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Traffic court (again)

Traffic court (again)

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

If you’ve never gotten a traffic ticket, you should feel a sense of shame at not supporting your local community financially. As for me, I feel no such shame. I’ve supported cities, counties and municipalities all around the United States. While my traffic crimes are inexcusable, I like to think I’ve helped make America strong and financially prosperous.
This spring I was traveling through Buffalo, Texas, with my teenage boys. The blue lights were soon flashing behind me. That’s when I knew I was going to be a big part of helping Buffalo become financially prosperous. In my mind, the Senior Citizen Center’s next barbecue dinner was on me. I like to think struggling school children throughout Buffalo would now be afforded after-school tutors.  
The officer asked the traditional question, the question I’ve heard more times than I want to admit. “Ma’am, is there a reason you were exceeding the speed limit back there?”
I know what they’re asking. They’re asking if I’m 9 1/2 months pregnant and about to give birth. They’re asking if my son is having an appendicitis attack. You know, that kind of reason.
I fully admit I have a sinful problem regarding speeding. But I’m not wicked enough to lie to law enforcement. So I always say something truthful though not very intelligent. Something like, “Just not paying attention, I guess.” May I share a word of advice, friend? Law enforcement officers don’t like to be reminded that there are a lot of middle-age women driving around not paying attention.
Of course, I’m not naïve to the placement of the patrol car on that fateful day in Buffalo. The speed limit had just dropped to 45 as we were entering the city limits and I have a feeling the 45 mph sign was behind a scrub bush. I feel certain my 48-year-old brain was in the process of slowing down the car. But before my brain could get the “slow down” message, the lights were already flashing. And now the children of Buffalo will be able to read better than ever.
Did I learn from that fateful experience in Buffalo? Sadly, no.
A few weeks ago I got stopped for speeding in my own town. Yep, good ol’ Dresden would be the next recipient of the financial blessing of my moral failures. I hung my head in shame when the officer asked, “Ma’am is there a reason you were exceeding the speed limit back there?”
I answered, “Sin and stupidity.” And, by the way, I don’t think law enforcement officers like to be reminded that there are sinful and stupid people on the road either. He seemed eager to write the ticket.
Going to traffic court in Weakley County is something every person should experience at least once. Even if you don’t have a ticket, you should go to traffic court for the sheer educational value of watching the rest of us law breakers plead our cases. I desperately wanted to say to the judge (whom I happen to really like), “It should be a crime to put a 30 mph speed limit sign on Pikeview. I think we’re all being taunted and played like a fiddle.”
But I chose the “be humble and own up to it” method instead. Mama and Daddy would have been proud. Why should Buffalo reap all the blessings?   
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 7.25.12


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