never once got a ticket in The Trawler. Not once. The fact that the car was a land barge and older than I was and a granny’s car in more than just the sense my grandmother gave it to me is probably not a coincidence.

Right now we live on a street with a 15mph speed limit that is almost certainly going to get us a ticket at some point. It’s a school zone, but the speed limit doesn’t have school hours (and extends way, way beyond the school) so you can be driving at 3 in the morning and still get a serious ticket. I find that I avoid the street as best I can. Not because I can’t stand going 15mph, but because my internal speedometer doesn’t register appropriate speeds below 20 or 25 at all. It could become my new Sullivan Street, though I don’t know how vigorously the School Zone limit is enforced off-hours.

Anyhow, I am not really a member of the chorus because I am constantly getting tickets. I talk about it more than I get them. I think it’s one of those internal justice things. Part of the time I dismiss ticket machines as a sort of road tax. The other part of the time I get annoyed because sometimes (not always, but sometimes) something under the guise of public safety is serving something else.

Category: Courthouse, Road

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11 Responses to The Granmobile Shield

  1. Mike Hunt says:

    Stop being such a lead-foot, Jimmie…

    And get off my lawn…

    And get a haircut, hippie…

  2. David Alexander says:

    You guys seem to get one a week. Slow down, you Mad Max wannabes.

    As somebody who enjoyed his drive on the Autobahn and maxed out his rented car’s maximum speed at 119 mph, I think it’s a bit harder for some of us to slow down…

    I wonder if there is something to the 4-door sedan thing.

    FWIW, I started driving in 2001, and I managed to stay ticket free until 2006 when I managed two speeding tickets within thirty days. Coincidentally, that was the same time I started driving the current 1999 Saturn SL2 sedan that I still own to this day. The odd part was that the summer before the speeding tickets had at least three instances of near or at 100 mph driving which given the speed limits around here (55 mph blanket) can be considered “reckless driving”. Mind you, while we have speed traps, enforcement on Long Island tends to be very inconsistent on the highway and nearly non-existent on most major roads.

  3. web says:

    The problem I see with the behavior of cops in traffic stops, and more broadly in the involvement of cops in any revenue-generation at all, is that it incentivizes lying and false charges by the cops.

    Any cop who files a couple tickets just once to “make quota” is that much more likely to do it again. Any cop told by their supervisors to do “whatever it takes”, or threatened with a loss of overtime pay or other negative consequences for failing to “make quota”, is going down that slope.

    Since cops start on traffic duty and work their way up, this means that they are trained from the start to write fraudulent tickets. The steady wearing down of any honest cops (if any still exist, a troubling thought based on police reports from across the nation, including the savage beatings and arrests/harrassment of people whose only “crime” was taping the cops in action) does nothing for society, and certainly does nothing to make the public feel any safer.

  4. trumwill says:

    I think the vast majority of traffic stops are legitimate. There are all kinds of people out there (intentionally and unintentionally) breaking traffic law. I think where I get most agitated is when in a land where catching speeders and stop-sign runners is like shooting fish in a barrel, they nonetheless “cheat”. I don’t see people getting pulled over for no good reason very often, though. It usually takes the form of carefully placed speed limit markers, extreme fluctuations in speed limits with a cop right behind the 40mph drop, and things like that.

    The unfortunate result of things like this is that it leads me not to trust them when they have a good case for safety issues. There is no reason I ought to oppose red light cameras, and yet I do. Not because I think people should be free to run red lights, but because of official conduct when putting them up. The shortening of the yellow lights and collecting money mostly on the least dangerous red-light running (the “deep orange runners”). If they could convince me that they really worried about safety by, say, lengthening yellow lights or giving a second of clearance so that it’s the really bad people that are getting ticketed, I would totally be on board.

    But their motives are what they are and I think it just ends up being way too tempting to not collect the money on the table if they just tweak things a little bit.

    Same sort of thing for drug property forfeiture laws. No problem with it in theory, but boy it becomes tempting to do bad things when that kind of money is on the line.

  5. Kirk says:

    Since cops start on traffic duty and work their way up, this means that they are trained from the start to write fraudulent tickets.

