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  1. #1

    Default Speeding and Following Too Close Ticket With Errors

    My question involves a traffic citation from the state of: Washington

    I received two separate violations on my way to work this morning -

    RCW 46.61.400 - speeding 10MPH over speed limit - $113.00

    RCW 46.61.145 - following too close - $124.00

    ... Now in a nutshell, I wasn't going 70mph, and I don't feel I was following any vehicle 'too close.'

    I was driving with traffic, at the posted speed, accelerated to change into the middle lane from the fast lane, then to the right lane using my signal both lane changes.

    Once in the right lane I saw the police design headlights, maintained my speed as he came flying up on me, then proceeded to pull me over.

    He stated that I had performed an illegal lane change, had been speeding, and was tailgating the vehicle in front of me - "I was borderline reckless driving"

    .. once he returned to my car, he told me that he'd let the improper lane change 'fly for now' but he was citing me for the above charges... It was a digital printout with numerous mistakes on the ticket -

    For one, my middle name was printed out wrong, and the vehicle type was wrong as well. I realize that this is just simple error, and that there were other ways of identifying that it was me...

    But my questions is this -

    - How do I check on the accuracy of the P.O.'s Speedometer accuracy checks (completed every 6 months I believe)?

    - What if the car make/model mistakenly written down on my ticket was the car the police officer originally followed and pulled me over by mistake?

    - What is the recommended distance between two vehicles going 60mph on dry pavement in fair weather conditions? I was approximately 2-3 vehicle lengths behind the car in front of me.

    I feel violated by the ticket I received and see it as a 'last of the month' ticket to satisfy this Trooper's quota

    - However, I cooperated completely with the trooper and will be filing a 'not guilty' plea.

    any help is appreciated! - thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Seattle
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    3,577

    Default Re: Speeding and Following Too Close Ticket W/Errors

    The sad truth of the matter is that MOST people who follow too close don't BELIEVE they're too close! You state that you were 2-3 car lengths back -- going 60! Since a standard rule-of-thumb is 1 car length for every 10 MPH, you should have been AT LEAST 6 car lengths back. Some states tell you to stay 4 seconds behind the car in front of you. At 60 that would be OVER A FOOTBALL FIELD. You probably think that's WAY too much, but the average stopping distance at 50 MPH is 400 feet! That's how far your car will travel in the time it takes you to react, slam on the brakes, and your car to stop -- ON DRY PAVEMENT WITH DECENT TIRES. So, yeah, you were WAY TOO CLOSE!

    OK, enough lecturing. Here's what I would do: After you send you ticket back (be sure to make a copy -- both sides) marked "contested" hearing, wait a few days and submit a Discovery Request. You will receive another copy of the citation, along with the officer's sworn statement. This will let you know the evidence against you -- where the officer was when he first saw you, what he saw, how he clocked you, etc. If he paced you, there should be some mention about when the speedometer was calibrated. If he "visually estimated" your speed, there should be some mention about his training/experience in making visual estimates.

    If you need a Discovery Request form, PM me with your email address. I'll send you a Word document you can modify to fit your situation.

    When you receive you discovery materials, come back and let us know what they say. Meanwhile, slow down and LEAVE MORE ROOM between you and the car in front of you -- the last thing you need is another ticket (or worse, an accident) BEFORE this one goes to trial.

    Oh yeah, the mistakes on the ticket -- if there had been THREE, you'd have a really good shot at getting off. Three mistakes, especially things that can be copied from your license and registration, call into question the officer's powers of observation. One mistake is usually considered a typo (depending on the mistake -- if it's the statute, for example, it can be fatal). Two is the gray area -- could go either way.

    Barry

  3. #3

    Smile Re: Speeding and Following Too Close Ticket W/Errors

    Quote Quoting blewis
    View Post
    The sad truth of the matter is that MOST people who follow too close don't BELIEVE they're too close!....

    Barry
    Thanks Barry - Any help is appreciated.

    This is the exact same drive I take every single morning that I go to work. I'm never in any rush, and I was over an hour early to go to work.

    Where I was pulled over was between two military bases (tons of fast driving servicemembers) and there are hordes of police along the freeway towards the ends of the month in that area looking for anyone to step slightly out of line.

    I'll mail the ticket off tomorrow, or drop it by the clerk's desk for a contested hearing. I'll keep you posted on the results.

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