It was a pleasant Saturday night. Blake and I were headed back from grabbing some frozen yogurt and were just a few blocks from home. In the middle of what I’m sure was an incredibly important conversation, Blake stopped responding. “What?” I asked. “What’s wrong?” I continued. “I’m going to get pulled over,” responded Blake, “a police car just did a u-turn and I think I’m speeding.”
Sure enough, there were flashing lights in the rear view mirror. We pulled over, and as Blake rolled down the window, the officer informed him that he was going 11 over the speed limit on Broadway. As she walked away to write the ticket, a look of terror spread across both our faces. “Oh, no!” we both thought. Eleven over the speed limit was going to be a massively expensive ticket and right before the holiday season! As I started to suggest to Blake that he no longer needed too buy me a Christmas present, I was interrupted by the police officer handing him his ticket. As she was about to leave, she reminded him to be sure to pay the $11 fine by the date marked. We said thank you, rolled back up the window, and sat in silence. Did we hear that correctly? $11? That can’t be possible. We checked and double checked the amount, and sure enough, it was only $11.
While I consider myself a pretty good driver (except in snow), I am ashamed to admit that I have gotten two tickets in my lifetime. One in Virginia driving home for Thanksgiving break and one in Washington state. In both shameful incidents, I was going less than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, and both tickets were over $100 each. If Blake was pulled over going 11 over the speed limit back home, it would have been one seriously expensive ticket. In fact, going 10 mph or above in many states is considered reckless driving which adds additional costs.
This wasn’t the first time I have been pleasantly surprised by North Dakota’s inexpensive vehicle costs. A few months ago when I became an official North Dakota resident, I was shocked when my license only cost $10 (not to mention my wait at the DMV was only about five minutes).
Perhaps the low cost could be attributed to the North Dakota government feeling sympathetic to the 14 year olds that have to use allowance money to hit the open road. Or maybe it is because with the amount of times you will have to replace your windshield, install a block heater or purchase snow tires, they figure the least they can do is cut you a break with ticket prices and licensing fees. We both learned an important lesson that day: Don’t speed. And if you do, make sure you always carry a twenty in your wallet.