September 28, 2007

Speeding Ticket? In a Fit?!

I have not had a single entry in my driving record for over 6 or 7 years, but today the streak was ended.

I had crossed the Peach Arch Crossing into Blaine, WA in the morning, on my way down to visit a friend from high school and her new daughter in Renton for a couple of days. I planned to stop by a mail receiving company on the way down as I had ordered some motorcycle gear online in the US, and took advantage of their free shipping within the US offer. However, because I got to the border so early trying to avoid the lineup, The depot wasn't opened yet. So I drove down further and had some breakfast before coming back on the local surface street to pick up my items.

There was a school zone on the street, and so I slowed and follow a couple of cars along the street before they turned off a side street to stop and drop off their kids. As soon as they turned off, I saw the cruiser parked in the school's driveway at the end. I had already slowed down, and was following two other cars through most of the school zone. But I checked my speed anyways. Unfortunately for me, it took me a while to figure out my actual speed because my car's main dial is in KM/H, and the much smaller, and indigo-on-blue MPH markings were difficult to read in the morning light. Sure enough, as I was passing the pullout at the end of the school, the cruiser had put its lights on and was pulling out behind me.

When asked why I was speeding, I tried to explain that it was difficult for me to read the numbers on the gauge. The officer took a look and said that he could read it perfectly even from outside of the car. I don't think he understood I was talking about the MPH markings, but I'm not gonna argue at that point, and I'm not going to bother saying I had followed the two other vehicles (local, Washington plates) through most of the school zone already. He took my license and registration, and came back with a VERY HEFTY fine for speeding in a school zone.

Oh well. I suppose I was speeding, so I'll get a US Dollar bank draft and pay the ticket. But when I mentioned the fine to my friend in Renton, he said it was quite excessive. But since the officer knows very well I'm not likely to get a court date and wait at the border just to get my fine reduced in court, he probably tacked on the maximum fine. So, all the money saved buying my gear in the US versus locally, has gone out the window (and then some).

I'd like to think I'm a safe driver. And my driving record shows it. I wonder if the officer had access to my driving record in BC, and saw my clean record, maybe he would have cut me some slack?

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