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What I want to know is, who changed the rules? I had a lot of time to think about this as I sat in a Tampa courtroom waiting for the judge to consider my case.

Granted, I was guilty. I’d been going 68 in a 50 mph zone, but to my credit, I truly didn’t know I was speeding. I was driving in an unfamiliar area on a six-lane highway in a rural area that was virtually empty on a Saturday afternoon. I assumed the limit was “fast.” Apparently, not that fast.

In my rear-view mirror, I saw a late model, brown Mustang with a Harley Davidson plate on the front speeding up behind me. What happened next was something out of a science fiction movie.  That Mustang morphed into a light-flashing, no-mercy-whatsoever Florida trooper.

You know what a stop sign looks like, so you know when to stop. You know what a yield sign looks like, so you know when to yield. You know what a state trooper looks like and you know when to slow down and pretend you are going the speed limit. How unfair it is that the state I love would betray me by using decoy cars to trap me, a loyal taxpayer. Shouldn’t we have a fighting chance, especially since the cost of tickets have skyrocketed as the state seeks more sources of revenue?

I asked the trooper to consider my good driving record and he said, “I don’t even look it up. You can go to court and try and work it out there.” I live more than an hour away, but the ticket was in excess of $300 and I was ticked off that I’d gotten it. I had visions of standing up and protesting on behalf of all speeders betrayed by decoy troopers, but I sold those principles right out when the the judge told us that, if we had no tickets in the previous two years, he’d withhold adjudication, erase the points, make sure the insurance company didn’t find out and reduce the fine. Just for showing up.


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