Me and the Islamorada District Sheriff

This entry is part 8 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

I really never thought that something like this would happen to me. But life goes its own way and it happened. Since last week, I’m not longer a stranger for the Islamorada District Sheriff!

I already told you that I went out with the Jeep to get familiar with the Keys environment and this time I got familiar with the American law. So let me start with a short lesson in American law.

Florida Statutes

316.126 Operation of vehicles and actions of pedestrians on approach of authorized emergency vehicle.—

(1)(b) When an authorized emergency vehicle making use of any visual signals is parked, the driver of every other vehicle, as soon as it is safe:

  1. Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
  2. Shall slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, when driving on a two-lane road, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.

And that’s exactly the situation I went through last week. Driving back home from the Key Largo pool, I passed an authorized emergency vehicle making use of visual signals parked on the right site of the street. I was driving on the right lane, so the lance closest to the emergency vehicle. My first reaction was to slow down my speed but I didn’t change the lane (as I didn’t know the existing law 316). The posted speed was 45mph and I still had 32 mph (after the slow down) instead of 25mph.

As soon as I had passed the emergency vehicle, it followed me. In the beginning I didn’t even realize that the police car was chasing me. When I finally realized it, I stopped and the sheriff wanted to see my driving license and the papers for the Jeep. He decided not to give me a ticket for speeding (as I didn’t know about the law) but he had to give me a ticket for breaking the law 316 as he already had told it on radio to the local district central.

All that wouldn’t have been so bad, only expensive! But controlling the papers for the Jeep, the troubles began again because the tax for the Jeep had expired. So that meant another ticket.

Sitting in the Jeep waiting for the sheriff to get my driving license, the papers for the Jeep and the tickets back, I was telling to myself: “Why did I not take my digital photo camera with me today? What a picture this had been – Nicolas busted by the police!”

So what do we learn from this story?

  • never forget to renew the tax for our car by time,
  • don’t speed in the Florida Keys and
  • always take your digital photo camera with you!