December 01, 2005

Driving People Insane

I just read a mind-bogglingly irritating and long article (like, almost 3000 words long) on one man's epic quest to beat a $77 speeding ticket.

Now, gosh, I do hate to generalise and I do hate to rant about stupid people (especially the litigious ones), but Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this is ridiculous.

Let's do the math here:

Cost of ticket = $77
Cost of fighting ticket =

One book, Beat The Cops (sounds violent), by Alex Carroll, $14.95;

Several other, unnamed books, dealing with contesting traffic tickets, $30 (conservative estimate);

Home-made diagram of area where speeding occurred to show to judge, $4 (estimate for poster board and other materials);

Wages/productivity lost while attending traffic court, $230 (based on 1/365th of median salary for website editor, $84,157);

"Coat and tie" worn to impress judge, $60 (estimate; defendant presumably needed to buy these new, given that people who work for websites are usually not overly burdened with formalwear);

For a total cost of $338.95.

Net loss to invidivual = $261.95

Net loss to state (for having to run traffic court for litigious jerks with nothing better to do with their time) = difficult to estimate, but at least the $77 that Captain Tightwad wouldn't pay after going 15mph over the speed limit.

Net gain in moral superiority for individual = 0 (because, man, you didn't have to be such a douchebag about it.)

I also continue to laugh heartily every time I read the closing paragraph of the article:

"Clearly, if everyone went to traffic court, the system would become overburdened and collapse. So, if you feel your ticket was unwarranted, ask for your day in court."

I can't tell if he's a moron who actually thinks cops will stop giving speeding tickets if enough people go to traffic court, if he's a moron who thinks that causing the system to collapse would have no ill-effects whatsoever, or if he's a moron who just plain doesn't realise that he's suggesting trying to bring down the system.

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