Traffic Fines Gone Wild?

How many of you spot a police officer, of any uniform, and feel a sense of trepidation more than a sense of relief? Let’s say you’re driving on the freeway, at a comfortable 64 miles per hour, and you see a California Highway Patrol officer sitting on the side of the freeway. Engine on. Radar gun┬átargeted. What do you do?

If you’re anything like the majority of the population, you ease off the gas pedal, even though you were already traveling under the speed limit. You may even tap your brakes slightly our of a “slow down” reflex. Why is that? Are we more scared of the CHP and other law enforcement than we should be? Shouldn’t you feel safety and security as opposed to fear?

It is in my mind that officers these days are substantially more worried about being a California Highway Ticketing System than they are a patrol unit. Allow me to give you two examples:

  1. I was in court watching a man defend himself for being given a ticket for driving around a cluster of vehicles in the far-right lane. The vehicles were completely stopped in a cluster, which would typically indicate that there was an accident. He utilized, completely safely, the right-hand shoulder to move around the vehicles at a slow pace. However because he had all 4 wheels of his minivan off of the freeway to engage in this maneuver, he was given a traffic ticket by a parked CHP officer 100 yards away. An officer that would rather sit and snipe at his prey than to assist in a poor traffic environment.
  2. I received a ticket myself for occupying the diamond-lane. I was driving in lane #2, the left-most non carpool lane, going to work in the morning. I came upon an accident covering lanes #2-3. Instead of merging twice to the right to go around the accident, I merged one lane to the left, into the carpool, and back into the normal traffic lane once I had passed the accident. It was 2 minutes later that I was then pulled over by a CHP officer, who would rather write $1000 tickets than to clear an accident off of the freeway. My intention is only to get to work safely and in a reasonable amount of time, so that I may pay taxes which go into your paycheck, sir. Thank you for instilling the belief that you are “out to get me” rather than the statement that you are here to “serve & protect”.

I feel that my justification in this is solidified by increasing fines given out by the traffic court system over the past several years. While fines may start out at a meager $30, the addition of more fines and fees of the court system ups fines to a nominal $494 to a $620+ range. And that’s for any speeding or other minor traffic violation which could have designated a patrol or city police officer’s to substantially better use. Is it not enough that my taxes increase to pay for city “services” such as the ability to fine citizens?