Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Velocity Tax

I’ve gotten about four speeding tickets over the course of my driving career. The first was for going 35 in a 25 mile zone at 5 a.m. on a deserted road. That was when I was still in California and going to school out there.

All the others have been in Virginia. And pretty much on the freeway. But then the 55 mph speed limit is really something of a joke. I never tried to be dangerous. Just get somewhere in a hurry. And sometimes that amounts to being thwarted.

Yeah, I know how to handle a car. And I enjoy velocity. It’s efficient and exhilarating.

But I’m a good driver. (Knock on wood) I’ve never been in a collision accident. I always use my blinker, turn on the headlights in tunnels and after dusk, and give other cars the right of way when it’s theirs. I not only wear a seatbelt, but my car goes no where until everyone in my vehicle is buckled up. No matter how short of a distance we go.

I obey the traffic signs and never flip off over drivers. Even when they deserve it.

So each time I got a speeding ticket I was more or less livid afterwards. Cool and collected while the cop was there. But after about 15 minutes of thinking about paying a fine and having nothing to show for the spent money pretty much made me see red.

Until I changed my perspective.

I recognize that the revenue brought in by tickets helps pay to maintain the city roads (and god knows they need some serious maintenance!).

I’m pretty sure the cops also need to pull over a certain number of cars a month. So I’m just doing my part to help the police get their quota.

In addition to that, I’ve decided to start thinking about it as a tax.

Taxes by their very nature are aggravating things. But they are facts of life. There’s no use in being pissed off about them since it changes nothing and at the end of the day (or year) you still have to pay them. I hate that, but I can live with it.

So a speeding ticket is now a velocity tax.

Like most other things that are in excess of the norm, you pay a “luxury tax”. So, as long as it’s not a regular occurrence and it’s not into the “reckless” range, I don’t get furious anymore. It’s just one more freaken’ tax to pay.

But that’s not so bad. Because you know what they say:

“The only guarantees in life are death and taxes.”

1 comment:

Allan said...

That's interesting take... My only issue is that tickets really are approached as a source of revenue rather than using police presence as a deterrent to "crime." Obviously, that's just my opinion.

Do you know what the difference is between death and taxes? The government can't figure out a way to make death any worse than it already is.