Speedy Facts About Speeding Tickets

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It always amazes me when I hear someone say they've never been pulled over for speeding. My reaction is usually wow, I'd never want to be stuck behind you in traffic. As for me, I've gotten all manner of them: the 20mph-over on the interstate, the 2mph-over hick town speed trap, the stern warning (becoming rarer as I get older), but recently I got a totally new and unexpected kind, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it -- the international speeding ticket.

I spent a few weeks driving around New Zealand last month, where the roads are long and open, sheep outnumber people (and cars) 4-to-1, and the maximum speed limit is 100km/h. That's about 62mp/h, which is about as fast as we back out of our driveways here in LA. But I was very conscientious about not speeding in towns or around other cars, and I never attracted the attention of any Kiwi cops. Good on yer, I thought. Until I got a letter from New Zealand in the mail yesterday. Apparently they have robot cameras staged in remote areas of the country, and can zap you anytime, anywhere. Which raises a thorny new question for me: do I really have to pay this? I mean, what are they going to do, extradite me? I did a fair amount of Googling to help answer that question, but I couldn't come up with any firm answers. Also, they got my name wrong on the ticket, though they clearly have my address. (Any knowledge or ideas from our readers would be much appreciated.) What I did find, however, were lots of fun facts about speeding tickets:

The first speeding ticket was issued to Harry Myers of Dayton, Ohio in 1904, for going twelve miles per hour. I'm assuming they didn't use a radar to figure out his speed.

The ticket for the fastest speeder was given to a man going 272mph in a 75 zone. Apparently he was part of a San Francisco-to-Miami rally called the Gumball 3000, and he was driving an exotic, Swedish-built Koenigsegg. The fastest motorcycle caught speeding was going 205 in a 65, and was ticketed not only for reckless driving, but riding without a motorcycle license. Ouch. The officer who caught him said "I had to double-check my watch because in 27 years I'd never seen anything move that fast.''

A possibly apocryphal story about boxer Jack Johnson getting a speeding ticket has him giving the officer $100 for a $50 fine, because "I'll be coming back through just as fast."

The fastest speeder in the UK was Timothy Brady, caught driving his Porsche at 172mph in 2007. He was jailed for 10 weeks and banned from driving for 3 years.

Sharing time! What's the worst ticket you've ever gotten?

June 4, 2008 - 6:28am
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