Lessons Learned

It was a clear crisp late fall day driving into work, via 128 South. It was a Friday so the traffic was light, which made the Massachusetts State Police cruiser stand out in the distance even more. Wary of the officer, I watched my speed as I approached the speed limit.

While travelling behind the trooper, now only 4 cars lengths in front of me, I noticed a very large tractor trailer attempting to merge into the highway. It was clear the officer saw this too and quickly touched the brakes slowing her cruiser down to below the speed limit forcing me to change lanes and pass her on the left.

End of story? Not quite. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the officer quickly pass the truck and zoom right onto my bumper. Once she arrived, on went the blue lights.

In disbelief, I pulled over to the shoulder and waited. The trooper came to the window, asked for the regular credentials and loudly exclaimed, “Do you know why I stopped you!?!”
In all honesty, I didn’t.
I replied, “No ma’am, I don’t.”
“I paced you for the last few miles at over 65 miles per hour!”
Again, I replied in a calm voice, “Ma’am I honestly don’t believe I was speeding since I saw you when I first entered the highway and was watching my speed the whole time.”
This was obviously the wrong thing to say since she then replied, “Well, I have a registered speedometer and if you want to contest it, go right ahead!!”
She then returned with a $100 speeding ticket!

Since this was my first speeding ticket in over 10 years of driving, I was not going to let this incident tarnish my otherwise excellent driving record. I got to work, photocopied the ticket, and sent it in with the “Not Guilty / Request Hearing” box checked. Next I searched the Internet for any information I could on how to go about fighting this ticket. I quickly found the National Motorists Association, read a bit and knew this organization was for me, so I joined immediately. That was the best $29.00 dollars I spent. After reading the in’s and out’s of how to fight such a ticket, I was lucky enough to get in touch with one of the states activists, Ivan Sever. Ivan walked me though the steps to take and helped me formulate questions I would use to cross-examine the officer in court.

Well, I am proud to report that the ticket was dismissed in Salem District Court. Apparently the “Request for Information” I filed achieved one of its purposes: It put the State on notice that my case was not going to be an easy one to try. The judge called my name, I approached, and the arresting officer was nowhere to be found. The judge promptly issued a “Not Responsible” verdict and I was out of there within the hour!

What a relief let me tell you. However, my confidence in handling these matters has risen significantly due to this experience. And best of all, I still have a spotless driving record.

“Concerned North Shore Motorist” (2/99)