Driving is a privilege. Anyone who disagrees with that, or believes it is some constitutional right, needs a little more education.
Educated was just what I was told I would be getting while taking an eight-hour, daylong driving class thanks to a lovely red-light ticket I received for not making it quite fast enough to beat the cameras at River and Oracle roads.
Now, I know I wrote about this same traffic violation several months ago, but little did I know that once I decided to skip the driving school and just pay a fine, I would be receiving a surprise letter in the mail from the Arizona Department of Transportation saying that if I didn’t take this class, my license would be suspended.
The most frustrating thing about this process is the fact that it appears to be the ticket that will never go away. Did I make a mistake? According to the red-light camera, I did. Did I pay the fine as required? Yes, I did.
However, I received this letter after paying $335, saying I had to also attend this daylong traffic school for another $85. If I would have just taken the classes instead of paying the fine, the cost would have been around $225.
When our instructor stated the red-light cameras are nothing more than a revenue generator for cities like Tucson and Phoenix, I would now have to agree.
If educating the public was a priority, then I would have known about this secret rule that you have to do when you just opt to pay the fine. And, let’s face it, Arizona has one of the highest fines for such an offense in the nation. Doesn’t strike me as a state trying to improve street safety, but instead, one that wants more and more money.
I found the eight-hour class extremely boring, and from knowledge from past stories and working with police over the years, I knew a lot of the laws being discussed. However, for me, the shocking part of listening to others, who were also required to take the class, was just how little both young and older drivers know about the rules of the road.
Granted there are a lot of laws on the books, and many have changed over the years since, say a senior citizen took a driving test. There is some latitude for that, but not knowing who has the right-of-way at a four-way stop sign, or not knowing who has the right-of-way at an on-ramp on Interstate 10 was more than a little disturbing to me.
Then, you have those believing their constitutional rights have been violated because they received a ticket after being caught by a traffic camera. The argument being they didn’t get a chance to face their accuser.
Like the instructor stated over and over again, getting a driver’s license is a privilege. Obeying the rules of the road is a requirement, and thinking that just because you got caught by a machine makes you innocent is just plain nonsense.
Agree or disagree with the traffic cameras, they do catch you doing things you shouldn’t be doing.
The other disturbing part of the class was how little we really know about the rules involving when and how these traffic cameras are used. Look at the intersections at Kolb and Speedway, or at Oracle and River. There is a line before the crosswalk, and a fine line to walk with precious seconds to spare when you opt to go across trying to beat a yellow light.
Because this was so confusing to many of the students in this one-day class, I find it a little disturbing that the only time we are educated about all of it, you know in the name of safety, is after we have violated the rules.
If the cameras aren’t revenue generators, then entities should make it more of a priority to educate before the offense occurs.