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05 Deuce
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Discussion Starter #1
Back in August, I was driving my truck home and approached a stop sign that was put up because the county was rerouting a road because of a new subdivision going in. I travel this road nearly everyday. There were no markings on the road whatsoever as it was newly paved and although it was a four way intersection, the road continuing straight and the road to the left were dead ends into fields that had empty lots. There were clear views to the left and forward for at least a mile and they don't have any traffic to speak of as they lead through empty fields.

I stopped about three car lengths back from the stop sign as there was traffic in front of me also turning right. I then proceeded slowly to make a right turn when I, along with at least 6 other vehicles, was pulled over. There were about 5 sheriff deputy vehicles and approximately 10 deputies conducting the traffic stops on cars turning to the right. I could see them as I was making the right turn. Because it was such an open area they had lots of room to park and pull people over and not obstruct traffic. I thought it was a regular seatbelt/insurance type saturation check. It was on a late saturday afternoon and the conditions were dry and clear.

They were pulling people over for not coming to a complete stop and were issuing tickets to everyone, including me. I was polite, didn't protest or argue. I found out later that these were full blown $79 moving violation tickets when I called to see how much the ticket was. I drove back more than an hour later and I watched as they pulled over everyone who drove through until their manpower couldn't handle it anymore.

It was basically the equivalent of putting a stop sign in the middle of the dessert. There was no added safety benefit for having a stop sign for right turning traffic. The right turn is what 99% of the vehicles make coming from the direction I was driving. One one later they painted lines to divide the lanes and now a right turn is permitted without even a yield.

It was blatently, "Here is a good place to add to our revenue; lots of places to pull people over; and 99% of the people don't stop."

I live in Memphis, TN and if you are familiar with the area, the police and the sheriff's department have higher priority items they could be dealing with.

I have nothing against police and in fact the M/C club I ride with are mostly made up of police or deputies, and on our group rides, where safe to do so, rolling stops at intersections are the norm so as to not get split up.

I decided not to pay the ticket and took the option to go to court. This afternoon was the court date and when I got there, I found 28 others that decided to contest it as well and they were all discussing how ridiculous it was. There were a dozen sheriff's deputies there as well.

When the judge found out how many people were there for the same violation, he conferred with the attorneys and prosecutor and I overheard him say that he had to take his son to the airport at 4:45 and he wouldn't have time to handle each case separately.

He took a short recess and came back and offered the option to let people pay only court costs of $60 and not have any conviction on their driving record. To me, that seemed to confirm it was just a money grab.

I was the only one that opted to continue to trial just over the principal of the matter. Unfortunately for me the judge followed the letter of the law saying when there are no markings you must come to a complete stop as close to the stop sign as possible. I didn't do that so therefore I was guilty. Total cost to me $128 and it will go on my driving record.

Will it change how I drive or ride? No.

I knew I didn't follow the letter of the law but I had hoped that the judge would find me not guilty out of fairness to send a message that those tickets added no extra safety for the citizens in the city and maybe they should focus on higher priorities.

Frustrating to hear on the news about the shortage of officers to handle the criminal activity in our area. Frustrating to watch how some of the officers drive themselves; rarely any turn signals when changing lanes; frequent speeding; etc. I am all for fining people that are endangering lives while driving. As motorcyclists, I suspect in general that we are more aware of traffic and safety while riding or driving the general public. This served no purpose other than to generate revenue for our local government - pathetic.

Rant over.

(If you took the time to read this long post - thanks!)
 

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Some times it pays to go with the flow. Since you were probably the only one to fight, when you got your turn, he had to make a case for the law.
If you had enough money and time to invest, you could probably keep fighting and win, but it would never be worth it.-2$en#e-
 

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Ironbutt
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I agree that what they were doing is wrong but you should have took the deal. You know what they say "you can't fight city hall." Not unless you have deep pockets anyway.
 

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Hindsight is......well ya know.....^rolleyez^

Should've taken the deal....#[email protected]
 

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When I read stuff like that it seems to have an effect on me such that I have to tell myself to calm down. Too bad the Judge didn't find that something bad happened to him. Who cares if his kid this or that? He is paid for a job. Damn this sort of stuff gets me riles up. Thats all I should say... Why does society put up with it?
 

