Photo from AutoBlog
On my way home from work on Wednesday afternoon, I was frustrated by an extremely slow semi truck. As I took my usual route down Dean Martin Drive (a road formerly known as Industrial Road), I was slowed to a crawl by a big rig pulling out of the truck stop at Blue Diamond Road. For some reason, they pull out of there (usually heedless of traffic in either direction) going about five miles per hour, and do not pick up speed unless the light is green at the intersection. They block the southbound traffic, until the last possible minute, and then (almost always) get into the left turn lane.
This is predictable (if baffling), so I don't know why I was so annoyed by it. Probably because I'd been delayed at work, and had to stay three hours past everyone else, in order to complete my work before going on vacation. Anyway, due to my annoyance, I was ready to hit the gas pedal, and just go. Big mistake.
Dean Martin Drive is 45 miles per hour over much of its lengthy course (Martin got a much longer stretch of road than Frank Sinatra or Wayne Newton here in Las Vegas). But beginning at the truck stop, and stretching a block or so around Silverton Lodge and Casino, the road slows to 35. Silly me, I wasn't paying attention. So, going 46 miles per hour, I was pulled over by one of Las Vegas Metro's finest, yards away from the magic 45 transition. I sat there off the road, staring at the 45 MPH sign, waiting for Mr. Copolice man to come to my window.
He wasn't unpleasant exactly, though he was a bit curt. The weather was brisk, the sky gray, and threatening rain. He'd been waiting on a side road, probably picking his spot strategically, waiting for people who sped up a little to quickly, or didn't slow down soon enough. Outside of a badly timed right-turn-on-red, I haven't had a moving violation in the 14 years I've lived in Las Vegas. I've been driving the same 1998 Jeep Wrangler for over eight of those years. And most of the time, I've had my registration and proof of insurance right in the glove box where it belongs.
Not this time. I finally dug out the registration, but my insurance card was expired. Not the insurance itself, mind you, just the paper I had in the truck with me. So, the policeman cited me for speeding. He cited me for having my license sticker in the wrong location (I'd had seven years' worth of stickers on the right corner, and stuck this year's on the other side). And he cited me and The Other Half separately for not having proof of current insurance in the vehicle. It seems that though my title shows both names, my registration does not. Like that's my fault.
So, I'm not complaining that I'm not guilty. I was speeding. But I'm irritated that the policeman was lying in wait in a location where many people could make an honest mistake. I'm annoyed that I got a $190 fine for putting my sticker in the wrong corner (who knew that was illegal?). I'm annoyed that the officer couldn't call my insurance agent while checking everything else, to confirm my valid insurance. And I'm irked that there was no leniency for an almost spotless driving record on Christmas Eve.
All told, my fine is almost five hundred dollars. For going a speed that would have been legal 50 yards down the road. No one was in danger from my "reckless" speed. No public interest is served by fining me for putting a sticker 11 inches further left than dictated. My insurance is current, so ticketing me (and The Other Half) was unnecessary. But Mr. Man neglected to notice that I don't have a front license tag--and haven't had for eight years! So I guess I got a little over on him!