The Dark Ages of Speeding Tickets

I’ve been pretty lucky for well more than a decade or so as far as speeding tickets go, but my luck finally ran out and I got nabbed. Of course, getting a ticket was a real bummer and all, but something very odd stood out to me in the process.

I’m not sure there’s been another decade of time that’s seen more technological advancement as we’ve seen in the past one. The way we operate on a daily basis has been changed forever. In our world of crazy gadgets and computers, we’re never far away from any answer – it’s just a matter of a few keystrokes (or touches with things like the iPhone!). Even the police have seemingly advanced. I haven’t seen a single police car for years that doesn’t have the laptop running in the center console. They have access to all kinds of relevant (and irrelevant!) information on you and everybody else.

So this is why getting my ticket stuck out so oddly to me. Why in the world does a police officer have to take my license and transfer my information in their craptastic handwriting, along with the barely legible law infractions and other details and then give me a carbon copy of it? The ticket I just recently got looks absolutely no different than the ones I got back in the 80s.

Since I got the ticket on my way to work, I called the number when I arrived at the office to find out how much I owed so I could put this experience behind me. Wait for it… Yep, you guessed it, the police office didn’t know anything about the ticket I received. They said to wait a few days for it to enter the system and call back. Are you kidding me? Is this some kind of jobs-creation program. Is there really some data entry clerk slowly working through stacks of paper, transferring the information into digital format so it can finally be accessed?

What’s the point of having a fancy license that has all of my personal information encoded in the magnetic stripe on the back, including my finger print, if they aren’t even going to use it. Am I to believe that this day and age, it’s too costly to put a reader and a printer in all of the cars? I mean, they figured out the laptop! Sure, perhaps all of the state licensing agencies don’t have some common format for license information – who’s fault is that? Fix it if that’s the case.

I’d hate to think that some pissed off data entry clerk transferring barely legible handwriting is in the position to incorrectly input the details of my offense. If they type a 98 instead of a 68 in the speed, that’d take somebody like me forever to get that corrected, and the insurance company probably wouldn’t believe me, either.

Oh, I guess there’s one more piece of the puzzle that, well, puzzles me. Once I finally got the amount I owed and the address to send it to, guess my surprise at “money order only.” So on top of all the other hassles, I now have to take the time to get, and pay for, a stupid money order. Oh, and then track down a stamp and an envelope to mail the thing. When was the last time you bought a stamp! I do everything online. If I could have just sent it from my online bank or paypal account, everybody would have been much happier.

So anyway, I just don’t understand such an archaic system. If there’s any deterrent from speeding, it’d be dealing with the complete and utter frustration of a system that hasn’t kept up with the times.


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