Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brake Tag Mania

Preface: Louisiana has a ridiculous law that requires all cars to carry an inspection sticker otherwise known as a brake tag. Each year, every car registered in Louisiana must go to an "inspection station" and pass inspection to receive this years brake tag. Now, these "inspection stations" (i.e. little old men in a shack on the property of a car wash/gas station/etc) have been known to do as little as look at the car and as much as actually get in your car and punch the brakes to be sure they work.

So on Monday, I was supposed to have lunch with my Mom. She works in Mandeville which means I had to cross the Causeway to get to her (which for those of you who don't know, is a 26 mile bridge). Anyway, I was in a fabulous mood because I had just gotten a job interview. So as I'm singing along to Lady Gaga (and not speeding!) I see a police car pull out of one of the turnarounds. No big deal, I'm not speeding or doing anything illegal. But don't you just know, that police car pulls up behind me and puts on her lights. Crap. Over the megaphone "Get into the left lane and pull over into the next turnaround." (Again, 26 mile bridge. Every few miles there is a "turnaround" that connects the two sides of the bridge for, I guess turning around, or instances such as this.) Anyway, the next turnaround wasn't for several miles so I had to drive (with hands firmly planted and 10 and 2 mind you) with this police woman and her flashing lights right behind me. Rather disconcerting. So we finally make it to the turnaround and pull in. The officer walks over the the car and asks me if I know why I was pulled over. My response..."Uhhh." She tells me I have an expired brake tag and expired registration (I actually do have the registration sticker, and the registration, but someone, ahem, broke the sticker so I had just been keeping it in my car rather than putting the sticker on my license plate). Crap. So I give her my license, registration, and insurance. What's that you say, Ms. Police Officer? My insurance card is expired. Great. Well the lovely police officer cited me only for the expired brake tag and warned me to get it all taken care of immediately. Yes ma'am. I'm on it like shit on velcro. I continue on and have a lovely lunch with my mother.

Tuesday I go straight to my Dad's to get my insurance card before running any other errands. Totally the dutiful citizen right?! I got pulled over on the street I live on. Sigh. I got stopped by a cop who was camped out at the snowball stand down the road! So he walks up to my car and asks if I know why I've been pulled over. "Because I have an expired brake tag and registration......" He seemed surprised that I knew. I explained about the stop and ticket from yesterday and also that I'm literally blocks from my home on my way to my parents' house to get my insurance card. He takes all my papers and goes back to his car to "see what he can do." Mr. Police Officer comes back to let me know that he's just going to give me a warning today (yay!)...but that I must get these things taken care of immediately. Yes, sir. I'm on it like shit on velcro. He also so kindly informed me that driving around with an expired insurance card (even if the insurance is, in fact, current) is grounds to have your car towed. Well thank you, sir, for not towing my car. 

So after a search around the house both that afternoon and in the evening when my dad got home, we came to the conclusion that we did not, in fact, have a clue where my insurance card was. Crap. So we email the insurance agent who sends us a pdf copy of the card the next day which I promptly print out and head off to go get my brake tag. It started to rain about halfway there and I didn't think anything of it. I should have. I was curtly informed by the man in the shack (see Preface above) that you could not get a brake tag while it was wet or raining. Crap. I returned today, in the sunshine, to get my God-forsaken brake tag.

So now I'm totally legal. Registration sticker on the plate? Check. Insurance? Check. Brake tag? Check. Well that was a fun week.

NOTE: I really do appreciate police officers and all they do...I just don't like when I'm the one getting pulled over. ;)

1 comment:

  1. When Emily and I were on spring break in 09 she got pulled over while driving my car. The reason: my license tag frame was covering my sticker. He said it was illegal in the state of Florida. We were actually speeding (77 in a 70) but that didn't even come up. He was just very concerned about the tag. I think he was really hoping to pull over to young girls in car and hoping we were underage with alcohol. But seeming how we were both over age, with no alcohol, and her mom was in the car, it was his unlucky day. He made me take the frame off on the side of the interstate and the said "I'm letting you go with a warning". How dumb was that?