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(OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)

by japhy (Canon)
on Jan 05, 2002 at 22:44 UTC ( #136571=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Warning: this is totally unrelated to Perl.

Over-staying one-hour parking limit: $13
Prohibited stopping or standing: $18
Parking facing the wrong direction on a two-way street: $44

Reference: Title 39 of Part I of the State of New Jersey Statewide Violations Bureau Schedule (PDF).

I was hanging out with some friends yesterday down in Rutherford, NJ (near Giants Stadium). One friend lives on a two-way street (without a divider line), and I parked in front of his street, facing the wrong direction. Rationale: I'm a Perl programmer (laziness!) his street isn't terribly wide, so turning around isn't easy, and the space was directly in front of his house.

The way I see it, the only rationale for why this can be considered illegal is because I had to "drive on the wrong side of the road" to get to the space, and I'll have to "drive on the wrong side of the road" to get out of it. The way the Police Dept. sees it... well... you can see how much the fine is, although you can't see their paragraph about it. Basically, it says, "no car shall be parked in a direction other than that facing traffic" unless there are those diagonal parking spaces, etc.

There's no explanation why in the statute. And I'm curious if there's a good "why" other than the "wrong side of the street" business, because honestly, I don't buy that. There has to be a better reason to fine someone $44 for parking facing the wrong direction. All I did was cross the other lane, which is not illegal.

So I got a ticket for violating 39:4-135, which means I parked improperly (facing the wrong way).

My biggest problem with said ticket, though, is the cost. As a comparison, I have included the fines for extending an hour-long parking limit and for stopping or standing where prohibited. Now, in all fairness, I would have to say that those two offense create more unrest than mine. If I had committed one of those other two, I would be taking up a space for use by another motorist, or possibly obstructing the flow of traffic or blocking a crosswalk or something.

I'm being charged $44 for facing the wrong way. Who's causing whom the inconvenience here? Where's the danger? s/d//, if you know what I mean. Grumble.

_____________________________________________________
Jeff[japhy]Pinyan: Perl, regex, and perl hacker.
s++=END;++y(;-P)}y js++=;shajsj<++y(p-q)}?print:??;

Comment on (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)
Re: (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)
by particle (Vicar) on Jan 05, 2002 at 22:58 UTC
    two years back, i received a similar ticket in the nearby borough of North Arlington, NJ. although, if i remember correctly, it only cost me $14. the 'why' aspect of this upset me as well. also, it wasn't combined with any other infraction. just some cop out at 3:45am who decided to ticket me. top notch police work in North Arlington.

    i was going to plea my case, but i'd have lost a day's work. in the end, my client agreed to pay the fine so i didn't miss the day. it was a mixed blessing, because i really could have used the day off.

    ~Particle

    p.s. i figured if you get downvoted for your post, you won't be alone.

(MeowChow) Re: (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)
by MeowChow (Vicar) on Jan 06, 2002 at 01:57 UTC
    Parking law enforcement these days has less to do with generating public safety and more to do with generating municipal revenue. There's nothing more effective than a byzantine jungle of meters, signs, colored curbs, and opaque statutes to mystify and disarm someone who simply wants to get somewhere.

    I had my car towed this weekend, from a metered spot. Further investigation revealed a sign which disallows any parking from 12am to 9am. Total cost to me, including ticket, $210 ($160 towing, $50 ticket). Total cost to the city? Hah! I don't even want to think about the profit margin on that transaction.

       MeowChow                                   
                   s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print
      In Oregon, the parking restriction signs have a left or right arrow (or double headed arrow) to indicate whether the restriction is to the left or right of the sign. So at a glance, you can quickly note the restriction.

      In Washington state (well, at least Seattle), they have signs that say "no parking NORTH of here". Doh! I've been circling the block looking for a spot, and now I'm supposed to figure out which way north is? That's got to be simply for revenue generation for the out-of-towners. They probably provide all the locals with compasses. {grin}

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

        Moss grow on the north side of trees. Maybe that applies to parking meter posts too. ;)

        --Jim

Re: (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Jan 06, 2002 at 02:34 UTC
    There's no explanation why in the statute. And I'm curious if there's a good "why" other than the "wrong side of the street" business, because honestly, I don't buy that. There has to be a better reason to fine someone $44 for parking facing the wrong direction. All I did was cross the other lane, which is not illegal.

