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Today’s traffic story

JD114 17 April 2008 66

Seems a colleague’s friend was driving along the Monaro Highway yesterday chatting on the old mobile (as you do) when she noticed a police car was behind her. Within a second she had mumbled gotta go and literally threw the phone down hoping against hope she had not been seen. But it was not to be, the flashing lights came on and she was pulled over.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” the cop asked.
“Ummm yes…. because I was talking on my mobile” she replied with trepidation.
“Actually you were speeding, 98 in an 80 zone” he replied, “but now I’m going to book you for that as well!”

Net result: over $600 in fines and presumably 6 points off the old licence account as well.

Moral of the story? Well I guess it would have to be: don’t assume the cop knows you’re half as guilty as you really are!

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66 Responses to Today’s traffic story
RuffnReady 1:49 pm 18 Apr 08

Morgan, you got me wrong, I agree with JS Mill's postulate entirely. I'm all for RBTs, and it amazes me how anti-RBT most of my American friends are, even when presented with damning factual evidence that they save lives. One of them constantly harasses me about it and accuses me of supporting "the govt taking random tissue samples" (lol) from its citizens. No matter how logically I argue, he won't relent. I think he just likes to drink and drive.

The extent to which many Americans believe in their God-given right to do whatever the hell they please is quite scary, but explains the foreign policy behaviour of the country quite well... lol

circusmind 1:33 pm 18 Apr 08

you'd presume it operates as a cloak for police discretion. i realise that the plural of anecdote is not data, but in my experience p-plates equals increased police attention.

i know it's common practice for young would-be drink drivers to take their plates off before attempting the drive home. if you get pulled over drunk you're screwed anyway, but not having plates on may let you creep home undetected--or so the logic goes.

bonfire 1:25 pm 18 Apr 08

i wonder if random has a legal definition, or if it has been tested in regard to rbt and charges arising.

circusmind 12:15 pm 18 Apr 08

NB: the 'attitude test' doesn't seem to apply if you are a young male. I was driving home from a uni exam after Floriade had ended, and for some reason the speed limit on Cth. Bridge was still 60 rather than the normal 70. So I was doing 70 over the bridge, tired and oblivious to the copper following me. He pulled me over, I very politely explained myself, and thought I had a pretty good chance of being let go. He wasn't a traffic cop as far as I could tell, and seemed a fair enough bloke, but he gave me some bullshit patronising spiel and then ticketed me for $150. Way to protect the community....what a chump.

I also love the "random breath tests" I get with regularity far exceeding randomness. The best one was the copper who stalked me all the way out from north of civic and then pulled me over near Parliament and nonchalantly told me this was a 'random' breath test.

ant 10:18 am 18 Apr 08

Yeah, in most of the US, they don't have RBTs like ours where they pull everyone/anyone over. If a cop does bail you up and suspects you're blotto, they administer the "How Drunk Are You Really" test (that's what they call it!), which tests your balance. Many of my colleagues loved that test, as we taught balance for a living: skiing. A mate in Colorado who was fully French qualified (ie he could really ski) passed those tests numerous times and he was plastered when he'd left the bar.

JD114 9:30 am 18 Apr 08

Attitude is the biggest determinant in whether you'll be given a reprieve.

When I was a lad a group of us were wandering along London Circuit on a Friday night, The speed limit in those days was 35 mph. A car full of young louts that looked like it had just finished doing 'the laps' for the night came past perhaps a little fast. A cop car pulled them over. The exchange went something like this:

Officer: Can you tell me why you were speeding along here?

Hoon: I wasn't f**king speeding ya clown

Officer: I followed you along London Cct and determined that you were exceeding the speed limit. Can I see your licence please etc...

Hoon: Why don't you do something useful like book parked cars or something you ****s always bullshit I wasn't speeding, you can't prove it I got my mates here to testify... etc

The hoon kept nagging the cop as the booking proceeded, then this gem:

Officer: Son, how old is your grandmother?

Hoon: S*** I dunno, 78 I think.

Officer: There you go sonny, 78mph in a 35mph zone. Cop hands him his ticket and all of a sudden the hoon and his mates go deathly quiet and carefully drive off!

boomacat 8:48 am 18 Apr 08

Minime2, did you compliment her for going to the effort to make sure her "carpet matched the curtains"?

la mente torbida 8:32 am 18 Apr 08


Yes I did - thanks for the spelling lesson - my bad :-)

BTW: is it fecal matter or crude opium?

Timberwolf65 8:14 am 18 Apr 08

[quote comment="100372"]Out of sheer but foolish politeness, I once unfortunately said 'thank you' to a Cooma cop as he walked away after giving me a +15km ticket. Never again. I could have kicked myself.[/quote]

That is a crack up, I would do something stupid like that!!

I kind of feel a bit sorry for the lady, she sounds like her honesty got he into trouble.

harley 7:55 am 18 Apr 08

+1 Spikeydog (#23)

minime2 12:55 am 18 Apr 08

Read my comment on "yellow light" saga. Seems like Proud Local is currently proud; I am ex-proud.

I stick with the warning that any comment from you may very well confirm the wrongdoing and come up in court evidence. But, bigger warning: do not outright deny in any kind of aggressive fashion ... a good excuse might help you right there and then, but the "proud" have heard them all. Polite.

