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Author Topic: Woman gets ticket for driving 2 mph under speed limit (in the left fast/passing lane)
cherrypoptart
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http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/woman-gets-ticket-driving-2-miles-per-hour-211957738.html

Woman gets ticket for driving 2 mph under speed limit

"A Maryland woman has gotten a very unusual speeding ticket for driving a mere two miles under the speed limit on Interstate 95.

Local NBC affiliate News4 reports that the woman, who asked to keep her name anonymous, was driving 63 miles per hour in a 65-mph zone. Police say the reason they ticketed her was that she was driving in the left lane reserved for speedier commuters.

"[I was] really shocked," she told the station. "I thought, 'Oh my God, you've got to be kidding me.'"

Of course, commuters who get annoyed by someone hogging the right lane might salute the move.

However, the woman noted the area was experiencing heavy winds at the time and she was only driving under the speed limit as a safety precaution. She also claimed to have never been ticketed before.

"Sometimes when it's dangerous, you have to do what you can to stay safe," she said.

She has one ally on her side: the local branch of AAA.

"The reason [the ticket] is silly is because it's sending the wrong message," said John Townsend of AAA Mid-Atlantic. "And that is, 'We will tolerate you driving at more than the speed limit, but it you drive below the speed limit, then you're penalized for that.'"

---------------------------------------------

It seems like this should be fun to argue about because the politics don't seem to apply as much as they might with other topics and people on both political sides may agree with one another while people on the same side may disagree.

Now we seem to have quite a few lawyers here so my first question would be as a matter of law, will this ticket stand up in court?

The AAA guy made an interesting point which seems to be about how safe it is really making things when the police seem to be encouraging speeding?

One question I have is if this ticket would have been just as valid under these circumstances even if she had been traveling at exactly the legal limit?

Now my opinion on first blush is that I don't think she should be given a ticket. I think as a matter of law the speed limit is the maximum speed and so if you are in the left lane traveling at the maximum speed there shouldn't be any legal obligation for you to pull in behind those traveling in the right lane at 40-55 mph and get stuck behind them for 10 miles and 15 minutes until you can get back into the left lane again to pass them at the legal speed limit.

Now that's my opinion as a matter of law but of course I don't drive like that as it would be crazy trying to obey the law in this case when so many others have absolutely no regard for it. So what is the law and what should it be? Will she get this ticket dismissed?

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cherrypoptart
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Maybe this would make a little more sense to me if they didn't have signs all along the road saying speed LIMIT but instead changed them to speed SUGGESTION. And then again maybe I take things too literally.
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DonaldD
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The ticket was for failing to keep right, not specifically for the speed. She probably will win the case, but this article completely misrepresents the reason for the ticket, and also seems to incorrectly paraphrase what the police actually said in this case.

Basically, it does what so many other ridiculous police/court stories seem to do: play fast and loose with facts in order to generate outrage.

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msquared
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I have seen alot of local interstates that have min speed limits on them as well, such as 40MPH.

In the old days, when my Dad was a kid in Kansas, the limit was called Safe and Sane. When you had miles and miles of straight flat road, the cops would not mind if you were moving at a speed that was appropriate for the conditions.

msquared

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
The ticket was for failing to keep right, not specifically for the speed. She probably will win the case, but this article completely misrepresents the reason for the ticket, and also seems to incorrectly paraphrase what the police actually said in this case.

Basically, it does what so many other ridiculous police/court stories seem to do: play fast and loose with facts in order to generate outrage.

Yeah, the exerpt doesn't make the status of the right lane at the time clear to me - if it was clear or if people were actively passing her on the irght then she very easily fell afoul of the laws that say "dirve right, pass left" and was represnting some degree of a safety hazard.

It's good that she was nominally trying to be safe, given the conditions, but part of that would involve moving to the right lane unless forced to use the left to pass.

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starLisa
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A ticket is good. Corporal punishment would have been better.
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NobleHunter
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Lisa, there's a writer for the Toronto Star who'd agree with you. I think he might even want to make dawdling in the left lane a felony [Razz]

My opinion (and damn the speed limit) is that you should be going fast enough that no-one is passing you on the right. Move right until this is true.

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starLisa
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We need a "like" graemlin.
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NobleHunter
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And few things are as annoying as being a passenger in a car that isn't going fast enough for the lane.

Unfortunately, pestering the driver to speed up or move right doesn't seem to help.

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scifibum
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I once spent several hours riding in a van, driven by my brother, where he stayed in the interstate passing lane the ENTIRE time. He had pegged the cruise control at the speed limit, and people were furiously passing on the right the whole time. I don't remember why I didn't pester him, but it might have been because I was fascinated and wanted to see how long it would go on.

