A few years back I was pulled over for doing 21 in a 15mph school zone which resulted in a poorly written carbon copy of a ticket, which resulted in me shorting my fine payment by $0.50, which resulted in a bench warrant out for my arrest upon failure to pay, which resulted in my wife mailing fifty pennies to the magistrate with a scathing letter. Since then, I’ve tried to stay on the straight and narrow.
It only took six years to fall off the wagon.
Friday, I was driving home from work and immediately jumped onto 79 South because traffic was stacked from Robinson. Now, the “back way” as I call it is a 70 mile stretch of highway that follows 79 South to Washington where I jump onto 70 East towards New Stanton and then finish up with the Turnpike to Irwin. This takes about an hour, which is usually how long it takes me to go 35 miles from Robinson to Irwin by way of 376, 22, and any number of back roads to my house.
Driving on 79 isn’t bad, but 70 is like driving the DC Beltway during rush hour. Once I get to the turnpike, I find my happy place and just kind of cruise home. Unfortunately, I was apparently cruising a little too much and the State Trooper parked about a mile away from the Irwin exit pulled me over.
Now, I must preface this by saying I am currently driving a 2005 Malibu Maxx wagon with 80,000+ miles on it. I could see myself doing 75 mph in it, easily. That’s pretty standard. However, the officer stated I was doing 90.
“90!?!?!?” I asked.
“Yes.” He replied.
“90!?!?!?” I asked again.
"Would you like to look at it on the dash cam?” He offered.
I got out of the car and walked back to him while he collected my ID and registration. “See there, the number on the left represents all of the cars passing by.” It read 60, 62, 61, etc. Well, of course it did. Everyone sees the flashing lights and has slowed down under the speed limit. “The number on the right is you.” It showed 90.
He also said, because I was out there all alone, I was the only one being clocked at that instant. "Had you been driving alongside someone, I probably wouldn't have bothered." (paraphrased) This goes along with some old advice I got from a State Trooper in 1995 who informed me that he wouldn't have pulled me over for doing between 1-15mph over the speed limit. I was doing 71 in a 55 at the time. I was also driving an 84 Pontiac Firebird, a far cry from the family truckster I drive now.
Now, he says the machine is calibrated. Of course it is. My car is calibrated, too. When I get up over 80mph, it shakes. Therefore, if I am cruising along on the highway and doing 90mph, I would not be able to drive with one hand on the wheel, which is what I was doing. Still, I conceded that he had a calibrated radar and I maintained that my car does not drive smoothly at 90mph. I agreed to disagree.
I dropped my payment in the mail. I sent a check this time…not 11100 pennies.