    Okay…but, why haven’t I been given any?

  6. trumwill says:

    How much time do you spend on the road? I ask because it’s a dynamic between Clancy and I that she is the impatient driver that strategically speeds and I rarely conciously go more than 5mph over the speed limit and yet I get tickets and she doesn’t. There are a couple of reasons for this, one of which is that I spend *a lot* more time on the road than she does. The other is that she is a conscientious speeder and I am an unconscientious not-speeder (or less-speeder) and since she is fully aware of what the speed limit is and how fast she is going, she knows when to slow down. I get nailed when I either don’t know the speed limit or don’t know how fast I am going.

    Some states are worse than others. Maybe Delosa is worse than Florida?

  7. David Alexander says:

    Since cops start on traffic duty and work their way up, this means that they are trained from the start to write fraudulent tickets.

    That’s an interesting contrast given that up here, the big local police forces have new cops starting off in “bad” neighbourhoods on a patrol beat. Besides, the “easy” money comes from watching people run red lights and parking illegally, not speeding.

  8. trumwill says:

    I think I imagine that in NYC it’s actually going to be pretty hard to speed a lot of the time due to traffic. The Colosse PD does most of its traffic enforcement in the suburban areas that are nonetheless within city limits. In the city itself, it’s mostly red lights, stop signs, and the like. That’s my experience, anyway. Of course, Delosa has several layers of cops. The county and county-precinct level cops have jurisdiction over the entire county regardless of what municipality you’re in. Both mainly hang around the unincorporated areas, though.

    In Phillippi, the only police department I have significant knowledge of the inner-workings of, traffic duty was available to anyone who wanted overtime. Basically, you volunteered for it and would get stationed on Sullivan Street or something like it and made time-and-a-half paid for the obvious way.

    The Oakwood PD (which handled East Oak and West Oak, the former being the tiny municipality I was raised in) didn’t seem to have specific traffic duty, but rather they drove around a lot and used the substantial downtime and artificially low* speed limits to generate revenue.

    * – This isn’t just my assessment. Portions were in violation of state law, which says that speed limits can’t be below 30mph unless certain traffic studies are done. East Oak set the speed limits at 20mph anyway. In-the-know relatives knew that they could challenge the ticket on this basis (the trick is knowing if you were pulled over in one of the applicable areas). Generally speaking, though, you would get off with a warning if you were a resident. They targeted non-residents, which was easily noticeable because they don’t have the flood stickers**.

    ** – Flood stickers are what is used by municipalities that are near the water. I’m not precisely sure what they were for, but I think it had to do with getting back into town after a flood or being able to drive around town during a voluntary evacuation.

  9. Maria says:

    The first and last speeding tickets I ever got were in 1988. I got two that year, and had to go to traffic school. Real traffic school, not the online kind. It was boring.

    Never had another one.

  10. Abel says:

    I’ve been driving since ‘90 and have never had a ticket. You guys seem to get one a week. Slow down, you Mad Max wannabes.

  11. David Alexander says:

    FWIW, out here in Nassau County*, outside of the North Shore towns with village-level enforcement and the highways, there’s very little speed enforcement. In a neighbourhood near my old home, people used to routinely do twenty to thirty miles over the speed limit in front of the police station, and near me, it’s pretty common to see people doing the same thing on main roads. The State Police don’t venture off the highways, nor does the Nassau County Police Department’s Highway Patrol, and the local cops have better things to do.

    *Peter probably knows more about Suffolk County, and New Jersey is basically one giant speed trap, especially off the Turnpike.

    I think I imagine that in NYC it’s actually going to be pretty hard to speed a lot of the time due to traffic.

    You’d be pleasantly surprised. As I’ve noted, NYC isn’t just Manhattan or even Brooklyn, but includes areas that have far lower densities. One can easily hit speeds of up to 100 mph on a few highways outside of the peak, and 40 to 45 mph on certain streets if the signals have been timed. I don’t know about Staten Island, but off the highways in Queens, speed enforcement was rare except for a stretch of Francis Lewis Boulevard that had few lights and was right next to the highway patrol HQ for Queens.

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