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Driving in Maryland: Maryland News
Driving in Maryland

By: David Rader II on September 14, 2012 @ 11:29 PM

People speeding all around you swerving by making your car shake you all because you're going to slow on a slippery road? By all means, go slower just to make sure the number on your car is closer to the number on the side of the road.

Over a year ago I got a speeding ticket traveling to see my mom. It began pouring rain on and off, but traffic kept their speed up. The traffic in the left lane was going the fastest, but the road was the driest, so I figured a little faster with more traction on a drier was safer than a little slower with less control.

The hilarious thing about speeding is sometimes you're more safe if you do speed, depending on the surrounding traffic. This is why the law says:
"A person who is driving a vehicle (1) at 10 mph or more below the posted speed limit or (2) at less than the normal speed of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadwa."

I think the people who wrote the law knew that even if the speed limit is 20 and everyone else is going 100, you may very well cause cause an accident when they speed up on you.

Unfortunately, the judge I faced in Maryland was filled with complete idiocy.

The man just prior to my case had the exact same officer with the same basic ticket. The man was too rich to waste time being present for a $150 ticket I assume, so he had a lawyer present on his behalf. As soon as the lawyer and judge met eyes, they chuckled. Why?

Seconds later the lawyer said some fancy words about how his client hadn't had a ticket in 10 years. His honor, the judge says "how does your client wish to plead?" Lawyer said "not guilty." The judge said "how do you wish to explain this ticket?" The lawyer says "my client must not has been paying attention." So as anyone would expect, when you're going over the speed limit NOT PAYING ATTENTION is accepted by the judge as not guilty and he says "find him not guilty."

After witnessing this I figured the argument I had made much more sense. I think my first mistake though was trusting there was an honest reason courts have a "guilty with reason" plea. Everyone was speeding and I felt it was unsafe to go slower than the rest of traffic due to the road being wet. Traffic can not stop as quick behind you if they speed up on you. So, basically I intentionally broke the speed limit to keep up with traffic since it was the safest option. Also, as stated above, it's illegal to go 10 miles slower than traffic too. Although I was in the left lane (because that lane was driest, I explained to the judge), people were still passing me.

It's illegal to go 10 miles slower, yet illegal to go over the speed limit too? What to do when you're caught in the middle? You would think, use your judgement and break the law in which ever was is the safest possible, since you must break the law to remain on the road. Obviously, as that particular idiotic Maryland judge confirmed, you should by all means go slower. People speeding all around you swerving by making your car shake you all because you're going to slow on a slippery road? By all means, go slower just to make sure the number on your car is closer to the number on the side of the road.

The judge let me off with a half fine + court costs coming to around $120, plus parking fees, plus gas to go out there, plus 1/2 day work missed. No points though, which was the only reason I wouldn't have just paid it.

Moral of the story: In Maryland, if you're going to speed, you had better not be paying attention while you do it. Better yet, if the roads are wet and dangerous, bring traffic to a halt behind your car so as to break a different law to uphold the one they can most easily fine you for, regardless of safety as a factor. I guess sitting through my parents driving class 20 times when I was a kid taught me a thing or two about driving law... Maybe this judge needs to sit through another class? Maybe he just has a quota to fill like everyone else and we're all just meat in the meat pie. I guess I can't blame him, I'd sell him out too for his pay. No, I really don't think I would.

One more note to add- upon leaving I realized I may have been accidentally intoxicated. I was transporting a lawnmower for a friend and supreme gas had leaked throughout the inside of my car. I wonder if I could get a retrial? Nah, if I could afford the time and expenses associated with that, I would have had that too-rich guys lawyer in the first place and bought my way out of court like he did. Yes, I really think I would have. When you can legally buy your way out of court and increase your odds of a not guilty verdict at the same time, I think it would be hard to do that.

Tags: driving law maryland 


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