Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Got Pulled Over Today

I just found out that the new seat belt law that came into effect Monday night at midnight is now being enforced. Yikes! On my way to work this morning I came to a four-way stop-sign intersection. There was a State Trooper sitting in his cruiser on the shoulder of the road. I stopped at the sign, waited my turn, then proceeded through the intersection. Immediately he pulled out behind me, flashing lights and all, caught up with me and pulled me over. As he approached my vehical I rolled down my window and asked, “Did I do something wrong, officer?” He said, “You didn’t have your seat belt on.”

Pretty dumb of me, I thought. Not a safe way to drive… and now I’m facing a stupid ticket!

He asked me for my drivers’ license and proof of insurance. I handed the two cards to him and he said, “This insurance card is expired. Do you have another?” Now I’m digging deeper in my wallet and I find about six insurance cards…. that go all the way back to 2005… to a green Ford explore that we don’t even own any longer! When I found a card that was only one year old, I handed that one to him and said, “This is the most current one I have.”

By now I’m thinking of the movie “Dumb and Dumber” and I’m the main character. I’m in deep doo-daw and it’s getting deeper by the moment.

He sits in his car about fifteen minutes, doing a background check, or whatever it is that cops do when they’re sitting in their car behind you. I’m dying by now. All I can see are those flashing lights in my review mirror… and hoping to God that nobody I know comes driving by right now. I thinking, “What’s taking him so long? He must be writing three or four tickets – one for the seat belt, one for the expired insurance card, and two more for being dumb.”

He gets out of his cruiser and walks to my window. He says, “Your fine for the seat belt violation is $101. But I’m letting you go with a warning.” I said, “Thanks.” He went on to say, “However, the expired insurance card will cost you $10, and you will have to go to the courthouse and show them that you actually do have insurance. If you don’t do this within thirty days, the fine will jump from $10 to $100.” I said, “I have insurance and going to the courthouse won’t be a problem.” After that he let me go. “I got lucky,” I thought.

I pull back out and drive down to highway 90 to take care of some personal business. After I get though I drive back the same way I had just come from. As I approached the SAME intersection, but now from the opposite direction, this same State Trooper is sitting there in the same spot again. So I come to a complete stop, wait my turn and proceed through, ensuring my shoulder strap is pulled across my chest. As I drive by the State Trooper he recognizes me and waves. I wave back.

I learned two lessons today:
  • It’s time to clean out my wallet
  • And always wave at State Troopers

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