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By Jordan W. Charness
“I did it!” exclaimed Peter as he burst into my office with an incredibly proud look on his face.
“You did what?” I queried looking up from the important document I was trying to read before his unexpected intrusion.
“I told the truth,” he replied.
“I’m sure your mother will be very proud of you. But what does that have to do with me?” I wanted to know.
As usual, getting to the point with Peter is half the fun. And to tell the truth he really had been working very hard at keeping out of trouble. This particular story had to do with his recent winter car trip.
Peter finally learned that speed limits are not mere suggestions but are actually finite speeds that the law allows you to travel at on any given road. The speed limit can vary from place to place, even on the same highway or roadway. While a highway speed limit might normally be 100 km/h, there may be times or places when that speed is reduced either temporarily or permanently.
The maximum speed allowable is usually reduced in work zones as well as at the detours and other changes or obstructions in the roadways. Speed limits may also change in the middle of a city street if the zone changes from regular to school or park. Similarly a street that straddles two or more municipalities may change speed limits as each municipality may set a different maximum speed for what is essentially the same road. “I didn’t notice the new speed limit sign” is not a valid excuse as it is up to you to pay attention to the road and its signage.
The fact that Peter has learned he should obey the speed limits does not necessarily mean that he does not ever travel faster than the posted signs allow. In this particular case, he was driving down the highway at 110 km/h. He had set the cruise control on his car to make sure he didn’t inadvertently drive faster than he intended.
Imagine Peter’s surprise when he heard a police siren and saw the flashing lights of the police car behind him. Peter pulled over to the side of the road as soon as it was safe to do so. He parked well into the shoulder to make sure that he did not cause an accident by obstructing the road.
The police officer told him that he had been clocked at 130 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. He asked Peter if he had an explanation. Peter replied, truthfully, that he had set his cruise control for 110 km/h and if he was indeed driving at 130 it must have been when he reached over to get something out of the glove compartment as he vaguely remembered stepping on the gas at the same time.
The police officer then did the usual license and registration check to make sure that Peter’s license was up-to-date and his car registration was in order. He also double checked to make sure that there were no outstanding warrants for Peter’s arrest. Everything came up negative and all of Peter’s paperwork was the way it was supposed to be.
The police officer returned to Peter’s car and handed him a ticket for speeding at 110 km/h. The police officer told Peter that he had actually been following him for several kilometres and noticed that Peter was traveling at 110 km/h until suddenly he speeded up to 130 at which point the policeman decided to pull him over.
The cop said that he was impressed with Peter’s honesty in admitting that he had set his cruise control for 110 km/h over the limit and therefore decided to simply ticket him for the excess 10 rather than his momentary illegal lapse and greater offense of driving at 30 km/h over the limit.
Peter’s honest answer paid off in saving him several dollars and demerit points and he now insists that in the future he will set his cruise control to the maximum posted speed limit and no more.