Mar 052009

We spent some time yesterday installing a wireless backup camera in my cousin Beverly’s car. Bev has some real problems with arthritis, and twisting around in the seat of her car to see behind her as she backed out of parking spaces was a real problem for her.

As with any project we undertake, Miss Terry did most of the work. She spent over 20 years running commercial glass shops, doing a lot of automotive work. So removing the plastic covering on the inside of Bev’s Trail Blazer so she could run the power wires for the camera was a piece of cake for Terry. One of the few things I know how to do is a little bit of electrical work, so I hooked up the wiring so the camera comes on when the car is put in reverse, and then we put everything back together.

The hardest part was attaching the camera to the license plate mount. Arizona has a new law saying you cannot cover the state name on a license plate with a frame or any other device, so we could not mount the camera through the two top bolts that hold the license plate in place. The two holes at the bottom of the plate led to rubber inserts in the tailgate, and it was a bear to get the screws to tighten up. Finally Miss Terry rummaged through her pile of goodies and came up with some vinyl inserts that would take the screws.

Not content to show off her mechanical skills, Terry cleaned up and then prepared a delicious homemade lasagna dinner. Yummy!

After Bev left, we needed to run to the store, and as I turned onto the Interstate 10 frontage road, I noticed a Highway Patrol car following close behind me. Then he flipped on his overhead lights. I knew I was not speeding, so I thought maybe I had a turn signal out or something.

Once I had pulled over, the officer walked up to Terry’s window, since there was no shoulder and I was in the right lane, in rush hour traffic. I asked what I had done wrong, and he told me my license plate sticker was expired, because it said 08 on it.

I was sure we had current registration, and mentioned that we are due to renew in August, the 8th month of the year. In South Dakota, where we are registered, the month you expire is printed in large numbers on your sticker, and the year is smaller and on the side of the sticker.

The officer took our registration, walked back to the rear of the van and confirmed that we have a valid sticker, then returned to say that yes, we were legal, but it sure wasn’t an “officer friendly” way to do things, and that he was going to write us a warning ticket to record the traffic stop. So I got a warning ticket for an “obscured license plate.” No fine or court action involved, just a warning. Hey, warn the folks in Pierre! I didn’t design the van’s sticker, I just drive the darned thing!

I had a similar incident several years ago, when we used the Escapees in Livingston, Texas as our home address. In Texas, the registration sticker goes in the bottom left corner of your windshield.

We were visiting Terry’s grandkids in Wyoming when a policeman pulled me over because I didn’t have a sticker on my license plate. I showed him the sticker on my windshield, and he insisted that it belonged on the license plate. The Texas sticker is large than a wallet sized photograph and would cover a good portion of the license plate. I happened to have the paperwork that came with our registration in the glove box, including the instructions to “display in lower left corner of windshield.”

The officer read that, then called his supervisor, who arrived with another officer. The sergeant actually had the dispatcher call someone in Texas to confirm that I had the sticker in the correct place. Finally they handed my drivers license back to me, told me “your state has a dumb way of doing things” and sent me on my way. Your tax dollars at work.

I appreciate everybody who visited my new Todays Hero Blog and sent e-mails saying how much you enjoy it. I hope you’ll become regular readers, and share some of your heroes with the rest of us.

Thought For The Day – There is no achievement without goals.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “I Just Drive The Darned Thing!”

  1. Shoot Nick, That policeman was not concerned about your tags. It was just his “excuse” to pull you over and take a look. You might have had aliens inside there. I too have been pulled over for no reason, especially when in an out of state sports car. I knew why I was checked. Did not matter to me. I always pull over, put both my hands out of the window and don’t move until I am told. I smile during the entire questioning, even when the officer might get a bit smart. I find it’s hard for most cops to ticket me when I am being overly nice, even when I deserve a ticket. After riding with so many policemen during my career I know the routine.

  2. Hey Nick, for the policeman a ticket was a better option than saying I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware of the requirements for South Dakota, have a nice day. The latter response kinda lacks in that authoritarian approach.

  3. It works both ways, Nick. In Indiana we have been questioned about “expired SD plates” because they have their year large instead of the month. Our Indiana apartment manager got stopped coming across Montana or one of the Dakotas a few years ago for having expired plates. He had just gotten his new registration, showed the officer, and was on his way.

    I guess it’d be asking too much for them to all coordinate.


  4. Nick,
    Did you have a license plate holder that was obstructing the complete sticker ?

  5. I find that the words “I’m sorry” or “sorry” is the hardest words for any man to say!!Enough said…….

  6. In Casa Grande, Arizona, we were pulled over for obstucting traffic because we were driving in the left lane. The only traffic behind us was the cop who’d done a u-turn to get there. When we explained we were on our way to Denny’s and didn’t want to be in the right lane for a left turn he actually said, “My error. Have a nice breakfast.” So it’s not impossible for a cop to say, “Sorry.”

  7. I read with GREAT interest about your “too nice comment ” about the cop in AZ. We too have SD license, and agree that I wouldn’t do it that way!!! Good for you that “BAD NICK” didn’t come out—– I think BAD JAKE might have!!!!

  8. It is good to see that the Ridgelys have both sides of this issued covered (grin).

  9. Mouthing off to cops is one of those things friends don’t let friends do. Some people might get away with it but you can bet I wouldn’t be one of them. Too bad they can’t act like people. I have to admit though that being a cop has to be a really stressful, crappy job at times. My wife’s first husband was a cop for a while and because he was fairly small he was always coming home all messed up.

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