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The same sort of thing happened to me way back when (85) on I40 between Nashville & Memphis. ATT the speed limit was 55 and I was driving a rental truck coming from Jacksonville, FL to Memphis (my new duty station). The local sheriff's department had officers sitting just over the top of a pretty steep grade, (You know the ones, where you have to throttle up just to get to the top and maintain speed so when you go over the top, you are now exceeding the limit for just a few seconds) I came over the top and was doing 62 MPH, I along with a bunch of others (as you said as many as the officers could handle) were pulled over and issued a full on speeding ticket. IIRC, it was $80.00 plus. I tried to explain to the officer that if it hadn't been at the top of that hill there is no way that that truck would have gone over 60, it was all I could do to maintain 55 MPH. Tell it to the Judge, kind of attitude. Well, seeing as I was about 100 miles away, I wasn't going to come back (and they knew that) so I paid the ticket and have fumed over it since. I had already gotten stopped in Atlanta for 1 tail light out (I believe that officer figured I was hauling dope, or was just an Ass from the way he acted towards me) he followed me to the nearest exit and ensured that I got a taillight and installed it before I could move on. Oh, what a wonderful trip. :)
It sucks that they made an example of you, but I have seen judges throw out bogus tickets though, so it was worth a shot.
 

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90% of cops give the other 10% a bad name.
To all the LEOs on this forum I am sure you are in the 10% category.
 

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05 Deuce
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Discussion Starter #8
I was hoping that the other 28 people would have opted not to take the deal and make them go through 29 separate trials to make a point of what a waste of time it was. If it would have tied up the judge and the court it might have been more effective. I certainly understand why someone would have taken his deal though and I don't fault them for that. I'm a CPA, not an attorney and they clearly made the best business decision. I guess I am just an idealist that believes justice should be served....having to pay one penny by any of the people charged was injustice in my mind.
 

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Fred1369 said:
90% of cops give the other 10% a bad name.
To all the LEOs on this forum I am sure you are in the 10% category.
Fred - I hope you got your numbers backward by mistake. If not, to imply that 90% of the LEO's aren't doing what they should be is a greatly exaggerated statement.

Next time you're on an interstate highway, drive the speed limit and see how fast you get sucked under. I have little patience for anyone that gets nailed for a moving violation and then beefs about it...don't run stop signs / lights, don't speed and then you don't have to worry about it - period. Are there a few bad cops? Sure there are, just as there are bad plumbers, bad sales people, bad doctors, etc., etc.. How many azzholes w/ an attitude do you think the average LEO in a decent size city has to deal with every day? I would venture to say, more than 99.9% of us have to, and the majority of them handle it in a productive way.

BTW, I am not an LEO, and I do drive past the speed limit and I do roll through some stop signs...but if I get caught, I get caught - period.

Rant over...
 

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05 Deuce
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Discussion Starter #12
I mentioned before that I am a member of a M/C with mostly law enforcement employees as members. About half of them are deputies with the department that issued me the ticket. I have respect for their job and what they have to put up with. I worked as a customs agent for three years and know what dealing with the general public can be like....and those were mainly tourists...not like some of the dregs that police have to deal with in a city like Memphis. At club meetings I listen to their complaints about some of the decisions of the higher ups in the department.

When I was pulled over I was polite and didn't act like an azz. I never mentioned..."I know deputy so & so", etc. like a lot of people do trying to get out of a ticket. My complaint isn't with the individual officers. As noted in one of the posts above, there are some that get a little carried away with the power that they have but they are in the minority. The % of bad ones is probably similar to most occupations and they do have to put up with a lot of crap; especially in this city.

My complaint is with the decision makers that decided it would make sense to use the resources of the department to set up at that particular stop sign. It didn't make the streets any safer; it was simply a convenient place for them to set up where they knew they would get a lot of violaters.
 

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garchele said:
I stopped about three car lengths back from the stop sign as there was traffic in front of me also turning right. I then proceeded slowly to make a right turn when I, along with at least 6 other vehicles, was pulled over.
Just so I understand this, did you stop the three car lengths back from the stop sign because there was traffic backed up in front of you (others ahead of you that were already stopped for the sign) and then you began to drive those three car lengths through the sign while making a right turn without stopping for the sign?

I may have read this wrong, but by your statement, it looks like you did not stop for the sign when it was your turn to finally pull up to it.
 

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"Jane you ignorant slut!"
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It would have been fun to have a sign and stand by the intersection telling people they would receive a ticket for not coming to a stop and derail their operation.

But I think you can get in trouble doing that, something about obstruction of justice, true.

Chris
 

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Cops speeding, rolling through stop signs?????? HeII, the cops in Detroit don't even stop for red lights.
 

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garchele said:
My complaint is with the decision makers that decided it would make sense to use the resources of the department to set up at that particular stop sign. It didn't make the streets any safer; it was simply a convenient place for them to set up where they knew they would get a lot of violaters.
and as a result...possibly teach a lot of violators that violating the law isnt a good idea...now does that make it a flawed plan? think some of the large number of violators might think twice before rolling a stop sign in the future?

actually....rolling a stop sign in plain view of multiple law enforcement officers and believing you can beat it in court after being offered a deal that involves no lasting penalty for a small fee is questionable logic at best.

the guy who ran me down at an intersection by running a stop sign in front of my bike travelling at 55 mph fought his ticket with some very confident statements to the judge...got the maximum penalty and a suspended license when he could have just paid a failure to yield ticket and walked away. guess he wasnt expecting me to be out of the hospital and standing (the same week i learned to walk again) in court across from him when he fought it. maybe we could hook you 2 up to compare notes.
 

