Monday, August 11, 2014

Casey Jones, You Better Watch Your Speed

I fought the law today, and the law won. Naturally. 

But I did get a chance to question an “automatic traffic enforcement unit” supervisor and engage in some byplay with nice-enough June Cleaverish judge whose legal career has awarded her realm over the county court dedicated to speed camera violations. 

Some people are outraged by abortion, some by the easy availability of guns, some by war. The single issue upon which I will vote for or against local candidates is the misuse of speed cameras (I am kind of.a okay with red light cameras, because running red lights does cause accidents.)  

As everyone knows, these cameras are set to enhance revenue for jurisdictions whose leaders are too chicken-shit to actually raise taxes. As I have told the several public officials I know, “Tax me, but don’t disguise the act as traffic enforcement.” 

The camera in question has nailed me in the past, so I naturally am somewhat careful on a heavily traveled road I have used approximately 3,000-4,000 times. I and the spousal unit have probably gotten a total of five speeding citations, which we have routinely paid because the county (and state) will not assign points or contact your insurance company, even though you are menace to life and limb. 

My questions and testimony dwelt on the fact that no matter how fast you may be going, the camera always records your violation at 12 miles above the artificially low posted speed. I asked the officer, “If I were going 100 mph, would the citation read 100 mph.” He replied with the “factual inexactitude, “Yes.” 

A similar road elsewhere in the county has 50 mph limit, and I learned from the judge and officer that these limits are set by community groups. Boy, would I like to get on one of those! I am against speeding. I am against reckless driving. I sometimes wish I had a James Bond car, or a Batmobile, that could evaporate offenders. But these cameras are placed on roads (especially hills) and in neighborhoods designed to scoop up money that would go uncollected if the violations were actually seen but not noted by an actual police officer. Of course the cameras are operated by a private company. 

There might have been 100 names on the list of cases, but only about 20 showed up for this morning’s court (the rest having paid already or decided to skip and wait till their registration renewal is denied.) 

I went, knowing what would happen, but I have time these days and I wanted at least the judge to hear the enmity that local government engenders it is driving public. A few other people, one a scientist, said her three tickets recorded at exactly the same speed “strained credulity.” (I think she had to pay only one of them.)  

The result was, for showing up with an oral excuse, that the $40 fine was cut to $20 plus court costs of $22.50. You do the math. Plus the $4 it cost to park. 

As a bonus to having the judge and other traffic miscreants hear my case (one of them congratulated me on my performance later on in the hall and I recalled Abbie Hoffman’s dictum that “In the halls of justice the only justice is in the halls) there was someone taking notes on every case on a reporter’s notepad. 

She is an “investigative producer” for a local station, which already did a piece on this abomination of justice – with the reporter doing the “standup” guess where – at “my” speed camera. I expect to contact her.
I may even start a political movement to rid the county of speed cameras and replace them with a rotation of actual cops, whose presence for one week at a given location, will reap benefits for months. What if such a movement of everyone at a given location going exactly the speed limit tied up commerce so badly that politicians had to listen? What about establishing "rolling roadblocks" on multilane highways at exactly the posted limit?

In the meantime, there are several liberal Democratic local officials – buccaneers – who will never get my vote because they smirk “Don’t speed” as they happily spend public money garnered in such dastardly fashion.

No comments:

Post a Comment