Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Posted speed limit

In November of 2012 I was pulled over by a Deputy in Greene County, Va for speeding. According to this nice officer, I was doing 70 in a 55 mile per-hour zone. After an initial continuance in December, my case comes up tomorrow at 930am. I have been thinking long and hard as to what my plea is going to be in regards to this and several things have gone through my head. I could plead guilty, be fined and lose a few points on my license. Or, I could plead not guilty and try to argue my case and hope that I can get the penalty lowered and not lose points on my license.
If I plead guilty, not only do I have to pay a fine and lose points, but my insurance rate goes up and even though I just "saved a bunch of money by switching to Geico" I still pay more than I did when I was with USAA for the past few years and I really don't want to, nor can I afford to, spend more money on my car insurance. Plus, after many years of driving emergency vehicles, I don't feel as though my little moment of speed should result in so many penalties after I spent so many years racing to get to emergencies and dodging other motorists and pedestrians, "safe speeding" put no one else in any danger and was just a momentary oops on my part.
Now, if I plead innocent, I then have to argue my case to the judge and hope that I can make him see the situation from my point of view and levy a lesser penalty or the illusion dismissal upon me. One of the points that I plan to use in my argument is my MS. Hear me out here. I have muscle spasms that are mostly unable to be controlled by me. Usually in the morning I take several medications that are designed to minimize my spasms and return me to a quasi level of control over my movements. On this particular morning, as happens many mornings, when I attempted to take the gambit of pills, my body worked against me and I vomited. I have always had some trouble taking pills ever since I was just a wee little lad, and sometimes even in adulthood I continue to have trouble. As a matter of fact, this morning was the same and I was not able to take any of my daily meds until this afternoon and had to take one and wait before attempting to take any of the others. Due to not being able to take any of the drugs that work to control my involuntary spasms that day, I may have had a spasm resulting in me pressing the accelerator thus causing me to go faster than the posted speed limit. So, Your Honor, please issue the ticket to my brain and central nervous system since they are clearly the culprit here and the rest of me should not be held responsible for their poor actions.
Now that I have mentioned the "posted speed limit" I must take issue with that as well. The sign on the road merely states "speed limit" and does not indicate to the driver whether that is a minimum or maximum speed limit. Judging by the other drivers on the roadway, I take it that the signs are merely stating what the minimum speed on the roadway is. I mean, if it were the maximum speed limit, then people would not be able to safely maneuver that roadway at a higher speed, correct? And in contrast, if it were a minimum speed limit, then the old lady driving 15 m.p.h under the speed limit should have been issued a ticket for impeding traffic and creating an unsafe situation for all of us by preventing the continuous flow of traffic and the safe minimum speed.
I drive the same stretch of road everyday since there is only one route from my house to Charlottesville, Va. Since I was issued the ticket, I pay close attention to every speed limit sign that I pass on my route, and not a single one indicates as to whether the speed posted is the minimum or maximum speed for that stretch of road. I have seen signs before in other locations that state "Maximum Safe Speed Limit of __ m.p.h," but have yet to see on on my route to indicate this. To assume one of the other would, as they say, "make an ass out of you and me." I make an ass out of myself enough, I don't need to do so in the eyes of so many other travelers by assuming that the speed posted is the minimum or maximum speed that I should travel at. The Department of Transportation knows the safe travel speed of the roads, and they should be required to inform travelers of those routes as to what the safest maximum speed is. I mean, the Audobaun doesn't have signage that say "travel between 30k.p.h and 150 k.p.h. next 50kM." Hell, they lay the road, and it is up to you to know how safely you can travel and at what speed you can safely do so.
So, who is responsible for my speeding infraction? Do I blame my disease that can occasionally cause my leg to force the accelerator to increase my speed when I don't want it to and normally have my cruise control engaged to prevent such incidents? Or do I blame the DOT for not indicating whether the posted speed limit is the slowest or fastest that I should travel on that particular stretch of road? I guess the Judge will have to be the "judge" of this one and I hope that my argument is a convincing one. Either way, it will be another lesson learned in my life, or at least something like it..


  1. I wouldn't blame your disease. They may turn it around and say you are unsafe behind the wheel & require you to get hand controls.

    Hard to beat Johnnie Law.
    Good luck. (If you need a cake with a hidden file, just let me know.)

  2. Thankfully no jail time, but a little fine. The judge told me that next time I need to tell the officer when I get pulled over that I have a medical condition and that would change the entire situation. I replied that the last time I checked arguing your case on the side of the road isn't the proper venue and that is what the courtroom is for. Still found me guilty. What can ya do...

  3. I think that the funniest part of this is that my 13 year old daughter Jennifer read this blog entry and her only words to me were: "NO stop it." lol... Gotta love when even my little one tells me to give it up and accept my mistake and punishment. It actually made me very proud of her!