Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Speeding Tickets

In the twenty-odd years that I've been around Germany (off and on)....I've gotten a total of two speeding tickets.  Oddly, both have occurred in the same village and within the past twelve months.  Today, the second ticket came in the mail.

Back in the 1980s....you'd usually have a German cop with a speed-gun and he trip you up on some curve.  Whatever he said....was the final word.  He'd write out a ticket and you'd usually just pay him on the spot.

At some point in the late 1980s....blitz cameras became very popular.  You'd go out as a community, village, or city, and do a contract.  The camera would be installed and the shots would be recorded on film and the cops would develop the film and check the database....mailing you the photo and the fine. Around fifteen years ago....the cameras all started to go digital.

In Wiesbaden now, where there were five or six cameras in the 1980s....there must be near 30 cameras now.

In my little village of 4,000 people....zero cameras.  It's one of those topics that no one wants to have come up....no one wants cameras.

But over the hill, into the next big suburb of 20,000 people, there's four cameras now set up....on each access road into the city.  For a long time, the main entry that I would take to enter that village would be set at 50 kph (31 mph).  About 300 feet past the 'welcome' sign to the village, is that blitz camera.

Well, back in early April, this village went and did an unusual thing.....they reset the speed as you enter the village.....from 50 kph to 30 kph (18 mph).  I never noticed the speed sign change, and blasted through at a few klicks less than the 50...then I saw the flash of light.

The ticket today?  15 Euro fine.

I'm guessing since April, the village there has picked up at least 6,000 speeding tickets.  Some were 15 Euro, and some were 50 Euro.

The thing that bothers me is that I went years without getting a speeding ticket in Germany.  The first ticket?  About a year ago, entering this same village.....I was doing 54 in a 50-zone....same deal....another 15-Euro fine.  It's like a magnet now....I can feel a slight anxiety as I enter this one particular village.  I'm watching for every single speed sign in anticipation of another change....going down in speed, and catching me once again.

1 comment:

Jess Short said...

Try driving in Niedersachsen, it seems like every village has a few blitz cameras. Even in 70 and 100 zones. I got nailed a few months ago 74 in a 70 zone, which means I was doing about 80 on my speedo. A momentary lapse in attention can be costly. I wish they would put one in front of my house.