Friday, May 22, 2009

Awkward cop interaction leads to seat belt ticket

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2009 at 9:46 AM

ticket.jpgSure, I'm guilty. But it wasn't supposed to go down like that.

Boise cops are in the midst of a seat belt enforcement gig—they get extra grant money to work overtime citing seat belt scofflaws, such as myself.

But yesterday after work, you'll recall, the weather was really nice. I did buckle up between the office and my kid's friend's house. But on the short trip back to our house, I did fail to click-it.

As I rounded the bend near Camel's Back Park where the police are frequently found, I saw the Ada County Foothills motorcycle cop, whose uniform reminded me to slow down. I considered reaching for my belt, but then I saw another officer friendly 100 yards ahead, pointing his radar gun right at me and thought it wiser to just stay the course.

I gave the BPD officer a little wave, slowed to a stop and continued on through the intersection. In my rearview, I saw him slowly mounting his motorcycle, coming up behind me and flashing his lights. Damn.

I apologized to the kid, who usually reminds me to buckle up and who, I had forgotten, was dressed only in panties in her kid seat. Then Officer Wieden (at least that's what his name looks like on the ticket, badge #469) asked me if I usually wear my seat belt.

Now, I know the law, but when you're caught red handed, it's hard to protest. He is not supposed to pull me over for waving at him without my seat belt on. Seat belt offenses are still a secondary offense in Idaho; you can be ticketed for free-belting, but not stopped for a violation of the seat belt laws.

I'm going to pay the thing. But the $10 citation is enough to piss me off but not enough to change my behavior. And the attitude of these special enforcement patrols, where quantity is awarded over quality, is a major issue in our society and one which deserves a full public airing in the near future.

Anyone want to talk about it?

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