December 29, 2011
Here I am, during my 9th day of Christmas break and what am I doing? Taking an online course in Traffic School! What a bummer! I'd rather be shopping, watching a movie, getting a pedi, sleeping, or doing anything besides this. First of all, shame on that cop for hiding on Casey Drive, catching drivers doing a rolling stop. Wtf? He should be out there catching real violators cutting people off, speeding, etc. Nobody else was there on the road, not even a pedestrian, other than myself! When his lights came on, I was puzzled as hell. Of course he had to pull me over on Junipero Serra where everybody and their uncle could see me! I hate that. I politely asked him what I did wrong and he just answered "Drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance please". Pulled everything out but was having trouble finding my insurance card. I tried to talk him out of giving me a citation but I figured my first question to him blew it completely. You're supposed to admit your error and promise not to do it again and be more careful the next time, smarty pants! I always figure things out after the fact. Dumb ass me!
Anyway, he told me to continue looking for my insurance card and hold it up outside my window while he was back there writing up my citation. When I finally found it, he walks up to me and hands me the ticket marked "Failure to stop completely at a stop sign and no proof of car insurance". He then scratches off the 2nd charge. Man, you must be way below your quota for the day, huh?
I told him that I thought I made a complete stop (well, sorta, like a nano second) and he invited me to come to his car and view the whole thing which he got on tape. Do I really want to get out of my car and watch this so everyone driving past Junipero Serra could see me? I'm such a nut for even being concerned about this. Instead, I said "Never mind", knowing that I'd lose anyway. Who is the judge going to believe at this point? Me or the officer?
This happened back in October. The penalty is $265. Had he written a citation for not having proof of insurance even if I were to provide proof at a later date, I would still have to pay $20 processing fee. What an absolute rip off on all of the above! I just look at it as a very generous donation to the city where I live.
I can't count how many tickets I have accumulated since I have started driving about 36 years ago. As a matter of fact, I got my first speeding ticket just one week after my drivers license arrived in the mail. I tried to beat a red light when the cop stopped me for speeding. I never told my parents about the ticket and just paid for it myself, figuring they'll never find out. Several months later, mom came home from the insurance company's office announcing that our insurance rates went up because of my speeding ticket which she found out eventually. I didn't know about traffic school at that time. Back then, you can just attend traffic school and the fees would be waived and cleared from your record. Now, you must attend traffic school and pay the penalty. Everybody wants your money.
Over a year ago, I was driving on El Camino when I noticed the cameras flashed on me. Didn't think much of it since I knew I didn't do anything wrong. About 2 weeks later, I got a citation in the mail with a picture of me behind the wheel. It said I did not make a full stop before making a right turn on a 4 way intersection. The penalty was around $400+. I was furious! I knew I made a stop but according to their calculations, I only made a stop in a nano second. But there was no oncoming vehicle at that time! Now, they've got cameras everywhere on top of cops to get you for any moving violation. Who the hell thought of this idea? Must be a millionaire by now. Why couldn't I have thought of that?
Anyway, I paid our local courthouse a visit to settle the ticket and of course, the line was so damn long. Imagine my surprise when the clerk took one look at my ticket and informed me that the case has been dismissed. I said "what? are you sure?" She replied, "case has been dismissed. You can go now." I thought I was the luckiest girl on the planet! A few days later, it appeared in the news that the cameras installed in certain parts of our city did not have the proper permits, therefore, any moving violations caught on camera were all dismissed between a certain period. Woo hoo! I was elated! The law indicates that you are eligible to attend traffic school if your last moving violation is no more than 18 months. My luck. Between that camera violation and not making a full stop last October, that would be exactly 18 months. However, I don't think the camera violation would count since it got dismissed.
To make a long story short (well, not quite since this is practically a novel), I finally finished my online traffic school in what? 3-4 days? And the due date is Jan 9. Now I'm forced to request a rush handling with Fed Ex delivery which is going to cost me an extra $25. So the total cost of this moving violation has gone up to $346! Hmmmm, what could I have bought for $346?
A new handbag
3.5 months of groceries
My monthly car/property insurance
1 month of gas bill for 3 cars
A ton of new clothes
The list goes on and on. Everyday, when I drive pass that stop sign where that cop caught me, I make sure I make a full stop and look left to see if there's a cop hiding in the side street. Sometimes, I forget and make a semi rolling stop and then I stop once more after the fact, just to make sure there's no one out there spying on me. I wonder if they can still stop you for doing that?
So, my traffic school certificate arrived via Fed Ex on Jan 5 and I made the last minute trip to the courthouse on Fri, Jan 6 to turn it in before the due date of Mon, Jan 9. Shame on me. Had I missed the due date, the moving violation would show up on my DMV record and my insurance would be affected. All on top of paying $346. That's even worse. At my age, I should know better to be a more responsible law abiding driver. Shame on me again! Happy New Year to y'all and don't forget to make a FULL STOP the next time you run into one of these signs!