Last year, I wrote a series about ticket traps in Georgia that helped spur the state to require police departments to report how much revenue they get from speeding tickets. The analysis found that numerous police departments were raking in huge sums of money by issuing citations, with little oversight.
So you might suppose that I have an axe to grind when it comes to traffic cops.
I do approach traffic cops, and traffic stops with a high degree of skepticism (I’m a reporter, after all). But I also believe they serve a valuable role in the community.
This morning, I got stopped by a Johns Creek motorcycle officer on Old Alabama Road, just a short distance past Autrey Mill Middle School. I guess I’m guilty of distracted driving. With my radio on and my 9-month-old daughter in the back seat, dropping her off at her childcare provider and heading to the office was really the only thing on my mind.
I didn’t notice the school, or register the fact that the kids had returned to classes this week as I cruised along the downhill slope and my speedometer inched up to 57 mph. It was a 25 mph school zone.
Ok, Officer K. Coe. You got me.
I should’ve been paying attention. I should have noticed the flashing school zone sign. I shouldn’t have been going quite so fast, even if the normal speed limit on that road – 45 mph — had been in effect.
The ticket stings. The fine (which I’m sure will climb to about $1,000), is going to sting even more. But I can admit my mistakes. And I recognize when the cops are acting professionally and in the capacity for which they were hired, to keep the streets safe. Writing tickets is a bigtime revenue generator. However, it’s not always done for the sake of drumming up more cash for City Hall.
I wouldn’t want some zoned-out driver zooming past schools at an unsafe speed when my own daughter’s old enough to start attending.
So I’m going to say something I’ll bet JCPD never hears. You gave me a speeding ticket today, and I deserved it.