It’s tourist season

It’s tourist season in New Hampshire. The bag limit is 68.

Saturday mornings in summer people from southern New England drive north on I-93 to visit the White Mountains. Near Ashland where the scenery becomes interesting and drivers are tempted to stop watching the median crossovers, State Police are waiting on the ground and in the air.

They caught one 110 mph driver from Massachusetts. Two others were going over 90, fast enough to stand out from the flow of 70-80 mph traffic. Looks like less than 10% of the drivers deserved tickets. The rest were just bycatch. Or as the state sees it, the rest provided the revenue to fly the airplane.

Airplanes are expensive. If they only went after fast drivers the trap would operate at a loss. It probably cost about $2,500 to put boots on the ground and eyes in the sky. 68 tickets make that back easy. Three tickets do not.

That’s not to say that 110 mph ticket isn’t worth some money. Speeding over 100 mph is classified as “reckless driving” with a minimum $500 fine. That’s a two year old law. I didn’t read about these traps before the fine was raised.

But targeting just the dangerously fast drivers doesn’t make a lot of money.

One of the ways lawyers earn their pay is sorting out the interstate consequences of tickets. The conviction is turned into a computer code and then the fun begins.

In some states “reckless driving” is a lesser offense than speeding. I remember a driver contacting me about a ticket he got in the South that was pleaded from bad speeding to not-so-bad reckless driving. He didn’t think his cunning plan all the way through. The ticket followed him home. To Mass. RMV the code “reckless driving” means you were racing in a school zone and only by blind luck avoided killing 100 photogenic elementary school students. He lost his license here and had to ask his lawyer to re-open the case and turn it back into a speeding ticket.

If a Massachusetts resident drives 110 mph at home it goes on the record as a speeding ticket. 110 in New Hampshire comes back home as a much worse reckless driving conviction. The law says after your case is over you can be punished a second time by the state where you live. So you owe New Hampshire a fine, and New Hampshire suspends your license (which applies to Massachusetts too), and then Massachusetts suspends your license a second time, and then Massachusetts fines you a second time (under the name “reinstatement fee”).

New Hampshire’s White Mountains are scenic, but maybe I’ll go to the other White Mountains this year instead.

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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