Car and Driver’s Juiciest Traffic Tickets - Feature

>> Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We don’t hire sociopaths, we don’t condone socially irresponsible behavior, and all of our published performance figures are obtained on a closed test facility. But we do drive a number of high-powered cars in any given year, and not always at the track. Trying to keep some of our test cars under the speed limit on public streets can feel like sleeping in the world’s finest bordello and having the madam tell you that all you can do is look the girls in the eye and say “how do you do?”

As you might imagine, we don’t always listen to those instructions. And sometimes, the madam catches us in the act. Read on for a sample of our better traffic-ticket stories, and watch for more as we make this a semi-regular feature on Don’t try this at home.

Two For the Price of… Two

I’ve collected plenty of tickets over the years, but this one has always stood tall in the landscape of my memory. It was 1974, I was driving a rental Ford in northern New Mexico on I-25, headed for Denver’s Stapleton Airport, and I was running a little late.

Traffic was all but non-existent and I was pushing the car—a Ford LTD—along at about 90 mph. This was in the early days of the national 55-mph speed limit, passed as part of the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, signed into law on January 2 of that year.

Drivers, of course, hated it, and most ignored it. Cops and municipalities in need of revenue loved it. And there happened to be a cop sitting at the top of an on-ramp as I whistled by. He wrote me for all of it—90 mph. I didn’t kick, scream, or plead, because the clock was ticking, and I didn’t want to hear any more trooper rap about speed kills and fuel conservation and so on. I didn’t want to go to jail, either.

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