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I overtook an off-duty police officer, who was driving his personal truck, whilst on holiday in California a few years ago (from the UK).

At the next town, I was pulled over by a police car (bull horn, hand on gun, full film-level drama). I had no idea why at the time. It was explained to me that the off-duty officer was annoyed, and called the police station in the next town.

I was told that the highway I was on was "not the autobahn" (I have never travelled on an autobahn), and given a ticket for crossing a solid lane marker. I hadn't at any point crossed a double yellow line marker. Not living in the US meant fighting it was hard, so I paid for fear of not being allowed back in the country on my next visit.

Lesson learned: people in positions of power, like this off-duty government agent, will happily use that power if someone pisses them off - and systems are in place to allow it. These systems need to be tested, fought, and abusers penalised. I'm just sorry I didn't fight harder in this instance.




This is yet another story that makes a very convincing argument for a dash cam. I do not own a dash cam, but I was involved in an accident where the other car had a dash cam, and it made the entire process relatively painless.

I was actually found at fault, but the officer who responded said the person who hit me would have been found at fault if they didn't have a dash cam. I had entered a busy street that only allowed left turns via U-turns in the median. Traffic was really heavy, and I was having a hell of a time getting over. A bus next to the U-turn lane waved me in. I entered the left turn lane about a car length past where the solid white line began. As I was entering, a teenager in a 500+ hp car floored it in to the lane. As soon as they got around the bus they saw me, but couldn't stop in time as they were nearly going the speed limit.

I was technically breaking the law, and the kid who hit me technically had full control of the lane before I did, so I was at fault.

I know both me and the person who hit me wished we had done things differently there. We were both pretty impatient because of the traffic. It would have been nice to have been found not-at-fault, but I was technically in the wrong, and the dash cam proved it.

Dash cams get a lot of press when it comes to attempted fraud, but I think cases like this are the real kicker. I know other people who have hit people who made lane changes in front of them, and they were all found at fault. Without a video camera, the vehicle behind is almost always going to be found at fault when it comes to one driver's word against another. It's really difficult to prove something like an "unsafe lane change" without video evidence, and dash cams cost far less than a deductible.


It's worth noting, you may have crossed a solid white line, instead of a solid yellow line. That being said, the exact status of the solid white line in California is annoyingly unclear.

Reference: http://www.mercurynews.com/2012/09/28/can-you-cross-a-solid-...


I actually overtook when there was a broken line (apologies, would edit my original comment if I could!), which my understanding was meant to state "you can overtake if safe" - the same in the UK.

I didn't go over the speed limit, and it was a super clear road (beautiful in fact!) - my car just had more acceleration (not being a large truck).


You could have paid it but still filed a complaint against the officer. Doubt anything would come of it but maybe still worth it?


Agreed. I definitely should have explored more options and fought it. It was actually remarkably difficult to even pay the fine from the UK, let alone file a complaint - but I guess I shouldn't have let that stop me.


Unfortunately it is a common tactic to do that on purpose like only allowing complaints to be filed in person.


Things like this is one of the reason I have a Dashcam. I want to have video proof the cop is lying if I need to challenge it.

Sadly even with Video Proof it will be a uphill battle as courts have taken a cops word over the video before.


> and systems are in place to allow it

To be fair, most regular citizens can call into the local PD if they have the phone number to report things and then Dispatch will assign/not assign officers based on priority and availability.

I worked at my campus PD when I was a student and we printed both the campus police number and local police number on our ID cards. It wasn't uncommon to get calls asking for escorts, report suspicious behavior, and other miscellaneous things not really suitable for 911.

Some can be quite comical (including some 911 calls). EG::

> http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Davis-residents-calling-9...

(Note some of the calls were to 911 and not directly to the PD)


That is normal - got a fake ticket in Florence Italy had to pay




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