I’ve written about driving in Florida before, but I stopped short of expressing my opinion that some speed limits in Florida are too low. Dead straight, three lane carriageways flanked by vast grass verges with no pedestrians or residential buildings in sight can have 35 mph speed limits. Sticking to them reminds me of when Animal from The Muppet Show is forced to play a minuet until he loses it and doubles the tempo in a frenzy, which is basically what happens to me shortly before I’m clocked doing 62mph down just such a road.
It’s the second time I’ve been stopped. I previously escaped with a warning, but then I wasn’t exceeding the limit by nearly as much on that occasion, and even my mother-in-law who was travelling with me (I know, right?) didn’t think I was going too fast.
I have never thought of myself as a speed freak. In Britain I would find myself on roads in rural areas that were practically single track with blind corners, and yet the speed limit was 60 mph. I didn’t have the confidence to go anything like that fast and so I invariably held up a procession of seething locals. Then again, someone who had moved to Boca from Honolulu told me that she thought people drove like maniacs in Florida, leading me to conclude that there can’t be any point in even having a car in Hawaii, because it must be quicker to just get out and walk. I guess you get used to whatever is the norm and it takes time to adjust.
This time there is no free pass from the
sanctimonious fascist law enforcement officer who is just doing his job for the safety of all, and I’m hit with a $280 fine and a choice of either points on my licence or Traffic School, a kind of online ordeal-by-boredom to which you can only subject yourself once a year and up to five times in your lifetime (a limit imposed, presumably, for mental health reasons). I quickly accept that it would have been safer if I’d been driving slower and I further accept that this probably needed to happen for me to change the way I drive, and yet within days there’s a dramatic uptick in the junk mail that’s shoveled daily into my mailbox, which seems intent on changing my mind:
Either my alleged traffic violation and associated personal details are in the public domain before any guilt has been admitted or established, or the state of Florida is selling them to attorneys who make money from contesting cases brought by…the state of Florida. Neither would surprise me.
Needless to say, it’s an easy decision for me to pay the fine and take the course rather than talk to any of the people pictured in these flyers.