Later I asked him why he didn't move over to the right, and he said he liked not catching up to anyone so he had plenty of clear space ahead of him in his lane.

[ March 13, 2013, 11:29 AM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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D.W.
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If the ticket was for -2mph it will be thrown out. If it was for the legitimate reason of improper use of the left lane... it will still likely be thrown out. As from what I've been told is the case for most contested tickets for minor infractions. [Smile]
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NobleHunter
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For minor infractions, the inconvenience of being pulled over is probably punishment enough. I know I don't budget my time for the possibility I get pulled over. So if I get a ticket, it means I'm gonna be late for something.
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D.W.
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Which is the same reasoning I've been told that most contested tickets are dismissed. The officer must take the time to show up and contest. If they don't show, which is often not worth their/the city's time to do so, ticket gets waived.

No clue if that's accurate or not or just wishful thinking.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Which is the same reasoning I've been told that most contested tickets are dismissed. The officer must take the time to show up and contest. If they don't show, which is often not worth their/the city's time to do so, ticket gets waived.

No clue if that's accurate or not or just wishful thinking.

Even if the officer does show up, odds are that unless you act extremely disrespectfully or have a long list or prior infractions, tickets will get reduced or dismissed.

(And generally the officer will show up. Your hearing will specifically be scheduled for a day that they're assigned to the courtroom to handle their cases.)

[ March 13, 2013, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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NobleHunter
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It's also why I think photo-radar traps and "aircraft patrolled" areas kinda miss the point.
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D.W.
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UAV speed traps! Now there's something I hadn't considered yet.
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NobleHunter
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I don't know if there are actually aircraft. There could just be signs.
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cherrypoptart
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It seems this bugs international drivers, especially European ones, even more than Americans. I can appreciate that especially on their roads where there isn't a speed limit at all.

But I guess the idea that any citizen in America has the right to travel in the passing lane at exactly the speed limit as a rolling blockade to enforce the speed limit against speeders is out along with any possibility of citizens making a citizens' arrest against speeders?

That's the funny thing about this to me is that everyone who likes the fact that someone like her would get a ticket for driving in the passing lane (if it's at the speed limit) is obviously breaking the law themselves by speeding. So we have a duty under the law to facilitate the ease of everyone else who is breaking the law and putting our lives in greater danger by doing so?

Now I know I probably stirred up a lot of hate just now so let me just reiterate that I do NOT drive like that. In many place it would be suicidal not just because of traffic accidents but even road rage. But I would support a law that says if you are going at exactly the speed limit you can drive in the left lane because there is no legal way for anyone to pass you. But I'm okay with the fact that most people will disagree with me as I'm sure everyone in my family except my mom does too, judging by the way they all drive.

----------------------------------------

Yes, the drones are probably coming soon. Maybe that will finally get people to slow down a little bit. I guess my beef is that there isn't a speed limit lane. You can choose the right lane and get stuck behind someone going 52 mph and not have the opportunity to pull into the left lane to pass them for 10 miles because everyone is going 80 there (in a 65), or you can go with the flow and risk a massive speeding ticket along with wasting an extra 10 gallons of gas a month which is about a $40 ticket right there regardless of whether or not the cops catch you. I'm surprised a little bit that they don't use the toll road auto pays yet to give out speeding tickets but maybe that's because it's a private company and they wouldn't get any revenue from a ticket like they do when you auto pay your tolls.

[ March 13, 2013, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: cherrypoptart ]

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Pete at Home
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"Yes, the drones are probably coming soon."

It's inevitable. Everything else that they made supposedly to fight terrorists has been coopted and twisted around to constrict the rights of Joe Ordinary Citizen.

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starLisa
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I was in the middle lane of a highway in California once. It was like 11:30 at night, and we'd just gotten back from Chicago. My daughter was a year, year and a half old, and she was feeling nauseated from the car ride, and the highway was bumpy, so I drove more slowly, which for me means the speed limit.

A guy comes up behind me and hovers about half a car length back. When I don't speed up, he turns on his brights.

Like I said, it was late at night, and there was no one else around. The right lane was empty. The left lane was empty. But this ****-for-brains sat there on my tail, refusing to go around me.

So I eased up on the accelerator to slow down gradually. The brights started blinking on and off behind me. When I got down to about 45, he suddenly moved into the left lane and drove past me, followed, closely, by a police car. Which proceded to pull me over and ticket me for driving obstructively.