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05 Deuce
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Discussion Starter #17
Retrax said:
Just so I understand this, did you stop the three car lengths back from the stop sign because there was traffic backed up in front of you (others ahead of you that were already stopped for the sign) and then you began to drive those three car lengths through the sign while making a right turn without stopping for the sign?

I may have read this wrong, but by your statement, it looks like you did not stop for the sign when it was your turn to finally pull up to it.
You are correct, I didn't stop when it was my turn to, I could have but didn't. That is where I broke the letter of the law. I was going less than 5 mph as even the officer who stopped me testified in court. I had a clear view to the front and left from more than ten car lengths back. It is a flat field with no trees or other obstructions where the road comes from on the left side. There were no houses built yet, just leveled for a subdivision with the newly paved marked streets in.

There wouldn't even have been a backup of cars except for the pulling of people over. They pulled the two cars in front of me over too. I could see this as I was waiting to turn. I thought they were doing routine safety/seatbelt checks.

I have attached pictures of the stop sign and the view to the left from where I was stopped. I also have an "after picture" when they painted the lines and now allow a right turn without even a yield.
 

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05 Deuce
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Discussion Starter #18
tomv said:
and as a result...possibly teach a lot of violators that violating the law isnt a good idea...now does that make it a flawed plan? think some of the large number of violators might think twice before rolling a stop sign in the future?

actually....rolling a stop sign in plain view of multiple law enforcement officers and believing you can beat it in court after being offered a deal that involves no lasting penalty for a small fee is questionable logic at best.

the guy who ran me down at an intersection by running a stop sign in front of my bike travelling at 55 mph fought his ticket with some very confident statements to the judge...got the maximum penalty and a suspended license when he could have just paid a failure to yield ticket and walked away. guess he wasnt expecting me to be out of the hospital and standing (the same week i learned to walk again) in court across from him when he fought it. maybe we could hook you 2 up to compare notes.
I am not advocating the running of stop signs. I am advocating the use of common sense. There are several stop signs where if you stop where the sign is or where the line is, as the law requires, you still don't have a clear view. In those cases you might have to inch forward and maybe stop a few times until you can see the intersection is clear. As you can see in the pictures I posted you have a clear view well before the stop sign, the traffic approaching in all other directions had a stop sign and the speed limit was 30 mph. Actually the way the intersection is signed now, there is not even a yield requirement.

Sorry to hear that you were hit by someone running a stop sign. I don't know the particulars of your situation but it sounds like the guy breezed through into an intersection that crossed over a road with a 55 mph speed limit. He obviously didn't check to see that the intersection was clear and he caused a wreck with injury. I'm glad he ended up with the penalty he did.

I hardly think both cases are the same. I would be more than happy seeing the police watch and patrol the more dangerous intersections. I doubt that their enforcement of that sign I violated changed very many persons driving habits. If anthing it likely garnered more disdain for the police.
 

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garchele said:
You are correct, I didn't stop when it was my turn to, I could have but didn't. That is where I broke the letter of the law. I was going less than 5 mph as even the officer who stopped me testified in court. I had a clear view to the front and left from more than ten car lengths back. It is a flat field with no trees or other obstructions where the road comes from on the left side. There were no houses built yet, just leveled for a subdivision with the newly paved marked streets in.

There wouldn't even have been a backup of cars except for the pulling of people over. They pulled the two cars in front of me over too. I could see this as I was waiting to turn. I thought they were doing routine safety/seatbelt checks.

I have attached pictures of the stop sign and the view to the left from where I was stopped. I also have an "after picture" when they painted the lines and now allow a right turn without even a yield.
Dude you ran a stop sign end of subject, dont matter what they did the next day or hour after you received the summons. The clear to the left ,front ,side no trees is not relevant at all to the situation. The sign is there you see several cars being pulled thinking its a routine safety/ seatbelt check and you roll thru the stop? :huh:
 

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05 Deuce
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Discussion Starter #20
Fxsts103ci said:
Dude you ran a stop sign end of subject, dont matter what they did the next day or hour after you received the summons. The clear to the left ,front ,side no trees is not relevant at all to the situation. The sign is there you see several cars being pulled thinking its a routine safety/ seatbelt check and you roll thru the stop? :huh:
Again, the point I am trying to make, is not whether or not I stopped. I didn't stop. I did break the law. The other people that got pulled over would have easily seen the deputies and their cars parked and waving people over as well.

My point is that, in my opinion, I thought it was a ridiculous waste of police resources in a city that could use better crime enforcement or even better traffic enforcement in areas that hold some particular danger if a violation is made.
 
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