    Hi Japhy. As someone who has spent a lot of time in a bunch of cities, some of which allow parking while facing against traffic and some of which dont I have to say that IMO the law while annoying is I think for good reasons.

    • To enter/exit your parking spot you must drive into oncoming traffic. This means your closing speed can easily become dangerous, with a proportional increase in the chance of a serious accident. Furthermore others on the road and pavement are unlikely to be expecting a vehicle to come from the wrong direction, also increasing the chance that an accident (especially with a pedestrian or cyclist) will occur. BTW I realize you dont buy this argument, but my bet is that you havent considered the issue in the context of non drivers and expected behaviour
    • Clearing cars from a road (for reasons such as snow clearing or emergencies) is more difficult, especially if tow trucks are used (crane trucks obviously do not have this problem)
    • Cars are designed to roll off the road if they arent properly braked, when the car is facing the wrong direction they are more likely to roll into oncoming traffic.
    I remember having the scare of my life when in the UK (where it is legal BTW) a driver crossed the median headed straight for me, only to park some 20 meters in front of me facing the wrong direction. At that point I realized that in the UK the old advice about looking both ways, no matter what or where you are is damn good advice.

    Yves / DeMerphq
    --
    When to use Prototypes?

      Not so much a reply to you as to the three reasons you've listed. Realistically:
      • I wouldn't have done it if anyone was driving towards me, or if the road were heavily travelled.
      • No snow, nor likelihood. If it had started snowing, I'd have noticed, and moved my car off the street regardless of orientation.
      • Flat road.

      _____________________________________________________
      Jeff[japhy]Pinyan: Perl, regex, and perl hacker.
      s++=END;++y(;-P)}y js++=;shajsj<++y(p-q)}?print:??;

        Our legal system is far from perfect, as anyone who has had *any* dealings with it will tell you.

        That being said, laws cannot be applied effectively on a case by case basis, particularly for the small things. What would be the cost to the citizens if everytime someone complained that "Well, it would have been OK to pull across the street here, I wasn't on a hill!" and a judge or equally qualified person had to go and evaluate that particular case?

        How much of a grade was it really? Was it a 0.2% grade or a 3% grade? Did you actually use your emergency brake? Perhaps it was slick? You see how impractical this becomes. Laws are supposed to be uniform. Laws are supposed to be applied equally by justices (although I feel they rarely are. Judges have far too much unaccounted for power, that is frequently misused).

        We already complain that we pay too much for local government. Do you want to add to the payroll someone whos job is to go around and see if you intelligently violated a law? And remember, laws (usually) only are created after a few idiots generate a need for it. So all it takes is a couple of people cutting across the street rushing to a parking place to make it unsafe. And, thinking on it a little more, that law is probably designed to prevent gridlock, by holding up traffic behind you as you try to get to that slot across the street.

        Most traffic laws are designed as negative reinforcement. You do something, you get a ticket, you get inconvienced, maybe you'll remember not to do that next time. I don't always agree with the laws. Some appear to be nothing more than someones attempt to make a "lasting" mark on society. "Yep, my pappy wrote that law that says you can't back into a parking spot!". The reality is that law was probably written before front wheel drive cars, and was designed so that a car could be towed, either if it wouldn't start, or was abandoned. It's a lot harder to tow a car from the front with the parking brake on than vice versa.

        Of course, we're only outraged at laws that personally bother us. Speeding laws are generally ridiculous, especially on highways. On 285 (big loop road around Atlanta), EVERYONE drives 80 in the left lane. You don't, you get run over. The citizens have declared the speed limit to be 80. And I agree with this. But the signs still say 65. Who's right, who's wrong? Most of the accidents on 285 occur in the right lanes as people get on or off the loop. It has not been demonstrated that driving 80 is unsafe in the left lane, and in fact, you're more liable to create an accident at 65 as people go around you. And when someone passes you like that, they clip chrome off your right rear and right front. We don't waste time with getting a few car lengths past you before moving back over. We're gonna get your attention, and the message is "If you can't drive what the traffic is flowing, get the hell out of the lane, because you do NOT have a right to impede traffic flow just because the sign says 65.".

