Car talk

Posted By on March 11, 2009

Cleveland Heights wrote me today saying I’d lost my driver’s license and car insurance because I’d failed to pay a $150 fine for driving 18 miles over the 25 mph speed limit in that despotically liberal city in mid-December; naturally, the cop didn’t let me go, despite my entreaties and the Christmas season. Then I lost the ticket, so today’s communication was my first since the transgression, of which I was indeed guilty. Still, the punishment and fine seemed unduly harsh.

According to the city, I owed $175 and as of receipt of the letter, would be driving illegally. So I got in my car and drove over to Cleveland Heights City Hall, where I grudgingly paid by debit card (the extra $25 was processing costs, I was told; like for what, mailing a form letter?), then got a receipt and directions to the regional Bureau of Motor Vehicles office in Parma, some 20 miles south. That’s where I had to fork over another $15 to get my license and insurance reactivated.

Thank God I’m retired so I could make the drive (illegal though it was). Thank God I had cash, the only way to pay the BMV, which tells you information about its regulations is available online though you can’t pay online. Thank God I had the money to pay these fines and fees, clearly ways to milk Ohio residents of money to prop up a failing state.

I’m venting, I admit. I shouldn’t speed (or do U turns or fail to signal, offenses a Westlake cop forgave just recently; why can’t Cleveland Heights cops show compassion?) or misplace tickets. Cleveland Heights should be more flexible and less punitive, and the state of Ohio should at the least update its technology and allow reinstatement fees to be paid at any of its offices. Satisfying legal requirements shouldn’t be so inconvenient, expensive and insulting.


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I'm a veteran critic and business writer who reads and listens and writes about music, books, hotels and travel. I've been in the business for many years and still enjoy it. My pride and joy is my book, Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories. Follow me on Twitter: