December 30, 2008

Well, There Goes My 'Perfect' Driving Record!

One of the bullets in my theoretical real-world resume for the better part of the last two decades has been that my driving record is spotless. No tickets. No accidents. I've never hit anyone and they've never hit me. I'd practically felt invincible. For whatever reason, through 15 years of being a licensed motorist, I've never had any points added to my record. I've never had a moving violation, or attracted much more than a warning from a police officer.

That line is going to have to change, because last night, I got pulled over for speeding, and sure enough, I got a real citation which I doubt I'll be able to contest and get out of.

The incident put an ugly exclamation point on what otherwise was a solid and enjoyable week and a half off from the office, punctuated by visits with extended family, many of whom I hadn't seen for years. But lingering behind late yesterday, while needing to get into work early today, likely put extra pressure to get home quickly. Starting the two-hour drive back to the Bay Area last night around 10:30 at night, we had open freeway for the most part, and were soon cruising around 80 miles an hour, with traffic, occasionally going a bit higher.

It's that "a bit higher" which no doubt attracted the attention of the highway patrol. As has happened hundreds of times before, I saw the patrol car alongside the freeway, lights off, waiting for its next victim. But I probably saw it too late, or didn't slow enough to make the officer happy. As the patrol car fell into my rear view mirror, his lights came on, and though I changed lanes to let him go by (hopefully), he chose instead to follow me, and ask me to pull over. Matthew and Sarah, asleep in their car seats, didn't notice.

So after 11 p.m., when most people are in bed, or at least thinking about it, I was left telling this officer that yes, I had seen his car, and yes, I understood I had been going faster than the marked limit of 65. I said I had been doing 80, and he countered with 89. What can you do? He probably was right, at that moment in time. On a clear night with little traffic, the car is certainly capable. That I was driving the Toyota Rav-4, which doesn't look like an old clunker, like practically every other car I've ever owned, probably had something to do with my not sliding by this time as well.

So he wrote me up and I'm getting a citation. All my "Yes sir"s and "No sir"s in the world, and the lack of alcohol or anything else exciting weren't enough to get me out of it. So now, I have to live with the fact not that I'm a law-breaker... but that I finally got caught. Dang.

See Also:
California's New Sport: Balancing the Cell Phone Below the Dashboard
Web Robin:
Police: Was Louis Driving Drunk Friday?