Thursday, June 29, 2006

Houston defrauds motorists as nation's No. 5 speed-trap

Houston is one of the top speed-trap cities in America, according to the National Motorists Association.

I can personally attest to their bogus speeding tickets. I was stopped over the Christmas holiday as I proceeded down the road, fifth in a line of five vehicles all traveling at the same rate of speed. I was the only driver in the group who was stopped.

I had to take an online driving safety course to get out of the ticket, but the police officers don't care about enforcing the law when the bureaucracy is breathing down their necks, demanding they bring in more tickets.

On the one hand, you'd think that seeing someone get a ticket would slow down traffic. Sure. Right until the cars get to the nearest curve, go over the next bridge or hill, or whatever. Then, if traffic is moving faster than the speed limit, they speed up again.

If I should have gotten a ticket, then why shouldn't the other four drivers who were ahead of me?

I work with someone who had the guts to argue with the police officer who stopped him. "This is absolute B.S." he told the officer. "I'm not going to put up with this. I'm going to court and I'm going to tell the judge what a liar you are and I'm going to get off."

When he showed up in court, the officer was nowhere to be seen.

However, police officers have to put their lives on the line every day. They may be breaking the law when they give out these bogus tickets, but the last thing we want to do is tick them off while they have us stopped. You are technically in a state of arrest when a police officer stops you and if you seem like a threat in any way, he may move to neutralize you (have you get out of the car, lie down, etc.). They never know when some idiot will try to shoot them.

So, what can we do about these illegal tickets? Complain long and loudly. Technically, the city government should be responsible to its citizens. We should demand and insist that our police officers only give out legitimate tickets. Stop paying the bills with motorist fines.

The Houston Police Department has a very colorful history. In the five years since I first moved to Houston, their crime lab has been shut down for falsifying or tampering with or improperly handling evidence, they arrested a crowd of 300 people in a K-Mart or Wal-Mart parking lot (and had to apologize for doing that), one of their officers berated and verbally abused a man for stopping just over a white line (which was an infraction of the law, but the driver recorded the conversation with his cell phone and the cop acted like he was above the law), and they have given out at least two bogus tickets that I know of.

And in that time, several officers have been shot dead.

Why dishonor the memory of your fellow officers by breaking the law and giving out bogus tickets? It would be great if the police themselves stood up to the politicians and said, "Hey. Let's stop ripping off the citizens. No more bogus tickets."


Post a Comment

<< Home