        Yes, many laws can be demonstrated to be idiotic. Many laws can be reasonably demonstrated to have been created because of a need. And laws have to be (or are supposed to be) uniformly applied, or the ACLU gets all upset and costs everyone a lot more money. Yes, judges are often unaccountable and arbitrary. It's an imperfect system. But have you actually ever sat in traffic court and listened to the excuses these idiots give? And they're out there on the road, with their K-Mart licences, inability to read/speak English, and piloting a 4000lb cruise missile!

        Just learn to park like a normal person.

        Update: There are a lot of "silly" laws, like "Prohibited stopping or standing". I believe these laws were added to tightened the net, since some pain in the butt lawyer got someone who was guilty off on a technicality. That's why for the big crimes they always hit these people with 80 gazillion crimes. "Intent to move quantities of controlled substances." Probably the hit them with "Trafficking in controlled substances" and some shyster lawyer for a guy nailed with 200 kilos of coke in his trunk said "Well, your honor, no one actually saw the drugs *move*, so even though they *were* in his car, it's not really trafficking, since that involves the clear movement of materials, and not intent.". So they fixed that.

        --Chris

        P.S.: Me, I'd love to see sunset requirements on all new laws, and 3 laws having to be revoked to create a new one. There's too many BS laws on the books, like it being illegal to walk down Main St. on your hands on Sunday morning. Why are we wasting paper with this?

        e-mail jcwren

(Ovid) Re: (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Jan 06, 2002 at 03:25 UTC

    That reminds me of the time that we had a bad (for Portland) snowstorm and I was slowly driving uphill in a nearby city named Tigard, on an icy road when the car in front of me stopped, forcing me to stop. I couldn't continue going forward, so I managed to back my car up to the side of the road and park it. I came back for it the next day, less than 24 hours later, only to find it missing. It seems that the Tigard City police thought it would be fun to balance the city budget by towing everyone who was stranded in the storm.

    I had to pay to get my car out of towing, but rather than pay the ticket, I opted to go to court. The judge said he was pretty disgusted with the actions of the police and knocked my ticket down to $5.00. When I went to the clerk, I asked if I could make payments :)

    Cheers,
    Ovid

    Join the Perlmonks Setiathome Group or just click on the the link and check out our stats.

Re: (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)
by IndyZ (Friar) on Jan 06, 2002 at 12:14 UTC
    Last winter I backed into a public parking space in the lovely city of Highland Park, Illinois. Not on the street, mind you, but in a public parking lot. When I came back in the morning I had a $25 ticket for "backing into a parking space in a marked lot." Once I read the ticket I looked around and found a sign that clearly stated "Do Not Back Into Spaces." Normally I would have just called myself an idiot and payed the fine, but this one really bugged me.

    First of all, the sign was on a pole that was only about 5 feet tall and could have been easily obscured by one of the other cars that was in the lot when I arrived. Second, the sign said "Do Not Back In" and the ticket was for backing in, but there was no way to prove that I had actually backed into the spot (the time on the ticket was several hours after I had parked the car). My car was certainly parked backwards, but I could have pulled through from the next isle over. I considered fighting it, but I would have had to miss a day of school, drive 20 miles, buy lunch, etc. In the end it would have cost me more than $25, and parking violations don't count against my license, so I just wrote the check.

    --
    IndyZ

Re: (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)
by BMaximus (Chaplain) on Jan 06, 2002 at 16:54 UTC
    Over-staying one-hour parking limit: $13
    Prohibited stopping or standing: $18
    Parking facing the wrong direction on a two-way street: $44

    Giving a few choice words to the meter maid/officer for the tickets: Priceless


    Sorry, I just had to.

    Officers and meter maids don't look at how the street is made nor its condition when filling out a ticket . Their job is to write tickets and generate revinue for the city (or if you're looking at it the way a Police officer does ... enforcing the law). If they can stick you with it they will. Those types of laws are driven by what ifs. What if some guy driving down the road saw a car parked the wrong way, either with or without its lights on and the driver of the moving car wigged out thinking the other was a wrong way driver. Yea right, we're all smart enough to know when a car is in motion and when it isn't (although I've begun to question that with the way I've seen people in Los Angeles drive). You still can't win an argument when they're using what ifs.
    As far as the price goes. They charge that because they can. If you question it they'll find 10+ dozen ways justify the fine and just to embaras you and make sure you don't question them again, they'll slap on a processing, administration and handeling fee on top of it.

    BMaximus

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