I appealed it in writing and it was dropped, but the fact is, there will always be asshats on the road, and the cops are fully capable of being in that group.

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NobleHunter
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I guess the European drivers comment is based on reactions on other websites? I said Toronto, not Taranto. [Razz]

Speed limits are a weird sort of law because they are so uneven in their enforcement. I've heard that cops don't bother pulling someone over for speeding unless they're 15-20 kph over the limit. And on the 400-series highways, 30 kph over the limit is expected. But you're breaking the law if you're so much as a 1 kph over. Ontario has what I consider a "hard limit" of 50 kph over, since at that point they can take your car. So I feel that as long as you're reasonably safe, anything less than 50 klicks over is permissable, on the biggest highways, anyway.

Passing without speeding is hard to do since, barring adverse conditions, most people seem to treat the speed limit as an officially recommended speed. It would be very odd to see a highway where everyone was going the speed limit when there isn't heavy traffic or bad weather.

ETA: Around here the "speed limit lane" is called the right lane. On the 401, the safe speeds (usually, in good conditions) are: the speed limit (100 kph) in the right lane, about 110-120 (kph) in the middle lanes and 120-130+ in the left lane. Anything else will impede traffic or prevent safe following distances.

[ March 13, 2013, 02:50 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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yossarian22c
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I took a cross country trip about 10 years ago. The one place I remember the speed limit being followed (if I remember correctly) was South Dakota. They had a 75mph speed limit with signs that it was strictly enforced. The traffic mostly flowed along between 70-75 mph on those interstates.

In fact outside of urban areas the typical speed on the interstate in the US is between 70mph (112kph) and 75mph (120kph) regardless of the posted speed limit.

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NobleHunter
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quote:

In fact outside of urban areas the typical speed on the interstate in the US is between 70mph (112kph) and 75mph (120kph) regardless of the posted speed limit.

That lines up with my experience in S. Ontario. 130 kph (80mph) is really only feasible on the 400 series highways (and Hwy 115).
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MattP
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quote:
But I guess the idea that any citizen in America has the right to travel in the passing lane at exactly the speed limit as a rolling blockade to enforce the speed limit against speeders is out
"Yield to faster vehicles" is independent of speed limit laws and has its own justifications regardless of at what speed you are doing it so no, you are not permitted to break one law in order to attempt to enforce another on other drivers. Also it's better that the lead-foot folks drive a little faster than get all road-ragey, regardless of how smug it might make you feel to set them off.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Which is the same reasoning I've been told that most contested tickets are dismissed. The officer must take the time to show up and contest. If they don't show, which is often not worth their/the city's time to do so, ticket gets waived.

No clue if that's accurate or not or just wishful thinking.

Even if the officer does show up, odds are that unless you act extremely disrespectfully or have a long list or prior infractions, tickets will get reduced or dismissed.

(And generally the officer will show up. Your hearing will specifically be scheduled for a day that they're assigned to the courtroom to handle their cases.)

I've dealt with this quite a few times. I don't know about your world but in mine ...

If the officer does not show, the ticket is almost always dismissed - I've never seen it not dismissed with a officer's failure to show.

However, if the officer does show you will almost certainly be found guilty of the crime he wrote you up for. I've only seen one time where someone overcame the office - it was a physics professor who went on and on about the coefficient of friction and why he could not have possibly gone that speed. He won by attrition as much as anything else.

If you go to court and lose, you will very likely not be able to take defensive driving to dismiss the ticket. It'll be a fine and the points on your license. Bottom line, don't fight a ticket unless you can't take the defensive driving again (perhaps you took it already this year for another ticket). Defensive driving is easy, online versions abound, and you get a insurance discount.

Some police departments are notorious for not showing up to the court proceeding. Some, like the county where I live, are known for being very aggressive about showing up. Do a little research and find out before you attempt this gamble.

[ March 13, 2013, 06:44 PM: Message edited by: G3 ]

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cherrypoptart
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Now what if the guy ahead of you is in the fast lane but is going the speed limit and the guys in the slower lane are going much slower. You're willing to go with the flow whatever it is but you're stuck behind this guy and cars are stuck behind you. Do you have an obligation to pull into the slow lane even though you're willing to go as fast as necessary to keep from getting stuck over there at 55 in a 65, or do you have an obligation to ride the bumper of the car in front of you to encourage them to pull into the slow lane, or can you stay where in you at your safe distance in the fast lane waiting patiently?

