Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Speeding Ticket in Texas?

This is Texas.  How does one ever get a speeding ticket in Texas?  This State will apply a 75 MPH speed limit to any road that it can.  You rarely see a cop out on the road.  Can our car really do more than 75 MPH?  Well it wasn’t a ticket in a 75 MPH zone and it was in a town with local police notorious for speed traps.  And worst of all, we had been warned not to get snared in this particular speed trap.

We were on our way for a day trip to South Padre Island.  Our friend John here had warned us a week ago that somewhere down here there is a town famous (or infamous) for its speed traps and ticket writing.  Unfortunately, we didn’t process that information adequately.  We were passing through the little town of Los Fresnos.  As we were well beyond the town we saw a patrol car with its lights flashing ahead of us pulled over on the shoulder behind another car.  Gary moved left a lane and in checking his mirrors saw another set of police lights coming from way back.  He remarked that maybe it was coming as backup for the other officer we already had passed.  But he sailed right on by the other officer so Gary pulled off the road on to the should to let him go by unabated.  But he didn’t go by.  He stopped on the shoulder immediately behind………..US.  So, we are thinking, did we have a taillight out or some other equipment problem.  The officer comes up and asks for license and registration and Gary asks why were were pulled over.  The officer says “I clocked you doing 43 in a 30”.  What?  We don’t speed, we were slowed down in the town, we were just following the flow of traffic like we always do.  Oops.  We remember that somewhere back there we came up in the right of two eastbound lanes behind an extremely slow moving pickup truck with the driver talking on his cell phone.  He was going so slow that Gary moved over and went around him, but as Gary saw that there was traffic coming up in that second lane he did a quicker pass and moved right back into the right lane in front of the truck.  It must have been at that very instant that we were clocked.  Gary explained and explained.  He begged and begged.  But as this was all a part of an ongoing, notorious, speed trap, revenue-raising operation, there wasn’t going to be just a warning or even a reduction in the reported speed.  The officer assured us he had a picture of our car with the speed reading right underneath it that he would show the judge.  And he didn’t even have to “write” a ticket.  He had a fully automated ticket generating machine in his car with a little handheld unit he carried to and from our car.  He just entered our license plate number, swiped the drivers license, and typed in just a few bits of info and out came a beautifully printed  traffic citation.  This type of revenue raising speed trap operation isn’t really much welcome to drivers anywhere, but again –THIS IS TEXAS.

But there is one saving grace.  It appears that here in Texas, Gary can agree to take an online defensive driving course and upon completion, the “points” will be taken off his record; but, of course that will be after he has paid the fine and related costs.

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