Drivers come up with the darndest things to tell a police officer in the hopes of averting a speeding ticket.
When I lived in Arizona in the late 90s, I was on my way from from work late one night when I noticed I was being followed by a large truck. It made every turn I did. So, I stepped on the gas a little bit harder and took various turns I normally would not have as I made my way to my side of town and tried to lose the truck. Still, it followed me.
This was before I believed in the usefulness of cell phones, so calling to report that I thought I was being followed wasn’t an option. And I was traveling through neighborhoods with no public place to pull over and seek help.
The next thing I know, a police officer from the opposite direction flashed his lights, hit the siren and pulled me over for speeding — for going five miles over the posted maximum speed. I was blocks from home. The truck that had been following me sped by. That had me wondering if the truck called ME in to the police.
When the officer approached my window, I told him I had to go to the bathroom real bad, did the bathroom dance and said I was literally a few blocks from home. He looked at my license, looked at where we were and told me to get home safe.
Turns out, I’m not the only one who uses the bathroom excuse to try to get out of a ticket.
According to the LiveInNanny.com blog, adults pulled over for speeding are telling officers that the child in their back seat has to make a bathroom run.
That’s actually reason No. 2 on the list of “10 Kid-Related Excuses to Avoid a Speeding Ticket,” published this week.
The No. 1 excuse was, “He’s sick.” Rounding up the top five excuses are “You forgot to pick them up,” “They’re late for school,” and “You’re in labor.”
Local police officers say they’ve heard it all – and they’re not necessarily buying it.
“Pretty much heard them all,” said Sgt. Matt Ehler, traffic sergeant for the Capitola Police Department. “Works some of the time; however, it really depends on how egregious the violation is.”
As for Lt. John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley Police Department, the child-blaming adult drivers he has pulled over committed “flagrant speeding violations” that “were not a little over the speed limit or a little over the safe speed,” he said.
And for officer Sarah Jackson, spokesperson for the CHP office in Aptos, there are no good excuses.
“I am a parent myself, as are most other officers I work with,” she said. “I have had parents attempt to use these excuses, which I will inevitably ask the kids to verify in a very friendly, innocuous way. It is shameful when a child is more honest than their parent.
“If you find yourself in a position of blaming your children or using them in a lie to cover up for a driving behavior that clearly puts their lives at risk, you may want to re-evaluate your driving habits,” added Jackson, who teaches the CHP’s monthly Start Smart driving program for teenagers and their families. “They will be teenagers one day, having watched your driving from the back seat for 16 years. It is hard to tell a teenager to tell the truth, drive safe and take responsibility when they know you are not willing to do the same.”
In regard to this list appearing on a nanny website, Jackson said, “I can guarantee I would have no mercy for a nanny or au pair who used these excuses. They have been entrusted by a parent with the most precious thing in the world to them. The focus should be on safety, rather than how to get away with dangerous behavior.”
As for me and my handling of being followed, in hind sight, I should have turned around and went back to work or not taken all those turns but, rather, drove straight to the Scottsdale Police Department.