Monday, March 26, 2012

How My Inattentiveness Cost Us $400

Photo credit: bodgie
Two weeks ago Chip was out of town for two days on orders from the National Guard.  So I had to drive Patrick to school (Chip normally does it).  Wednesday went off without a hitch. We got to school on time, sat in the carpool line for just a little bit, and got to work in a timely manner.  The afternoon - once again - went great.

Thursday we got to school alright and had no problems with the drop off. As I was leaving, I prepared to turn off the road that his school is on to make a left onto a busier highway. This was a frustrating task, as the person who sat opposite me in the intersection (who was going straight - both by his lack of blinkers and in reality), sat and wanted me to turn left in front of him, like I had the right of way. Of course I didn't, but I was needing to get on my way to work, and other drivers' stupidity is one of my pet peeves (because you know, we all drive better than everyone else - myself included). After I finally waved like a crazed lunatic enough to indicate to this person that he, in fact, needed to go first before I could go, he finally proceeded forward and made it through the intersection so I could make my left turn. I was frustrated and probably whipped my car around faster than I would have normally. My mind was on the idiot and his lack of driving skills and knowledge as to the rules of right-of-way. A few hundred yards down the road I see them standing on the side of the road throwing their arms in the air and flagging me down.

Cops. Both on foot on the side of the road.  One with a radar gun in hand.

This was not good.

I look at my speedometer immediately and see I'm traveling just over 40 mph, well below the posted 45 mph.

But obediently I pulled over.

What I didn't realize?

I was still in the school zone.  And it was school zone time.

It wasn't the school zone for my son's school, which is about 2 miles down the road I had turned off of.  This is another school that is located some unknown (to me) distance down the other side of the intersection where the idiot other driver had been coming from. 

Posted for school hours was 25 mph and I was clocked at 41mph.

The officer asked if I wasn't aware of the school zones and I told him that no, I was not because I typically did not make this drive in the morning. He left with my license and I hoped for the best, although I was certain I wouldn't get it because it was a school zone.

And I was right.  I was now the owner of a speeding ticket - my first in about 7 years.

It's amazing the amount of guilt and remorse that ticket brought about. I was convicted of not only speeding, but being so inattentive that I didn't know the posted speed limit accurately. And in a school zone, no less.

Well, last Thursday was payday and since this check was not going to our mortgage this month I signed on to see how much my ticket was going to be.  I knew it'd probably be bad because it was a school zone.  I kept repeating this to myself to prepare myself for what I was to find.

$367.60. Plus $29.00 to pay it online.  For a total of $396.60.

That was my punishment for being rash, inattentive, and flustered.

No, I'm not angry.  I deserved the penalty. I was speeding. I was unaware of the school zone. Were they speed trapping me?  Absolutely - but I was speeding, so I have no reason to be mad at them.

I'm frustrated with myself though. Although we did have the money to pay it (thank goodness), that's $400 that I cannot use to pay down my debt. That's a probability that my insurance could go up.

I hate stupid decisions/mistakes. I hate how stupid I feel for making them.

But the fine is paid now. Time to go send everything ELSE to my credit card.


  1. That sucks :( Tickets of any kind brings on so many feelings of remorse but it's good that you're taking responsibility for it instead of being mad at the cops or something. I try to think of it as maybe if I didn't get that ticket, I would have kept speeding and gotten into a car accident that would have caused thousands of dollars damage - or something like that.

  2. I do that too. At least it makes me feel better, although still not good. =)

  3. Ouch. I got 2 speeding tickets in a 2 week period once. Needless to say I learned to slow down. Kudos for not staying mad.

  4. @John - yeah, I knew it would hurt since it was a school zone. I just wanted to kick myself. Still a bit frustrated with me, but what can I do?