Words: Richard Seck Photos: Richard Seck, unless specified otherwise
The mind wanders – so is this road a one or a one plus? It’s definitely not a two – too straight and no elevation changes – kinda’ scenic though… One plus, that’s about right …
|It was all going so nicely …|
My right hand instinctively tugs on the brake lever producing a pronounced plunge in the front-end of the Caponord. Speed is shed at a rapid rate. Too late, the cherries are lit and spinning and seconds later I’m pulled over on the shoulder of Hwy 12, with one of New York State’s finest pulling up behind me.
Damn that ‘arris and his “could you rate the roads on the way home for a future project” crap!
Funny though, I really didn’t think I was going that fast – the brakes were hammered upon spotting the patrol car more out of instinct than anything else. Alas, several days on the CMG closed-circuit in New York’s Catskill Mountains had made 79mph (according to police radar) feel a lot like 55mph. Oh good, the cop’s young, he’ll understand the beautiful day / motorcycle / drifting mind combo.
HOW BAD CAN A 24-OVER BE?
|“Slapped with a ticket.”|
Or should that be slap-head with a ticket?
Quite bad, as it turns out…
Back in Canada, a few phone calls and some research on the Internet reveal some troubling news. In New York State, 24 mph over the speed limit equates to a fine of up to US $300.00, plus a surcharge of US $55.00! But that’s not all, as an added bonus, six points are heaped onto your driving record, and with these points yet another US $300.00 gets added to your bill, courtesy of the all-new Driver Responsibility Program (see sidebar). Cha-ching!
Total damage – 6 points and up to about CD$800.00 …
So why not just fugetaboutit’? It’s the US after all – and to date, it’s still another country. Do you think they’d go through the trouble of trying to track us down up here in The Great White North? And do I need to ever go back to New York?
Yep (on both counts).
|Points do not mean prizes, not in this game.|
Sadly, New Yawk State and the province of Ontario tawk amongst themselves. This is bad because they share such information as the aforementioned traffic infraction. Oh, and the points cross over neatly onto an Ontario license as well!
Great. So not only am I looking at up to US $655.00 cash outlay, I could have 6 points on my Ontario drivers license to boot!
The next logical question is; how is this going to affect my insurance?
The brain does not want to go there. All the brain now craves is alcohol, in vast quantities…
AFTER THE HANGOVER
When the fog clears it’s obvious that this ticket needs to fought, but how to do that?
|The envelope of doom (complete with happy-Santa stamp).|
Submitting a plea of not-guilty results in a court date … in Alexandria, New York. Excellent, not only will I lose a day of work, but I have to log about six hours on the road to get to and from the court house.
Make it stawwwp!………
The decision is made to seek professional help in form of an X-Copper representative. This was decided because they have reps across Canada and the U.S. (they claim to be the only company that covers all of Canada and the U.S.).
For me, the choice is a no-brainer, as if all goes well, their fees would be less than the aforementioned costs. BTW, they charge CDN $500.00 to fight a ticket like this.
Working with them proved to be fairly simple. A few forms were filled out, authorizing X-Copper to act on my behalf, and that was that for that.
|Please assume the position –|
wallet open, credit card at the ready.Photo: Editor ‘arris
Charges were amended to speeding 64mph in a 55mph zone. U.S.$100.00 fine plus a $55.00 surcharge. No points. That translates to a total damage of about CDN $700.00. Still not pleasant by far, but I did save a few pennies (compared to the potential fines, etc) and the cost of taking a day off and traveling to and from Alexandria. More importantly though, I saved six points on my license!
Life is Good (LiG) and it’s a rare happy(ish) ending for Mr. Seck.
So does this mean that a US traffic ticket should result in a reflex action of calling the X-Copper folks? Well it seems logical to me that if the potential fines and insurance hikes, due to excessive points, even come close to cost of getting representation, you should consider it.
The X-Copper people seem to be especially useful if the ticket has to be contested in a distant state or province. The cost of taking time off and traveling in order to attempt to contest your infraction by yourself would likely far outweigh the expense of hiring a professional to do the job – and they actually know what they’re doing.
BEST COURSE OF ACTION
|“They went thattaway …”Mr. Lewis getting pulled over by the fuzz already.|
So what should you do if you ever find yourself at the side of an out of home-province highway, facial pain illuminated by the red glow of flashing cherries?
To begin with, if a Mountie or State Trooper hands you a ticket that equals no points and a minimal fine, in most cases they are giving you a gift. Thank her or him and pay it immediately.
If the infraction is just plain nasty, do your research. Does the state or province that slapped you with the ticket communicate with your home province?
If not, is the fine less expensive than paying X-Copper or equivalent? Perhaps you should just pay it then, and be done with it. No points will cross over, as the communication does not exist.
Some ‘unscrupulous types’ might even say, feck it and don’t pay. Of course we would never condone such activity at CMG … Those that go down this path are running the risk of some nastiness if they are pulled over again in the state where they forgot to pay the fine. And if you have a memory like mine (non-existent) you just know doing the wrong thing will catch up with you eventually.
Good luck, and don’t let your mind drift too much this season.
Cheers, Mr. Seck
NEW YORK STATE DRIVER RESPONBILITY PROGRAM (NYSDRP)
|Off-road = no cops = good.|
NYSDRP, otherwise known as NYSCGOTHO (New York State Cash Grab Of The Highest Order) was established on November 15, 2004. According to the New York State DMV, “the purpose of the Driver Responsibility Program is to prevent the repeated behavior of problem drivers and to improve traffic safety.”
All those about to vomit, please hold up your hand … On second thought, just use your hands to hold it back, if you can.
As we’re talking about speeding tickets in this article, the question of how fast one needs to be exceeding the speed limit in order to qualify for this program is begged.
The answer, good reader, is …(drum roll) … 21 mph over the posted limit. And, as stated previously, that 21 mph over the limit scores 6 points on your driving record. I don’t know what to say, other than my tourist dollars will no longer be spent in New York State.
Can any other state or province top that? Send us your info (and a link if there is one) to the best cash grab scam you’ve heard about. When a critical mass is achieved, CMG will send a special award to the most creative province or state.
Heck, we’re feeling generous, whoever supplies us with the best government speeding infraction cash grab, will get a free CMG t-shirt. Does it get any better than that?
Yes, but not at CMG.
Next week we’re going to publish a CMG Top Ten Ways to Avoid Getting a Speeding Ticket article and we’ll include sections on which provinces have reciprocal agreements with which states, just so you’ll know just how much pain will be waiting for you when you get back home.
X-Copper for keeping Mr. Seck out of jail.