There you are behind the wheel of your small, foreign made economy car headed to who knows where, barreling down the freeway at well above the posted speed limit, playing a pretty good game of ‘spotter,’ but that could change quickly. What is ‘spotter’ you ask? well it’s an observation game most drivers learn to play early on. With the pedal to the metal, your eyes are in constant motion watching the road ahead, off-ramps and overhead roadways. From the road ahead your gaze shifts to the rear view and side view mirrors, watching the vehicles behind you, checking the on-ramps as you pass them, then you turn your attention back to the road ahead and start all over again. You’re on high alert, you’re on CHP watch.
Of course the CHP is playing games too. They slither about the freeway hiding behind trucks and larger vehicles stealthily getting into position to pull offenders over. They also sometimes sit on on/off ramps or overpasses monitoring vehicles and either radio units ahead of approaching speeders or give chase themselves. Then of course they have the unfair advantage of being able to use radar and planes to comb the freeways in search of offenders. Yeah it’s a jungle out their and we are the hunted.
Now here’s a twist to the violations racket. What if you lose control of your vehicle while speeding along and get in an accident with an other vehicle or simple crash off the side of the road. Did you know that the Highway Patrol after conducting their investigation can ticket you for speeding? That’s right, after taking into account road conditions, skid marks, position of the vehicle, etc. they can make a determination that the only way the accident could have occurred was if you were driving at an unsafe speed and then cite you for it. That may not come as a surprise to many drivers, but there are plenty of speeders out there who believe that the CHP or any other police agency must actually see you in the act of breaking the law in order to ticket you. Wrong!
Of course you can always go to court over the matter and hope that the officer doesn’t show up because that’s about the only way you’ll beat the ticket. In most cases traffic court judges take the word of officers and their methods of determining that a violation has been committed over the offenders weak defense of “He didn’t actually see me.” I remember when I was a kid my mom got a speeding ticket while taking us to school one morning. We were running late and my mom was in fact speeding. The officer pulled out of a side street behind my mom and although she wasn’t exceeding the speed limit at that time, he pulled her over and cited her. I remember him telling my mom that he had heard her exhaust system when she accelerated after leaving a stop a few blocks back. My mom was not too happy about it and even less happy when he also cited her for defacing her license. (she had scratched out her age) I don’t recall if she went to court to fight the ticket but I doubt it. She was speeding and she knew it.
Another case in point is a woman back east who was getting off the freeway on a ramp that was covered in snow. She apparently lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a snowbank between the freeway and the off-ramp. The car was in a dangerous position and fearing that she might be hit she called 911. Ten minutes later a tow truck and a police officer arrived on the scene. After surveying the accident scene the officer determined that the accident occurred because the woman had been speeding and promptly issued her a citation. Her “he didn’t even see me” defense was useless!
The woman believes that she was treated unfairly and plans to go to court to fight it. “I’d like to know how a police officer who wasn’t even there was able to determine I was driving too fast because I got stuck in a snowbank, it’s ridiculous.” Good luck in court lady. Ridiculous or not, it’s the law. Like it or not it could happen to you. So no matter how good you are at playing “Spotter” there’s still a chance you could be ticketed. Yes it certainly appears as though Big brother is watching even when he’s not watching. Go figure…