Traffic School

I was driving to Los Angeles, CA from Las Vegas, NV recently when it happened.  I was driving along a lonely patch of road on some stupid deserted highway, gossiping and chatting with my cousins who had flown down to visit Vegas.  The speed limit on the road was 55 and unfortunately the Enterprise Rental car people don’t hand out cars with cruise control if you pick a compact car.  I mean who orders a car without cruise control in today’s times??  That is pretty stupid if you ask me on Enterprise’s part.  However, I suddenly saw a flash of red and blue on the opposite side of the road and the first instinct was to check the speedometer.  SHIT!!!!  I was going 76 in a 55 MPH zone which is pretty bad.  The cop came behind us and pulled us over.

People in the back seat that were sleeping until now jumped up and everyone starts throwing their ideas around.  Example “I knew it… this always happens on road trips!” to “One of my friend also got a ticket recently” n so on.  Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, the cop walked up to the window and asked “Sir, you were going 77 in a 55 zone.  Is there a reason for your speeding tonight?”  Now, every time a cop asks this (I’ve had 2 other tickets before for speeding) I don’t know what to answer… “Yes, I just bought this new pair of wheels and wanted to see how fast it goes” or “I left my dog at home and suddenly he phoned me asking me to get home asap as he is not feeling well”.  I get dead scared when he asks this and the only sane response that I always mutter is “No reason :)” hoping that some day a cop will be impressed by my honesty and let me off with a warning.

So, he writes a ticket and we have a sad drive home with all the way people discussing how to drive better and when did I actually go over the limit and so on.  Captain Hindsight would have been a great help in situations like this.

Hindsight from South Park

“You shouldn’t have paid attention on the gossip but should instead be monitoring your speed” – Captain Hindsight from South Park

So, the ticket came out to be close to 400 bucks but luckily in the state of California you can attend traffic school and get the ticket off your record.  It was the first time I was going to attend the traffic school.  There are several DMV approved websites that allow you to take the test from the convenience of your couch and cost about 18-20$.  Once you clear the test at the end, they would mail the certificate to the court where you were issued the ticket.  I picked a website named autotrafficschool.com.  So basically, you have to go through about 12 chapters of general information on driving defensively and at the end of each chapter there is a quiz with about 5-6 questions wherein, you have to score 80% to proceed to the next chapter.  However, some of these questions on the quiz are plain common sense and the questions don’t change even if you have to retake these interim tests.  So, without even reading the chapters I was able to clear some of the tests and for the rest, you know which question you answered wrong, go back to the chapter read the answer and retake the test.  Finally, there is a final exam that needs to be cleared in 2 takes and is essentially a recap of all the previous tests and so if you know the answers to the questions in the chapters between, chances are you will clear the final test (I scored a 100% score on the final one in the first take)

It took me about 30-45 minutes to finish the school and get certificate of passing.  However, it made me wonder why does the government even have to administer these schools?  I mean there are several flaws with this system.  For starters, there is no way to monitor who is taking the test and so I can attend the school for others and the school can not verify if that is the case.  Secondly, with the amount of retakes it allows, anybody can clear the school even if they did or didn’t pay any attention to the chapters.  I mean the first instinct would simply be to guess the answers and then if you fail the section then go back and read the part of the chapter which would help answer the question.  Lastly, there is no guarantee that the school would then send over the certificate to the DMV and they “recommend” you get back to the court and verify that the certificate was delivered and the ticket has been dropped.  It is a better option to simply  collect the fine but drop the ticket from record if an individual has not had any tickets in the recent 18 months.

To me it seems that just the hefty fine amount is sufficient to stop me from speeding in the near future and the traffic school is just a hassle.

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