These days there seems to be only two kinds of mail delivered to our homes: garbage and bad news. Last week, I was the victim of the latter, when I opened my mailbox to find a lovely “Notice of Liability” from Nassau County declaring that I am among the dastardly criminals of Long Island who do not stop long enough before turning right at a red light.
And sure enough, as the photo and video evidence clearly displays, I was overly eager when I turned off of Old Country Road headed to the DMV in Westbury. It seems that my three-second pause at the light was not nearly good enough for the so-called “city fathers” who cluck their tongues, stroke their beards and talk about “what’s to be done with this Steve Mosco?”
Like other maniacal devils of the roadway who dared to break the law so egregiously, I was hit with no less than three fines. There’s the fine itself at $50, a “Driver Responsibility Fee” at $45 and something called a “Public Safety Fee” at $55, for a grand total of $150 owed to Nassau County and some other shadowy organization that profits from my blatant disregard for public safety. And let’s not forget the tacked-on $6 “convenience fee” for paying online.
At first I was impressed that I committed a crime so horrible that I deserved three separate fines. Then I examined the notice a bit more, and I realized that the supposed separate fines are actually just one big fine, divided up and labeled with euphemistic language designed to make me, I guess, feel more shame about what I had done. Well, Nassau County, I’m onto you. We all are.
The red light cameras still spread across the island are nothing more than a way to generate revenue by sucking money out of otherwise safe drivers. Call it what you want, I call it a “Safe Drivers Tax.” It is an ingenious way to make sure that people who are actually quite safe on the road pay their fair share to the county via an arbitrary system of photo surveillance.
And since you can’t take a robot to court, I will complain like a petulant child and ultimately pay the fines and move on with my life. Like I said, it’s ingenious.
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