Passenger Poll

Lately, I’ve noticed what is becoming a time-honored tradition during traffic stops. Polling your passenger(s). This is how it works:

1. I stop you for speeding.
2. You stare at me gobsmacked (you’re welcome UK readers).
3. You look to your compatriot in the passenger seat.
4. I start to shake my head
5. You ask the question, “Do you think I was going that fast?”
Let me take this opportunity to educate you on a few things. Your passenger doesn’t have the first clue about how fast you were going. Be honest with yourself for a second. When you’re sitting in the shotgun seat, how often are you monitoring the driver’s speed? Occasionally? Seldom? Never?
Fine, we’ll say you’ve a pit boss in your car monitoring your speed every second for the best possible lap time. Sure. Is your pit boss your 12 year old son?
Asking your pre-teen/teenager if they think you were speeding is not only ridiculous, I’m going to go ahead and say it makes you a lousy parent…at least in this instance. What are you teaching your kid right now? Are you teaching them that the police are trustworthy men/women of their word? Or are you teaching them that police randomly harass the public? Do you think you’re a shining example of personal responsibility when you lie to an officer? Gee, do you think little Johnny/Susie will file this little episode away for future use when they get into trouble at school?
The bottom line is I don’t think (nor will I be easily convinced otherwise) that your passenger, be they adult or a minor, is paying attention to your speed. I’ll buy that they may glance over every once in a while for some random reason, but it isn’t their job to keep you in check. And the odds they glanced at your speedometer right when I see you speeding? Infinitesimal.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

18 thoughts on “Passenger Poll

  1. Gotta love people.

    Last time I got pulled over for speeding, my response was "Oh shit. Sorry. I'm tired and just wanted to be home already. Here's my license, registration & proof of insurance."

    He gave me a ticket. I paid it. Not gonna contest it when it's my fault. *shrug*

  2. I am a horrible, horrible passenger. So I look at the speedometer quite frequently when my husband is driving. But I agree that questioning a police officer to your kid is a bad idea. Not as bad, however, as trying to make your kids actively fear the police, which I've seen too. ("Do what I say or I'll have that officer there arrest you.")

  3. Sabra…

    I can see your point. I am not the best passenger, either. I think the bottom line is if your husband (or my wife) got stopped would they A) ask our opinion on speed and B) would we answer honestly.

    The Wife wouldn't ask me…and if she did, she knows I'd probably laugh and rat her out. 🙂

  4. When I'm driving my husband watches my speed & I watch his when he's driving. We certainly can't afford a speeding ticket (not to mention the points on our licenses)and ya know what? Sometimes we just plain aren't paying enough attention to the speedometer and we're going a little too fast. All we say to each other is "watch your speed" or "the speed limit is… through here" and whomever is driving checks themselves. (No nagging, no bitching about who's speeding.) If one of us does get stopped because our system has broken down for whatever reason then we deserve to get a ticket. If the officer is debating on whether to give us a break on his way to the car, asking someone who is not qualified to give a professional estimation of speed if the officer is correct isn't going to do us any favors. People who do SHOULD get a ticket- just on principle. People are the dumbest breed of animal on the planet.

  5. I used to love it when the people did that on Speeders because if the guy and the chick had been fighting before they were stopped, she would rat him out every time. "Officer, I told him to slow down but he wouldn't listen!" Gawd, I miss that show.

  6. "Are you teaching them that the police are trustworthy men/women of their word? Or are you teaching them that police randomly harass the public?"

    Yet how many times on here have you posted about giving a citizen a bit of harassment during a stop because you felt like harassing them or giving them a hard time?

  7. Mark…

    To the best of my recollection, I don't recall ever saying that I stop someone for the sake of harassing them. Quite the contrary, actually…it's right in the title of the blog.

    There is a difference between giving someone the "business" and harassing them.

  8. While arguing with the cop on the spot is rarely a prudent decision, especially with an unconvincing method like asking your passenger, teaching your children that it's good to stand up to authority (where the parent honestly thinks the cop is in the wrong) is an immensely valuable lesson.

  9. This is one reason why I prefer a manual transmission and won't drive anything else. It's much harder to speed unintentionally. With a stick, you can hear if you're going too fast.

  10. To add on a response to Mark, if I were going to just give you a talking to, I wouldn't write the ticket. Its one or the other. With that said, I wouldn't want to take up your time for a just a warning.

  11. heh heh heh – correct use of "gobsmacked" – 10 points to the nice police person 🙂

    [Downunder & frequent Gobsmack-ee]

  12. Too right, as usual. It's all part of today's society and its lack of personal responsibilty.
    And thanks for the UK mention…

  13. When you're sitting in the shotgun seat, how often are you monitoring the driver's speed?

    Very often, especially if Fred is driving.

    Mad Jack: You oughtta take it easy through here Fred… there's kids.
    Fred: I am taking it easy!
    MJ: Speed limit's 35. Just sayin'.
    Fred: Don't worry about it.
    MJ: Look, slow down before you hit somebody.
    Fred: You wanna drive?
    MJ: Yes.
    Fred: Okay, next time you drive. Right now I'm driving, so you just mind your own business.
    MJ: Sure thing. So when you finally fuck up and kill some little kid because you're doing 55 in a 35, I'll just stay quiet and let you explain to his mother all about how you couldn't stop in time.
    Fred: Fuck off.
    MJ: Say, wasn't that a cop down that street over there?
    Fred: What?!
    MJ: Yep, there he is behind us. Look in the mirror, he's tailgating us. Now he's talking on his radio. He's probably running your plates.
    Fred: Hey, stop looking at him!
    MJ: I'll bet he's going to – there go the lights! He gotcha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
    Fred: Fuck…
    MJ: Say, what are you going to tell your dad about this one? Didn't he say he'd take your keys if you got one more ticket?
    Fred: Fuck…

    Actually Fred (not his real name) did slow down after that ticket. It wasn't that Fred was a bad sort of person – he wasn't and isn't – he was just a lousy driver. Plus, he was encouraged to speed by listening to all the big mouth geniuses in high school.

    Me, I didn't get a speeding ticket until I was well over 40 years old.

  14. Asking the passenger for back-up is a sign of desperation. Unless it's a digital speedometer most are set up for an acurate view by the driver not the passenger.

  15. I"m with Aaron, I tend to go faster than I would like with an automatic if I'm not constantly paying attention to my speed. With the manual, I know I'm good depending on what gear I'm in.

    I do look at other people speedometer, probably more often than the driver. If my friend get a ticket for speeding, I would laugh at them. If my s.o. get a ticket for speeding, I'll keep my mouth shut.

  16. "When I'm driving my husband watches my speed & I watch his when he's driving."

    Same here. Though, depending on the car, the view from the passenger seat can be up to (ime) 5 miles off.

  17. Last time I got pulled over with a kid in the car, the first thing I said to my 12yo son (before the LEO arrived at the window) was "I wonder what I did". I really didn't know.

    The kid was nervous. I told him to relax, that I got stopped by one of the Good Guys because something was amiss that I needed to know about, and they don't do it for nothing.

    Lo and behold, expired tags. Honestly didn't know. No excuse.

    Told the kid, in front of the officer, as much. Thanked the officer for letting me know, and that I had no defense against a legitimately-issued cite.

    He let me go. Got new tags the next morning.

    I like to think that the way I handled it was diametrically opposite to your tale…… which probably had something to do with getting just a warning.

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