Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gas pedal blues

In mid-December I received a citation from a Revere police officer for going 42 mph in a 30 mph zone while approaching the Beachmont School. About one minute earlier, as I took the curve that leads into the straightaway that passes the marsh I thought to myself, "Slow down. There are often speed traps here." And seconds after slowing down, the thought drifted from my head until I saw the cop standing in the middle of the road waving me over. He grumbled at me, walked away and came back with a ticket.

Of course, it's not the heat that gets you, it's the humidity. In this case, the $120 are less troublesome than the insurance surcharge. (Is it still on my record for six year?) While my experience has been that hearings for speeding tickets result in a lower fine, the surcharge still sticks like a bur, and therefore taking a day off from work to save $60 or so doesn't seem worth it.

Today I went online to pay the infraction, and after going through all the motions I got an email that said the ticket information I entered was not on file and therefore I should call or go to the Registry. Now this is the stuff that makes one annoyed. I called and then waited 28 minutes on hold until someone handled my ticket. The Registry has made great strides in recent years, but there's no reason why the automated system can't tell me how long the average wait is. I would have called back another time if I knew I was going to spend half an hour listening to passionless music interrupted by a voice every minute thanking me for patience that I didn't have.

The officer, apparently, hasn't turned in the ticket yet. Maybe it should become void if he doesn't enter the information in a certain amount of time. Anyway, I know the moral: Don't speed. Yeah, but was a sunny day, the road was empty and it's a nice, open straightaway. I never felt like I was going too fast. I certainly wasn't driving dangerously. I do slow down on that stretch now, which I guess is the point, right?

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