It happens to the best of us: we’re driving along, maybe a little too spiritedly, and then the dreaded red and blue flashes light up our rearview mirror like it’s the Fourth of goddamn July. Shit.
Excuses race through our minds. Do we pretend there’s an emergency somewhere? Or do we just fess up and hope that the cop is a merciful god today? Weirdly, sometimes we do get out of getting a ticket.
To start things off, I’ll share a story that our own Tom McParland told me.
Back in 2011, I made the mistake of renting a car in Italy. Apparently, I drove into one of those “Restricted Zones” that seem to be randomly placed in various sections of the city roads and only apply every other Tuesday at 3 pm.
They attempted to ticket me through the rental agency. Because several months had passed between the time I allegedly violated the restricted zone and the actual issuing of the ticket, my credit card company flagged the charge as fraud and canceled my card.
A few months later, Italy then mailed the ticket to the wrong address, so I ignored it. I didn’t think Interpol would be knocking on my door.
Years passed and I didn’t hear anything of it again.
The other day, out of the blue, I get a letter from Italy that says that the fine has doubled and they want, like €200 or something. They are threatening to send it to collections if I don’t pay.
It’s been five years and Tom still doesn’t know if a collection agency has jurisdiction on this. He doesn’t know if it will hurt his credit or if there is some kind of statute of limitations.
After doing some research online, he found that there is actually an ongoing issue with Italian authorities and the State Department’s suggestion is to simply not rent a car in Italy.
I heard this story and thought to myself, “Well, friend, it kind of sounds like you got out of a traffic ticket.”
Which means Tom’s unofficial solution is to leave the country. How about you guys?