I wrote a couple week back (see here) about how increasingly Draconian punishments for relatively minor – and purely statutory (i.e., involving no harm to others) traffic offenses – for example, a “reckless driving” cite for nothing more than traveling over 80 MPH, or more than 20 MPH faster thanany speed limit – are giving drivers an incentive to flee rather than pull over. Why not? On the one hand, there’s the sure thing of a huge fine, a likely mandatory court appearance, possible jail time, almost certain loss of license and guaranteed doubling in cost of your state-mandated extortion (insurance) for the next 3-5 years. . . On the other hand, freedom from all of that – at the risk of doubling down.
I don’t recommend it – but I do understand it.
But, before you think about trying to Bo and Luke ol’ Roscoe P. Coltrane – who has morphed into a PTS’D Officer 82nd Airborne and swapped his never-to-be-fired-in anger six-shooter for a hair-trigger Glock 40 - keep in mind the following:
If you don’t get away – if they do catch you – you will be going to jail.
And, you may stay there for awhile. In most states, “eluding” or “attempting to elude” a cop is at least a major misdemeanor – and can be a felony. In my home state (VA), the very least you’ll be charged with is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, which carries a potential six month stay in Hotel Graybar. They may also charge you with a Class 6 Felony – a serious bust with severe immediate ramifications – not less than 1 year in the clink/$2,500 fine – and daunting lifelong repercussions: You’ll be a convicted felon for the rest of your life and as such, de-barred possession of firearms, among other things.
You might also wreck and hurt yourself – or someone else. That’s not something you want on your conscience.
Also, know yourself – and respect your limits. This sort of thing requires a higher-than-average skill set as a wheelman – and the steady nerves to go with it. If you’re not a very good driver – and very calm under pressure – do not attempt.
Bottom line: Think carefully about making a break for it – and be aware of and prepared for the consequences. It is not something to be done lightly. And if done at all, only do it when the odds are stacked in your favor.
You’ve got “the drop” on the cop.
Classic scenario: You’re on the highway, running 80-ish . . . along with everyone else. Even though the speed limit is 70, you know that the 82 you’re running is statutory “reckless driving.” You pass a cop in a cut-out, obviously running radar. You glance in your rearview, see him turn on his lights or some other clue that he’s coming after you. Bad news.
But – the good news – you’re already moving at 80-plus and he is hardly moving at all. You know it will take him at least a critical minute or two to enter the highway from the cut-out and get up to speed – and get behind you. There are lots of other cars he must bob and weave around to reach you, too.
You’ve got “the drop” on the cop. The odds are stacked in your favor.
You’ll be out of his immediate sight for a few precious moments and given that you passed him doing 80-plus while hewas stationary, it is extremely unlikely he was able to see more than color, make and model. Certainly not your plate numbers. *