You'll Love The Police For Giving A Woman A Ticket For 2 MPH Under The Limit

Illustration for article titled Youll Love The Police For Giving A Woman A Ticket For 2 MPH Under The Limit

There are a lot of little things that annoy me on the roads. One is a slow driver in the left lane on the highway. Seems like that annoys Maryland cops too, because they just ticketed a woman for doing 63 in the fast lane in a 65 zone. Good for them.

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The driver, who has remained anonymous, said that she slowed down because of high winds in the area and she didn't feel safe. Winds were gusting up to 40 MPH on Friday, so I do understand why she'd slow down.

That's not the issue.

The issue is that she slowed down in the left lane which impeded traffic. If she had just combined that slowing down with a tap of the blinker and a few cautious moves to the right, there would have been no issue.

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Cops pulled her over for failing to move right because she was going 63 in a 65 zone, which slows everyone else down as well.

Of course, the AAA thinks the ticket is "silly" and "sends the wrong message." It's actually the opposite. The message it sends is 100 percent accurate. If you feel you need to slow down due to road conditions, feel free to do so. Just don't do it in the left lane.

The driver is going to fight the ticket in court. I really hope it doesn't get overturned. This sets a great precedent.

Kudos to you, Maryland State Police, for standing up for what we've all been saying for years.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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DISCUSSION

Travis, you how sometimes we have those moments where we radically disagree on something?

Yeah, this is one of those times.

I understand your argument with regards to the universal need to enforce better lane driving manners, and to maintain an appropriate speed while on the highway. Really, I do. I drive the Capitol Beltway every single day, and am constantly frustrated by assholes who sit in the fast lane doing 10 mph under the speed limit for one reason or another. I really, really do get the argument.

But to sit here and condone the police in Maryland for giving a woman a ticket for doing 63 in a 65 zone is absolutely, incredulously irrational in more ways than I care to count.

Let's start with a few general points, before we get into the situational specifics of this particular incident, shall we?

To start with, 2 mph is a negligible difference, and one that could very easily be chalked up to equipment miscalibration, either on the part of the police radar or the woman's speedometer. Even assuming the equipment on both sides was properly calibrated, which is never a safe assumption, her 2 mph drop could have been a simple result of letting off the gas pedal for a split second too long in an attempt to maintain legal speeds. Last time I checked, that's not a crime that's been codified in Maryland traffic laws.

And then you get into the state of traffic as a whole. Was she genuinely holding up traffic? Were there twenty other cars jammed up behind her that didn't have, i don't know, three other fucking lanes that they could have used to get around her if they wanted to exceed the speed limit? If that was truly the case, then okay, maybe pull her over and give her a quick heads-up of the need to not block traffic. But giving her a ticket? That's inappropriate and uncalled for.

But lest we forget, there's also some additional situational context here - namely, fucking 40 mph gusts of wind blowing perpendicular to the direction of travel. I would know. I live in Maryland, just outside of DC. I had to drive that day. She wasn't making up that particular little detail. Gusts of wind like that create driving conditions that are more dangerous than normal, and as such appropriate care should be taken when driving in such conditions. I think this woman was doing precisely that; she was traveling at approximately the legal speed limit, and may have briefly let off the gas in an attempt to keep the vehicle stable and in one lane during a particularly strong gust.

Now, I don't know about you or that Maryland trooper; maybe you're all superman or something. But for myself, I would have done the exact same thing that she did in that situation: drive safely and appropriately with due consideration to the driving conditions I was in.

If others are so desperate to blow off the concept of potentially dangerous driving conditions and travel well in excess not only of what is safe in a given situation, but also in excess of the legal speed, then they had plenty of other lanes available to them to go around her. Sure, she could have moved over, but given the fact that she was obeying the traffic laws of the area that she was in to a more than reasonable degree, she was not legally required to. She was doing near enough to the speed limit in semi-dangerous conditions that I'd damn well ask the trooper to very the calibration of his equipment if I were her. As long as that's the case, and she is being a law-abiding citizen, then the onus to adjust for traffic is on those who would insist on violating traffic laws, not on her.

This doesn't send the right message at all. Sending the right message is getting grandpa in his Buick travelling at 45 mph out of the fast lane. Sending the right message is making sure that tractor-trailers stay the hell out of the left lane like they are legally required to. Sending the right message is keeping cars towing trailers out of the left lane. These are things that I encounter on an almost daily basis driving out here, and I have yet to see MD State Troopers do a damn thing about it, even when they were present and witnessing these things.

I appreciate that this particular MD State Trooper is finally willing to step up and do the job of helping traffic flow; it's an admirable goal and one that I applaud. But the execution is decidedly lacking in this case, along with basic judgment and common sense. Giving this woman a ticket for driving legally and safely because on the grounds that she was preventing others from breaking the traffic laws sends one message and one message only: the MD State Troopers are bullies.

I hope that that ticket gets overturned, and I hope that the MD State Troopers aren't glorified for being bullies.