I've had the same thing happen as Lisa, driving in the right lane at exactly the speed limit at 65 mph on the two lane tollway in the middle of the night with no cars in front of me for as far as the eye can see and only one car behind me riding my rear for ten miles. Am I allowed to pull into the left lane and slow down to make him pass me or do I have to let him ride my bumper another thirty miles? What is he (or she) trying to do anyway, improve their gas mileage by reducing wind resistance through riding in my wind wake? The fun begins when you pull into the left lane to let him pass and he starts slowing down too and you have to get down to 30mph before he finally starts driving alongside you and then you get worried he'll start shooting or something because this person is obviously crazy so you hit the breaks and pull all the way over on the left and just sit there for a few minutes until you see another car on the horizon behind you so you can let whoever that was ahead of you go far, far away.


And don't you love it when someone is in the right lane going 60 mph so you follow behind at a safe distance for a couple of minutes waiting for the chance to pass and you finally pull into the left lane to pass them at 65 mph and then they speed up to drive alongside you and not let you pass as a bunch of cars suddenly speed up behind you too to ride your bumper?

I hope you like it when that happens because I don't.

On challenging the ticket, you may also have to pay court costs if you lose so be careful in places where they are running a ticket mill because the laugh at you as they take your money especially if you think you didn't do anything wrong.

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Pete at Home
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If the police officer can show video of several cars being stuck behind the driver, then I think the tickets perfectly proper. If not in the ticket should be dismissed. 1 cops word and memory should not be considered sufficient proof.


But that's just a fantasy.

In the real world the judge knows the cop is lying, but the judge needs the police union endorsement in order to get re reelected. So the cop says understand that the Sun was shining brightly at midnight, then that is what happened.

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Pete at Home
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in case there's anybody hear that likes living dangerously,

There are some files that I would like to see kept around in case I am murdered or otherwise indisposed. Please drop me an email if you'd be willing to play safe house. Please file so not be against any law. Unfortunately that doesn't necessarily keep you safe from ambitious law keepers. Innocence is no excuse for the law.

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LetterRip
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Cherry,

many accidents are caused by someone driving too slow, which results in other drivers attempting to do unsafe passes.

So, someone driving in the passing lane, especially under the limit should be ticketed. As should individuals who are driving below the prevailing speed which results in a bunch of vehicles being stacked up behind them.

So she was endangering the public.

As to 2 mph under, that probably doesn't matter what particular speed she was driving, if she wasn't passing and was being passed she was doing a behavior that was endangering other drivers.

Since this is something that is covered in driving books needed to get ones license, I have no problem with the ticket. Especially since the most likely outcome is that she takes a traffic school course.

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LetterRip
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Cherry,

many states allow you to exceed the posted speed limit while passing (usually by 10 mph), so one doesn't have to break the law to pass her vehicle.

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Pete at Home
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LR, The police should be able to prove that she wasn't passing and that she was getting passed. If the wind conditions that she described were slowing everyone down, Then it would've been perfectly appropriate for her to travel two miles under the speed limit. They're insufficient fax to either condemn or validate what the police did here.

Note that if the road was icy, the woman could have gotten a ticket for going TOO FAST at 2 miles under the speed limit.

[ March 14, 2013, 10:34 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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LetterRip
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Pete,

interesting point regarding the police union endorsements potentially corrupting judge rulings.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Even if the officer does show up, odds are that unless you act extremely disrespectfully or have a long list or prior infractions, tickets will get reduced or dismissed.

(And generally the officer will show up. Your hearing will specifically be scheduled for a day that they're assigned to the courtroom to handle their cases.)

I've dealt with this quite a few times. I don't know about your world but in mine ...
"Quite a few times" might well be the macig words there. court leniency goes down quickly for repeat offenders. The first time I went in to contest a speeding ticket, tehy had everyone the officer had pulled over in the room at a once and gave an open offer for everyone to come up, sign a line pleaing to 5 over (a lesser offense with a lower fine and no points or reporting to insurance) and walk out. The second time, it was one on one with the officer, but the result was the same, but with a little more dialog that hinted that he wouldn't have been as lenient if I'd had more than one prior violation on my record.

The same trhad rund fordealing with a towed vehicle (in that case a number of completely unrelated parking tickets got dismissed on top of getting a refund on the towing and storage fees) and home alarm issues that I've had- present your self professionally, calmly, and apologetically, and as long as the issue isn't egregious in some way, you'll generally get a bit of leniency.

(It's also been my experience that court costs are added to the ticket up front, so you pay them whether or not you show up; there's nothing to lose from making your case aside from the time invested, but a decent chance that a good showing will at least lower the penalty)

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