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The Edge

One Count

Bob Mace

With the departure of Southwest Airlines from Branson, the cost of travel from both Branson and Springfield airports increased significantly. As such, The Edge heads to St. Louis on a Saturday afternoon to catch an early Sunday morning flight for a business trip.

A seldom-used Sirius music station selected, The Edge enters that semiengaged mode required when driving for several hours. Near Waynesville The Edge makes the acquaintance of Missouri Highway Patrol Corporal Fulkerson. The corporal inquires why a citizen would surpass the posted I-44 speed limit by 11 MPH. It’s a rhetorical question in that there’s really no answer that works. The less than exciting truth is that two factors mixed resulting in negligent illegality.

For one thing, after the first 30 miles or so the newness of reading today’s messages on the “MODOT Cares” text message boards fades and boredom takes over.

More importantly still, nearly all of us have developed a sixth sense of looking out for a prowling Ford P-71 Police Interceptor Crown Victoria, for more than two decades the favored vehicle of law enforcement. In 2011, having sold more than 1.5 million, Ford discontinued that model. Many agencies, Missouri’s State Patrol included, have adopted sharksnouted Dodge Chargers that are more difficult to espy.

The Chargers look more like some college kid’s “chick magnet” muscle car than the official rolling representation of Missouri’s revised statutes. The chick magnet element may explain why the female Corporal Fulkerson embarked upon the vocation of piloting a
radar-equipped Charger while enforcing traffic statutes on that segment of highway.

Summarizing, The Edge blames Southwest Airlines, the female gender, MODOT, Ford Motor Company, the Branson Airport, Sirius XM, Chrysler and Missouri’s highway patrol for this speeding citation.

Nary a one of the aforementioned contributors to this lapse of attention will subsidize the payment of fines to which the added insult of operator license point deduction will be added. And therein lies the true injustice!

One discovers that the legal financial penalty for this minor infraction is greater than that assessed to someone who illegally, with malice aforethought violates our nation’s borders. But it’s not so much the fine as it is the points that leaves The Edge grumbling in frustration.

If a deputy sheriff or city police officer makes the traffic stop and issues a citation, the State will assess two points against the driver’s license. As Corporal Fulkerson is a state law enforcement officer, by state law, the penalty for the same offence increases to three points. And to think that only a week or so ago The Edge’s state senator Dixon and representative Austin won uncontested bids for reelection!

Depending on the county in which a ticket is issued, one can pay the fine, attend a defensive driving course and not have the points assessed. In other counties, including Pulaski where The Edge was apprehended, this option doesn’t exist. One can, however, make a personal appearance, plead not guilty and then, at hearing, request that treatment from the judge.

On behalf of Southwest Airlines, the female gender, MODOT, Ford Motor Company, the Branson Airport, Sirius XM, Chrysler and Missouri’s highway patrol the Edge pleads guilty and pays the fine plus a $4 extra fee for using a debit card to do so. Anybody think Walmart would be successful charging such an add-on?

Now, come to think of it, dealing with the numbers of points, the amount of the fines and the addition of fees is probably why the 25th Circuit Court, of and for the county of Pulaski, prosecutes one “count” of excessive speed.

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