Recently, I wrote a story about how nearly two-thirds of speeders in Sterling are caught on the one-way Third and Fourth streets.
How did I come up with the topic?
My own experience.
In December, I got a speeding ticket on Third Street and 17th Avenue. Just 2 months later, I was caught again in the area where westbound traffic on East Lincolnway flows into Fourth Street. Both times I was going 41 mph in a 30-mph zone.
I should have known better. After all, I had seen cops patrolling these areas before, and our paper’s Sterling police blotter has long included many entries on Third and Fourth streets for all kinds of traffic offenses.
Both of my infractions occurred while I was on duty. Unfortunately, I don’t have any cool story to explain my lead foot. No, I wasn’t rushing to some big fire.
The first time, I was headed back to work from an interview. Why was I breaking the speed limit to get to my cubicle?
The second time, I was headed to an interview with Jim Jackson, the road commissioner for Harmon Township. To be sure, it was an interesting interview, getting the perspective of someone who maintains country roads. But I certainly didn’t need to speed to get there.
My offenses were no secret. Both made our newspaper’s police blotter, as do all ticket recipients in Sterling. I wrote about my experiences in my blog.
A few months ago, our HR manager put on mandatory sessions about safe driving techniques. The message: The bosses care how we drive. During the session I attended, some of my co-workers snickered at me.
There was no denying the tickets happened during work hours, but my editor never called me in for one of those got-a-minute talks (not about speeding, anyhow).
Perhaps I’ll never get such a lecture now. In April, our publisher, Trevis Mayfield, was caught speeding at the very same intersection as my first stop. I’m not sure what he was rushing to, but we had no major fires that day.
Now, I’m watching my speedometer closely. And I notice the posted speed limits along the way. They say dire consequences happen when you get your third speeding ticket within a year’s time.
Some recipients of tickets complain that police should spend their time on major crimes. But the truth is, the authorities often catch the big fish committing relatively small infractions.
Keep in mind that Al Capone of organized crime fame didn’t get in trouble for that. He was thrown in prison for tax evasion.
David Giuliani is a reporter for Sauk Valley Media. He can be reached at dgiuliani@saukvalley or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525.