Back in May of this year I was having a heated, excited conversation with my son while trying to drive in Halifax. With my attention on the subject at hand, instead of the road and the rules governing said road, I got pulled over for speeding. The infraction was enough to cause a temporary suspension of my license and many points off my record but I was given a break. Failed to heed a posted sign, or something like that. The fine was still pretty hefty. At the time the whole ordeal barely registered with me. We were getting ready to embark on the adventure of our lives, going on a Caribbean Cruise. I just couldn’t fathom the situation and put it aside as something to deal with later. And I did.
Lesson #1 learned: Always, ALWAYS pay attention to the road and to your driving, NO MATTER WHAT! I think this is the one lesson that really pisses me off. Over my lifetime so far I have driven a lot. I see things on a daily basis that shock me. I actually look at my driving and see how I can improve it compared to what I see out there being perpetrated by people who shouldn’t even be behind the wheel of a vehicle. I see incorrect lane changes, no signals, people talking on their phones, the list just goes on and on and is different every day. I try to learn from their mistakes and bad habits, yet here I was caught not paying attention.
So I’m looking at my ticket. My name, address, vehicle info, wait…! The vehicle listed is not mine. The Cop put the wrong vehicle down. My truck is not a Ford F150, its a Ford Explorer Sport Track. Very different vehicles. The vehicle permit even lists it as a Ford Explorer. Hey, I should be able to get off this ticket! I wait for the assigned court date thinking I could put it aside and be done with it. No, that’s not how it works in Nova Scotia. The assigned court date is simply a time to enter in your plea then a real court date is assigned, another 3 month wait.
Lesson #2 learned: Always seek legal advice even if for no other reason than to come up with a plan for defence, or at least have someone to discuss the situation with, neither of which I did or had access to.
I tried to impress upon the fact that the cop, even during his testimony was indicating my vehicle was an F150. I brought my vehicle permit with me as proof that it wasn’t an F150. The judge really didn’t care about that, which leads me to my third lesson learned.
Lesson #3 learned: Always stand your ground, be sure of every detail even if you don’t remember it and always pretend that its them against you and if you fail then you die and don’t think twice about throwing the cop under the bus. Never mind being honest or truthful, throw a little doubt into the cops ability to issue traffic tickets, or that he pulled over the wrong vehicle, anything goes! Of course I didn’t do that. I told them I was distracted and not paying attention to my speed instead of telling him that I was only doing 55kph and that he pulled over the wrong vehicle, he should have pulled over the white Ford F150 that was driving right beside me.
Lesson #4 learned: Good and honest guys always finish last, and in my case end up paying the fine. My brother in law told me how I should milk the system for everything its worth. Keep having the court date pushed back until the cop isn’t able to attend, anything to prolong the ordeal. I didn’t do that. I wasn’t patient enough. I hate having things like that hanging over my head. I want it done and dealt with but in my favour.
I think there was a miscarriage of justice here. There was technical testimony about the radar gun that I didn’t understand the meaning of and why it was even presented. How can it be decided that even though the vehicle listed was incorrect that I was the one speeding? The attorney asked me if I knew how fast I was going, I said I didn’t. Well that may have been my downfall right there, but at any one second during a drive, can anyone really state with ultimate surety the speed you were going? No, I don’t believe anyone can. I’m sure many do, but they aren’t sure. You can look down at your speedometer and see how fast you’re going but can you tell someone how fast you were going when that blue car drove past you? I doubt it.
See how my lessons learned actually transpired in about 2 minutes of testimony? I knew as soon as I walked out of there that I should have lied about how fast I thought I was going. Or that it was the other white F150 driving beside me was the one that should have been pulled over, not me.
Am I pissed off about having to pay the fine, hell ya. Am I bitter about it all, Oh ya. Has the whole ordeal jaded me? Definitely.