Ticketed Or Warned? I Was Pulled Over For Speeding In Our Long-Term 2015 Honda Odyssey

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
ticketed or warned i was pulled over for speeding in our long term 2015 honda

“How do I name drop, how do I name drop, how do I name drop?”

I couldn’t find the words.

Last Tuesday, I was driving GCBC’s long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey across Halifax, Nova Scotia, (where my best friend Ken is a police officer) to a very expensive dental appointment.

As soon as I noticed flashing lights in my rearview mirror, the first image that flashed into my mind was of Ken’s hairless dome and bearded face.

“Maybe they know each other,” I thought. Maybe this cop and good ol’ Ken had their seatbacks kicked by the same juvenile delinquent. Maybe they share boxes of Tim Hortons donuts while parked side by side in a mall parking lot waiting for crime to happen on cold winter nights.

Maybe, on the merits of Ken’s good name, I’ll be allowed to go free.

Constable Smith approached my window looking about the same age as my buddy Ken and working in the same district as Ken. They probably graduated from police academy together, I thought.

I’m tongue-tied. If I could only find the words, I was convinced that a mention of his co-worker would get me out of a ticket. I furiously racked my brain, this brain that puts thousands of words online every day.

But I can’t find the words. I can’t, as Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Marilla Cuthbert sang, get out all the phrases.

I hand over my license. I pull out an insurance card from 2012. My hand quivers with nerves. I hand over the proper insurance card. Constable Smith walks back to his Crown Vic. And I wait.

Of course I deserved a ticket. Although it felt like I was crawling up steep and winding Larry Uteck Boulevard past a school and countless high-rise condos, my wife confirmed with a degree of tonal condemnation that I was doing over 60 kilometres per hour.

Constable Smith’s radar called it 66 km/h in a 50, roughly 40 miles per hour in a 30 zone, a worse offense if it was determined that children were present in the school zone.

But two-lane Larry Uteck Blvd. is nine miles wide and the sidewalks are far removed from the path traveled by cars. It’s not easy holding your 248-horsepower minivan to 30 mph on a stretch of urban pavement that feels like I-35 in the middle of Oklahoma. Surely I wasn’t speeding. I figured Constable Smith pulled me over for a taillight violation (could it be burned out?), for reports of a navy Odyssey that was driving erratically in Bedford (wasn’t me), or as a prank conducted by Constable Ken (you rascal, you).

66 in a 50? Really?

I know I’m prone to driving quickly. Sometimes, perhaps in a Mazda MX-5 or Volkswagen Golf R or EcoBoost F-150, I may even plant the throttle for more than a few seconds. Wink wink, nudge nudge, no admission of guilt.

But I choose my moments and my places. I have no interest in endangering pedestrians in downtown Halifax, where pedestrians are notoriously crazy enough without adding an aggressive driver into the mix. I don’t get a rush by frightening old ladies in their Venzas by overtaking on the shoulder. I’m not spooking moms in minivans by flashing my high-beams on a rural two-lane. I’m privileged to drive a lot of fun, new, expensive cars every week, and I can enjoy driving those cars by wisely choosing my moments and my places.

The evidence? In nearly 18 years of driving, I’ve only ever been ticketed once; only pulled over twice.

Make that thrice.

We weren’t running late. We left Eastern Passage early enough to show the little one a couple of Royal Canadian Navy frigates sailing close to shore in the Bedford Basin; early enough to account for rush hour traffic. With 15 minutes to spare before the hygienist called my name, I had no reason to rush up Larry Uteck Boulevard. Yet with kids arriving at school, and unbeknownst to me, I was travelling 22 mph faster than the when-children-are-present maximum.

I didn’t get a chance to name drop. I watched in my rearview mirror as Constable Smith walked back toward the Odyssey a couple of minutes later with my insurance card and license and, to my relief, no extra paper flapping in the breeze.

Locals are complaining about the speeds with which people are going up Larry Uteck, he said, not so much the going down. It’s a residential street, he said, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

A verbal warning. He told me to slow down.

I did slow down. I will slow down. And not because a police officer raised $291.45 (the bulk of which goes to pay court administrative costs) 15 minutes before I had to spend $900 on a tooth.

“Drivers who receive speeding citations are at increased risk of receiving subsequent speeding citations,” a massive Maryland study of 3.7 million drivers concluded, “suggesting that speeding citations have limited effects on deterrence in the context of the current traffic enforcement system.”

Constable Smith could have ticketed me. But from the standpoint of the public good, it may not have done any good. Instead, a courteous officer pulled me over with the implied threat of a fine and quickly convinced me that I need to pay closer attention to my speedometer in residential environments.

Seems fair enough.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Sep 28, 2016

    I drive quickly and I'm getting less apologetic about it. Except in neighborhoods and parking lots, where slow and cautious are necessary, I'm usually 10 over the limit or maybe just ahead of traffic flow. I'm not darting in and out of lanes or using my pedals like switches either. I mean, sometimes, but rarely. Speed limits are just revenue makers Every modern car (last decade especially) is capable of exceeding the speed limits in multiples and most are extremely capable of triple digit speeds. It's the drivers who are lax. Distracted driving has made it worse and another reason I like to be away from the traffic. I believe in peoples minds, that the moment a multi-lane road appears, it's highway speed time. A busy main artery I travel on is marked for 35 mph. Yet doing under 45 is hazardous since you're getting run over. This is made even worse since most cars are so isolated now, even the cheap ones. My Cruze at 80 mph is tomb compared to my Mazda 5. Same class of car really, but 8 years is a long time in NVH development. I tend to cruise quickly to avoid the "60-80 Club" too. Those who have no idea what cruise control is or don't have it and can't keep a constant pedal pressure. So one minute you're passing them at 60 and then they're on your bumper at 80. Even worse when the flatlanders find their way onto the PA turnpike as it cuts through the hills in the middle of the state. I did my trek from DC to Pittsburgh in 4 hours yesterday, mostly at 85+. I-68 has a 70 mph limit and is lightly traveled (and patrolled) compared to the PA turnpike. The hills are a killer, but it just means working the manual function on the Mazdas transmission more. Going faster in the Mazda isn't really an option, but in a faster, more capable car, you could safely travel 90-95 most of the time, any faster and the curves would be more of a factor. I'm a law abiding citizen who does most everything else by the book, but I have a hard time with highway speed limits.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 28, 2016

    I've been pulled over four or five times, and got two tickets. Both ticket times, I was in an Audi (different ones). Cops don't like em.

  • Oberkanone Priced too high though not by much.
  • FreedMike Looks VERY niche to me. But that's not necessarily a bad thing - this might serve nicely as a kind of halo model for VW.
  • SPPPP Point: It's the only EV minivan around. Counterpoint: It's too expensive for a minivan, heavy, ugly, and has bad ergonomics. To me, a PHEV like the Sienna or Pacifica seems like a more sensible solution.
  • Oberkanone Were I able to get past my distrust and loathing of VW I'd want a 2 row ID Buzz. Pricing is about right for the current marketplace. Will it sell? Demand will exceed supply. After two years in the marketplace the novelty may be gone and demand may drop like an anchor.
  • Sam Who do I sue when the car doesn't do what I want it to and that action of the car being autonomous caused the crash?