…are an utter and complete waste of time, if they still intend to write you a ticket – after you have been truthful about your reason for driving without your safety belt and talking on your cellphone while driving.
It happened like this…
I got a call from the alarm company telling me that they had tried to get hold of my parents because our house alarm was going off, but that there was no answer. I immediately jumped into my Silver Bullet (which these days is slower than a snail on Sleep-Eeze) and made my way home – as fast as I could. My mind was running so quickly, that I didn’t even think about my safety belt. For all I knew someone may have broken into our house.
Being a half-hour away, I did what I think any normal person would have done and phoned a mate to go through to the house so long and see if everything was okay, and then I phoned the alarm company to tell them that I was on my way and that they could send out a car in the meantime. As I rang off, a brand spanking new white Ford something-or-other, with Cape Town registration plates, pulls up next to my window and shows me to pull off – and then I heard their siren.
“Oh crap!” I think, “I really don’t have time for this. Our house could be burning down even…”
The traffic cop moseys on to my window (by this time I already have my licence out and the beads of perspiration are running into my eyes, making my mascara run), to be asked, “Ma’am do you care to explain why you were using your cell phone while driving, and why you are not wearing your safety belt?”
I politely relay the story of the alarm at home going off and that I was on the phone with the alarm company and that in the hurry to get home, to a house that may very well be raided by now, my safety belt wasn’t exactly on my list of priorities. I tell him that I know I’ve broken the law and that he is welcome to ticket me, (while all the time I’m thinking, “can you just get on with it?!) I mean, for crying in a bucket, our house might actually be being burgled, while we are standing around doing nothing! I tell him, thinking that I might actually get some pity from him, that he is welcome to give me a blue light escort home to see that I am not trying to bullshit him.
He moseys on back to his car, comes back to me, and wants to know where I live. By this time, I am delayed by another ten minutes, so I give him the name of the suburb and he looks at me and says, “so far?” I think “Whatever! Just give me the ticket so I can GO!”
“Ok, we’ll follow you… but we will hang on to your licence until we get to your house. ”
They did duly follow me – with no blue lights and politely flashing their lights at me if I just inched over the speed limit. Really now, I’m trying to get home – by this time, the burglar could have carried everything out and torched the place.
True as nuts, I get home, the alarm is going off full kelter. I unlock the door, get it switched off, speak to the alarm company again and go back downstairs thinking, “maybe they’ll have pity on me – I mean, they themselves could hear the alarm going off.” I go downstairs, still thanking them for their (useless) escort, only to be told…
“Ma’am, please sign this summons. It is payable on the 15th of July 2010. R300 fine for using your cellphone while driving and R200 for not wearing your seatbelt.”
Needless to say, I am not amused…but hey, I suppose someone has to pay for that shiny, new, white Ford-something-or-other.