All this for rolling a stop sign?

Brenna McNamara

Late for class, I anxiously sat at the East Summit traffic light last Friday, waiting to turn left into the Bowman parking lot. There were numerous cars in front of me. Many ran the yellow and red lights, so as not to wait for another three minutes before the next green. There was block-up because cars across the intersection continually did the same yellow- and red-light running in order to go straight.

I noticed a cop car behind me, disregarded it and whipped the wheel left before the light turned yellow.

To my surprise and embarrassment, I heard the nails-on-chalkboard sound: “Whoop whoop.” When the officer approached my car, I didn’t hesitate and wait for him to ask if I knew why I was being pulled over. I immediately asked what the problem was.

Apparently, I had rolled a stop sign at the intersection of South Lincoln and College streets. The officer said he had been waiting for a good chance to pull me over. This was 10 minutes after the infraction.

Twenty minutes after the roll at the three-way stop, I had a yellow ticket in my hand and a resentful face. If I plead guilty, I’ll have a hefty fine and two points on my license.

After letting the pettiness of the infraction build, I know I will be talking to the prosecutor on my April 20 court date, hoping he or she will be more understanding that such a trivial matter will affect my insurance rates and traffic record. I’ll offer to do community service, pay a fine, whatever.

I just find it absurd that I will be punished for years over something so minor. Despite the potential danger the traffic law seeks to prevent, the officer observed the effects after my minor traffic infraction for long enough to know there were no serious consequences.

The specific situation exemplifies both the officer’s lack of logical reasoning before extending the law and a lack of comprehension of a student’s situation that an officer operating in a college town should understand.

The ticket is outlandish considering my specific situation. For those who can’t picture the location of my rolling stop, it is the three-way intersection right in front of Franklin Hall. At the time, there were no pedestrians. There was no inclement weather. I didn’t impede on the right-of-way of others.

I continued driving for 10 minutes before being pulled over, and in this time, there were absolutely no consequences of my roll. The officer had a keen enough eye to notice my violation, but he failed to notice the string of cars that ran lights at the next few lights. It seems there was no time in his judgment that he considered the lack of severity of the infraction.

The violation was technically off campus, but Kent Police should have enough understanding of college students’ financial situations before working in such a city. I didn’t make it to class because of being pulled over, and my financial situation is infringed on for the next few years because of this minor infraction. I think pulling over a student who hardly exemplifies irresponsibility proves a lack of respect for students’ efforts to be responsible citizens.

Perhaps if my specific violation obviously affected others, the ticket would be warranted. The cop knew it did not and failed to show any leniency or understanding of my situation. I think it’s fair to say that littering affects others more than this roll of a stop sign at a three-way stop did.

Brenna McNamara is a junior philosophy major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].