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Enforcement meant to correct unsafe driving habits

Have you heard people say, “They write tickets only to get revenue”? This is an incorrect perception by many drivers, as the purpose behind enforcement (tickets, if you prefer) is to change bad driving habits that we all have.

Speeding is a good example — I have said many times previously in these articles that EVERY driver speeds sometimes. And it has been proven that the faster you go, the more dangerous it is, and the more likely you will be stopped.

I have admitted in previous articles that I often speed — mostly 59 mph on 55 mph highways, which most in Franklin County are, with the exception of villages and hamlets. However, in my younger days, when I was single and always in a hurry, I made it my practice to drive the speed limit plus 10 mph. This was back when enforcement didn’t give you 10 to 15 mph above the speed limit. I got away with this for several years.

Then in 1967, it caught up with me. I received two speeding (radar) tickets in three days — both for driving at 11 mph over the speed limit. The first was on the New York State Thruway between Syracuse and Utica for driving 76 mph (speed limit was 65), and the second was in a 50 mph stretch of state Route 29 near Gloversville, when I was ticketed for 61 mph. It is interesting that I remember both tickets so well.

The reason I remember them so well is because, after two speeding tickets only three days apart, I had to avoid another ticket for at least 18 months or I would have lost my license. Since I was required to drive for my employment, it meant that I would have lost my job as well. In my case, driving was more than a privilege — it was a necessity.

So, with the above as my confession, here is the rest of the story. The two speeding tickets in such a short period of time are exactly what it took to modify my belief that I could always drive 10 mph over the posted speed limits safely and without receiving a ticket, because I thought, erroneously, that cops gave you the benefit of the doubt up to 10 mph over the limit. Most drivers today think they can get away with more than 10 mph above speed limits — don’t be too sure.

I paid the fines for the tickets, attended the mandatory classes for poor driving behaviors, and drove at the posted speed limit or only slightly more, making certain I would not get another ticket within the 18 months that I had to be a “perfect driver.”

It did the intended job of correcting my arrogant driving habit of not only speeding but of complying with all vehicle and traffic laws. Those two tickets were the last tickets I ever received for any moving violation — 52 years of no moving violations. Yes, I have received a few parking tickets over the decades, mostly in Montreal or Westmount, but no moving violations. Enforcement works!

Next week’s article will explore what happens when enforcement doesn’t do its job properly.