Thursday, April 19, 2012

Breaking The Law

I've been pulled over three times in the 22 years I've been driving.  (Wait a second-22 years?  REALLY?! I AM getting old!) As I was saying, I've been pulled over  twice for speeding, and once for rolling through a stop sign.  Every time I've been pulled over I've been given a ticket.  That is until today.

This morning, I had to take Georgia to school because Andy had to leave a bit early.  Then my plan was to drop Lana off at Angelina's and go get my nails done for the wedding I'm in this weekend.  I was late taking Georgia, and on the way there I realized I forgot to call my friend who picks Sonya up on Thursdays.  I needed to tell her to not pick Sonya up today.  I grabbed my cell to call  her, because I was afraid if I didn't do it right then I'd forget.  My memory works that way, which means it doesn't work very well at all.  Now I know the law in the state of California is that it is illegal to use your cell phone when driving.  There are some states that haven't passed that law yet, but I do live in one that has.  I know this.  The fact is I rarely use my phone in the car, unless it is for a quick call.  I don't have a bluetooth, and my car is not set up for one the way Andy's is.  I knew the call would be quick, but I know that is no excuse.  Still, I did it anyway.

I couldn't have been on more than 45 seconds.  It was just long enough to tell her don't pick Sonya up today, goodbye.  That was all it took for the police officer in the car RIGHT NEXT TO ME see it.  Too bad I didn't see him.  I had to make a right turn and that's when I saw him pull up to turn behind me.  At first I thought, or I was just hoping, he had decided to turn too. He wasn't behind me to pull me over was he?  For what? The phone?  I hadn't been on long enough for him to even see, had I? Then I took the right turn, and he follows with his lights on.  Perhaps he had noticed the phone call.  DAMN!

I pulled my car to the curb in front of Ralph's and CVS and Lana started questioning me.

"Why are we parking here?  Aren't we late to take GG to school?"

"Yes, Lana, but the police man wants me to pull over so he can talk to me," I told her.

"Why?" She asked.

"Not sure.  We will soon find out," I said.

He walked up to my car, asked for my license and registration then asked if I knew why he pulled me over.  Not wanting to admit to anything that he might not have seen, I said I didn't.  Then he asked if I was aware that it was illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving in California.  Oh THAT?!  Yes, well, I wasn't on but a few seconds and I really never used my cell in the car, I swear and I'm so sorry! 

"Okay," he said, taking my information.  "I'll be right back." 

He actually seemed like a really nice police officer and for half of a second I thought he might let it go.  But then I saw him walk to his cruiser and pull out his paperwork to do what I  knew he would.  What happens every time I get pulled over.  I am never one of those lucky ones who gets away with warnings, or a slap on the wrist and a "don't do it again".  Nope, I always get the ticket.  As I sat there, upset with myself, the girls started asking questions again.

"What is he doing? Are you in trouble? Do you have to go to jail?"

"He is writing mommy a ticket, because I talked on the phone in the car and you're not supposed to do that," I explained.  "That was wrong of mommy to do, so yes, I'm getting in trouble, but no I'm not going to jail."

After the kid inquisition, I sat there wondering how much this was going to cost and how I was going to mention it to Andy.  Crap.  This sucked.  Even twenty years later I had to worry about telling someone about getting a ticket.  

Then something awesome happened.  The officer walked up to my window, ticket in hand with my license and registration.  I assumed he was coming to explain it to me and have me sign it.  Instead he said,

"This is going to cause me a whole bunch of paperwork, because I already started writing it, but I just can't give you a ticket the day after your birthday!"  

WHAT?  You mean you're LETTING ME GO???  With only one of those warnings that everyone else I know gets?  How fantastic are you??!!  

And he really was.  He wasn't one of those jerky cops, but a nice guy who policed the small city of Burbank.  I thanked him profusely, promised I would NOT be doing that again.  He told me stories of accidents scenes he's called to and how nine times out of ten, the person has been talking or texting.  I told him I did know better and was wrong.  I thanked him again, he handed me my license and I was off.  I couldn't believe it!  I actually got out of a ticket for the first time ever!  

I did learn my lesson though.  I didn't dare even look at my phone for the rest of the day in the car.  Then on my trip to Target, I bought a bluetooth headset, just in case I do need to make any kind of quick call.  I set a bad example for my girls once, I didn't need to do it again.  And see, I didn't even need the ticket to learn my lesson, warnings and second chances really do work on people like me.  

1 comment:

Gypsie said...

How interesting that you write this post today. On the Today show this morning they did a segment about what kids are doing in cars without their parents there. A lot of kids are texting/talking while driving when they tell their parents they arent (hidden cameras) and they basically said that parents need to set a better example.
Good job on the bluetooth headset and for explaining to your children.