Monday, June 24, 2013

Speeding Elvises

I don't speed much when I have children in the car. I tend to keep it to no more than 5 mph over, if that.  I don't speed for a number of reasons:
1. Not killing the children is my first priority as a parent, and let's face it, I'm not a highly skilled driver. I have had enough moments of terror driving the speed limit as it is, what with other drivers occasionally trying to kill us with their sudden and inexplicable lane changes.  We have a firm rule in the car - if Mama suddenly bleats out an obscenity, all the child-sized chatter must instantly stop.
2. Big Pants has a clear understanding of speed limits and clear view of my speedometer, and that kid is really strict on what constitutes speeding. "Mama! Why are you going 66 in a 65????"
3. I am convinced that speeding with kids in car seats might result in a child endangerment charge.  This might be totally unrealistic on my part, but I never said I was a rational individual. If you read my blog  with any regularity, you already know logic is not my strong suit.
That being said, I drive like a bat outta hell when I am alone in the car.  I tend to rely on ESP to keep me from getting pulled over, but I know sooner or later it will happen.  My vibes will only protect me for so long.

I recently had the experience of being a passenger in a car that got a speeding ticket, and I have several comments on the procedure that I think would be beneficial.

1. Why does it have to take so long?  If I am speeding, I am in a rush.  If you want to give me a ticket, ok, I deserve it, but can we keep it to 7 minutes or less? I'm going to have to drive even faster to make up for the time I lost at the side of the road.
2. If you get a ticket, they should put a mark on your window to alert other cops that you have already been punished enough for one day. A ticket should be a "get out of jail free" card so to speak, and allow you to speed to your hearts content the rest of the day.  Alternately, they could have a "speeders lane" where if you pay $100 you can go as fast as you like.  There are plenty of days when I would pay a ticket in advance not to be slowed down. It would save the cops' time, too.
3.  So now you have a ticket, and you get nothing for it.  They give you a carbon copy of your violation and you don't even get to keep it.  I think they should give you a snippet of something cool, like a velvet Elvis painting the size of a dollar bill. They could become kitschy collectibles.  
A. Tickets cost a lot of money, and they don't deter habitual speeders.
B. Cops have a really crappy job.  They get attitude all day long from people who are breaking the law and know they are breaking the law, and just don't like being caught breaking the law.  People might be friendlier if you give them snippets of Velvet Elvis paintings.  They might thank the cops, even.
C. Getting tickets leads to unhappy people. Unhappy people are bad drivers. Bad drivers get tickets.  It's a vicious cycle.  People who have velvet Elvis paintings are happy people. Happy people are friendlier drivers.  I can't imagine anyone possessing a velvet Elvis painting that can fit in their wallet ever succumbing to road rage. It just wouldn't happen.  Inconceivable. 

Now, I know what you are thinking. Who is going to paint the velvet Elvises? Prisoners are one option, but that might make them too thug-chic. Elementary students would do a bang up job, and I bet there are enough struggling artists that would be happy to contribute. 

You may also think that tickets are supposed to be a deterrent -that you aren't supposed to get anything out of the experience except a feeling of contrition. I contend that tickets do not lead to contrition. Perhaps being forced to display velvet Elvises in your home would be, though, as I am sure they are bound to clash with people's decor.  A decoration of shame you have to display on the mantle might make people a lot more sorry, especially right before a wedding or formal gathering.
Do you really want me on your mantle?

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