An extreme case: many years ago pulled a very very slow driver over in a back street for going very very slow. He was well dressed, polite, and it seemed, pissed as a newt. Looking at the licence I saw that we were stopped right in front of his house. Why so well dressed and pissed? Just been to his son's funeral. I helped him walk into his house. Only one ever that 'got away'.

There was the nude lady driver [real blonde] speeding in a VW on the highway down near Cronulla...but that is another story.

Proud Local 11:58 pm 17 Apr 08

The BEST thing you can do is fully admit to what you were doing wrong as that makes you appear to be a good and honest person despite the fact that you were breaking the law. If you play it cagey, then chances are you are on your way to failing to attitude test. Same if you use lame excuses like being "late for work, picking up family members etc...".

I let a woman off for using a mobile phone once cause her answer was "A man just physically attacked my car with a tyre iron in a road rage accident and I drove off in a fearful panic and called my husband on the phone for help." I got her to ring her husband and hand the phone straight to me where he repeated the same story that his wife had just called him about.

I thought that was a pretty good excuse and she get off scott free. A person later rang the station to report that she had seen the above mentioned road rage incident and was willing to be a witness for it. Never worked out the guy's identity unfortunately.

And no, we don't ask the question to help build our case, the opposite is true. It's a small chance for the driver to get OUT of the ticket as per the above example. Most excuses won't cut it though and if you are going to BS it had better be good!


Morgan 11:48 pm 17 Apr 08

[quote comment="100390"]

ant/jimbocool - interestingly, most US states DO NOT have random breath testing (the cop has to have a reason to pull you over), and many don't even breath test and still administer "sobriety tests". Most Americans see breath testing as an infringement of their civil rights (I have argued this point many a time). As for talking on a mobile while driving, it seems not to be a crime. I couldn't believe the things I saw people doing while driving over there.[/quote]

I dont think JS Mill would agree with you, liberty stops when you endanger the safety of others by drink driving. You can only exercise your freedom while not denying freedom to others.

If you don't like it go and see if you can find the state of nature.

RuffnReady 10:46 pm 17 Apr 08

Talking on a mobile while driving impairs you as much as mid-range drink driving according to the studies, so no sympathy there. Doubly stupid for doing it on the worst highway in Australia for fatalities, while speeding. All your friend needed to do was kill themselves and they could be up for a Darwin award!

ant/jimbocool - interestingly, most US states DO NOT have random breath testing (the cop has to have a reason to pull you over), and many don't even breath test and still administer "sobriety tests". Most Americans see breath testing as an infringement of their civil rights (I have argued this point many a time). As for talking on a mobile while driving, it seems not to be a crime. I couldn't believe the things I saw people doing while driving over there.

Special G 7:07 pm 17 Apr 08

Your friend must have hit a traffic cop, highway patrol, cockroach - what ever you want to call them. Their job is to give out tickets to anybody breaking road rules. Meet any of the other cops around town and you'd have to fail the attitude test before you get a ticket. Depending on how badly you fail it is how many other things they will look for and how fast(slow) they will dish out the ticket. One of the reasons for being cautioned is admissions to the offence if you don't make them and don't look like you give a shit then you will probably walk away with a fine. Again Chris Rock got it right. Be polite.

bonfire 7:01 pm 17 Apr 08

The only reason a policeman asks you anything is to gather evidence to build a case.

Only answer exactly what you were asked, do not volunteer anything else. Remain polite. If taken to a police station, to answer questions, call a lawyer and say nothing.

It is not what hey know, what they suspect, or what their gut tells them. It is what they can prove. You do not need to add to the evidence they compile.

swamiOFswank 6:51 pm 17 Apr 08

Out of sheer but foolish politeness, I once unfortunately said 'thank you' to a Cooma cop as he walked away after giving me a +15km ticket. Never again. I could have kicked myself.

Spideydog 6:02 pm 17 Apr 08

This driver was talking on a mobile phone and obviously failed to notice that she was doing almost 20k's over the speed limit, sorta shows living proof that talking on mobile phones whilst driving distracts you from the driving task.... Imagine if that was a vehicle stopping suddenly in front (ie, Amber or a child running out onto the road. The result can be more disasterous (yes, unlikely a child running onto the road on the monaro, but you get the gist) A traffic fine should be the least of your trouble, if you get in a rear-ender because of being on the phone, the insrance costs, etc eclipse the would be fine.....

Dave_K 5:49 pm 17 Apr 08

Do we have a defense against self-incrimination in Australia? Or is that the product of watching too many American TV shows? Wonder how they would react to that response on the side of the Monaro highway during rush hour?

deye 5:29 pm 17 Apr 08

[quote comment="100327"]"That’s Hilarious! I always wondered what the point of cops asking you such questions is”

I used to know a guy who was pulled over for speeding and was asked this question. He told the policeman that he had a bad case of diarrhoea and that if he didn't get to a toilet soon he'd be wearing it. He pulled the faces and everything and said something along the lines of "I know it's wrong and I'm happy to take the ticket but could you please be quick about it? I'm not sure how much longer I can hold it". He said the policeman let him go but told him to drive the speed limit.

Not sure if it's a true story - he swore it was. Either way it's pretty funny...[/quote]

I also know someone who used this, however in that case the police followed him to the nearest public toilet and watched him enter before leaving and not giving the ticket. That was about 15 years ago in QLD though.

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