I (almost) fought the law

I recently noticed that my car was going putt-putt. Ah, I thought, better get that fixed before I get a ticket for a loud muffler. Wait a minute. How come I have to worry about this? Those big tractor trailers go through town, Jake-braking downhill with a sound rivaling fireworks and nobody seems to care about them. I don’t see anybody rushing out to stop and ticket all those Satan’s Sons on their Harleys, either. Surely my car comes in a very distant third compared to those raucous riders.

A few years ago I got stopped by the state because my license plate light was out. I got one of those tickets where if you get it fixed within 24 hours there is no fine. So I rushed over to my garage first thing next morning to get my light changed out. Then, according to the trooper, I had to drive to the local substation in Millbrook so someone could come out and sign off on the repair. The ticket then had to go to the local court within the time limit in order to be dismissed. It would have been nice if somebody had told me that the garage that fixed the light could also sign my ticket. This would have saved me a trip to Millbrook and a couple hours of jack-assing around.

• • •

I wouldn’t have been so frantic if it wasn’t for the New York state surcharge. I learned about this bit of nastiness while driving my work vehicle with trailer. I got ticketed because the license plate, mounted on the manufacturer’s brackets, was not visible enough, a minor violation. The trooper explained to me where I might mount the plate (on the driver’s side fender, “Just drill some holes”) so it could be seen. This one cost money, $95 to be exact. The actual ticket was $35, but it seems that whenever you get tagged for something in New York there is a “surcharge” of $60. I notice that nobody is bothering all those cars with the bicycle racks on the back that completely obscure their plates.

I got tagged in New York City for making a right turn on green (when no turns were allowed except by buses). The sign was up pretty high against a confusing background and a bus and a bum washing my windshield were blocking my view while I waited for the light to change. The cops were waiting for me. It seems that the avenue blocks are so short here that if you make a turn there is a red light immediately, which backs up the traffic into the intersection. Only buses are allowed, like the one I was driving behind. That was a $60 ticket, plus the $60 surcharge. What exactly is that for again?

Oh well. At least I got a windshield wash out of the deal.

Bill Abrams obeys all traffic laws in Pine Plains, and beyond.