I am a reformed speeder. When I got my first vehicle, around 19, Iíll admit I drove fast. Frequently around twenty miles over the limit. Three speeding tickets later, I was a bit wary of speeding. My father told me to stay nine miles over the limit. You wonít get pulled over then.
So, I did. I watched my speed. I never went more than ten miles over the limit whenever I drove. And it worked. After my last ticket, I was never pulled over again. I started realizing that traffic officers were just doing their job. If I grossly violated the speed limit as I did, I deserved to get ticketed.
That is, until one Sunday night. I was on 490 west coming home from my girlfriendís. I see a car on the side of the road pulled over. I slow down to 55, wait til I get a little bit further up the road and speed back up to 65. Just then, I see a cop in the rearview mirror. I slow down. He turns his lights on and pulls me over.
ďDo you know why I pulled you over?Ē ďYeah, I was going a little too fast and my front right headlight is out.Ē Yeah, Iíll admit it was out at the time; I was made aware of it the previous weekend and hadnít gotten a chance to take care of it. The officer then takes my license and goes back to his car. He then writes me not one, but TWO tickets. One for my headlight, and one for speeding.
So letís take a good hard look at this event. Now I didnít see any cops after the one I saw that was pulled over, so Iíd say itís a pretty safe bet that the same officer who pulled over the other car pulled me over. Making that assumption, the officer never saw the front of my car except when I drove past the other vehicle. Furthermore, I was pulled over within a mile of that spot. What does all this mean? That the officer saw my car go past and targeted me as soon as it happened. He immediately sped up to catch up to me and pulled me over. As speeding wasnít the initial issue (I was going 55 as I passed him) the officer probably assumed I would speed up a bit, as pretty much everyone drives faster than the speed limit on 490.
So, letís assume that what I described in the previous paragraph is what happened. What seems to be the officerís motive for pulling me over was for the sake of being able to ticket me for two things. So now we have to ask ourselves, why would a police officer be motivated to do that? Well that would seem to indicate that it behooves the officer to write a larger quantity of traffic violations. This seems to be quite accurate considering the fact that he had just pulled another vehicle over. So assuming thatís the case, why is that?
Looking at the letter of the law, you may very well state that I broke it. The speed limit clearly reads 55. A car that only has one headlight would fail inspection. This is true. Where I take issue with that is the following: If youíve driven on 490, whatís the average speed of traffic? Is it 55? And when you drive at night, how often do you see a car with one headlight?
Another thing that concerns me: the implied Ďsafeí driving speed. Almost no one drives the speed limit on 490, or any of the roads around here. Those who do get honked at, or elicit anger from those stuck behind you. So how fast is too fast? I used to think it was around ten miles an hour more. I did just that for 5 years and I wasnít ticketed. But Iím obviously wrong.
Taking everything Iíve said into consideration, Iíve reached basically one conclusion: cops are assholes. Their goals are not Ďto protect and serveí the well-being of society. Their goals are Ďto protect and serveí their own selfish ends. What ends those are, I cannot say, as I donít work in the police force. Perhaps the town of Brighton needs more funding? Perhaps cops want to assert their authority more over the city? Perhaps some other reason? Who knows.
Prior to this incident, I respected the police force. I believed they were in place to protect the law. I guess was just being naÔve.