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The Almighty Buck Transportation

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California? 325

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Alex Mayyasi reports that in the parking lots of Silicon Valley's venture capital firms, expensive cars gleam in the California sun and a closer look reveals that the cars share a mysterious detail: they nearly all have a custom license plate frame that reads, 'Member. 11-99 Foundation.' Are the Bay Area's wealthy all part of some sort of illuminati group that identifies each other by license plate instead of secret handshakes? The answer is the state highway patrol — the men and women that most people interact with only when getting ticketed for speeding. A number of the frames read 'CHP 11-99 Foundation,' which is the full name of a charitable organization that supports California Highway Patrol officers and their families in times of crisis. Donors receive one license plate as part of a $2,500 'Classic' level donation, or two as part of a bronze, silver, or gold level donation of $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000. Rumor has it, according to Mayyasi, that the license plate frames come with a lucrative return on investment. As one member of a Mercedes-Benz owners community wrote online back in 2002: 'I have the ultimate speeding ticket solution. I paid $1800 for a lifetime membership into the 11-99 foundation. My only goal was to get the infamous 'get out of jail' free license plate frame.'

The 11-99 Foundation has sold license plate frames for most of its 32 year existence, and drivers have been aware of the potential benefits since at least the late 1990s. But attention to the issue in 2006-2008 led the foundation to stop giving out the frames. An article in the LA Times asked 'Can Drivers Buy CHP Leniency?' and began by describing a young man zipping around traffic — including a police cruiser — and telling the Times that he believed his 11-99 frames kept him from receiving a ticket. But the decision was almost irrelevant to another thriving market: the production and sale of fake 11-99 license plate frames. But wait — the CHP 11-99 Foundation also gives out membership cards to big donors. 'Unless you have the I.D. in hand when (not if) I stop you,' says one cop, 'no love will be shown.'"
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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

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  • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:44PM (#46730055)
    Heh, in AZ you can buy a specialized, state issued 'honoring fallen officers' license plate-- with similar effects.
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @07:18PM (#46730255) Homepage

    All of which I'm sure are mostly free from traffic tickets -- just not something you can purchase on a whim. Survived Pearl Harbor? Fuck it, Mr. Have a nice day.

    I know gut instinct is what the Slashdot comments section runs on, but what actual, non-anecdotal evidence to we have that police officers give preferential treatment to people with these license-plate holders?

    Has any of this actually been studied in a scientific way, and if so, what were the results?

  • by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @07:48PM (#46730461)

    Saint Jobs just drove around without a license plate.

  • by pspahn ( 1175617 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:19PM (#46730681)

    A truck I bought after high school had several IAFF (firefighter organization) stickers in the window. I thought they looked pretty cool so they didn't bother me. The previous owner, however, told that I should keep them since cops will be more lenient if I am pulled over. His dad was a higher up in the fire department in that city and gave them to his son for this specific reason.

    I was pulled over probably 3 or 4 times in that truck. Never got a ticket, which includes the time I charged over Donner Summit during a blizzard without snow chains and a bunch of drunken friends in the back (it was a 2WD truck).

    Anecdotal? Sure. Did the stickers still do what I was told they would do? Absolutely.

  • by rhodium_mir ( 2876919 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:09PM (#46731267)

    The tires on the (street legal) Bugatti Veyron cost $38k for a set.

  • by daverk ( 38859 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:18PM (#46731323)

    Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has $42K Tires.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@NoSPaM.nerdflat.com> on Friday April 11, 2014 @11:31PM (#46731627) Journal
    Been driving for nearly 30 years now and haven't yet encountered a situation that I sincerely felt warranted driving in excess of the limit. I've accidentally gone over the limit on occasion, of course, but I'll usually be driving exactly on it, unless road conditions are bad enough that driving slower is warranted. I also keep lane changes to a minimum, finding whatever lane that I need to be in at the earliest opportunity for me to safely do so, and staying in it until I need to turn.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @03:16AM (#46732205)

    It's Finland that is indeed known for that and as a Finn, I don't consider it crazy at all - especially if you know how it works. If you're caught speeding, the police have some discretion in how many "daily fines" (that's the term for it) to issue you (IIRC the upper limit is 30) and such a daily fine is all your income the previous year (regardless of whether it was from work, investments, whatever) divided by 365. I consider that very fair since the wealthier people are, the more sources their wealth comes from and it's simple enough not to result in extreme bureaucracy (even though some of us joke after some successful investments that we'd better watch our speed the following year). I also consider it extremely fair if you think about what sort of punishment a fine is - it's in a sense time taken away from you (just like prison for more severe offenses but that disrupts your life in other ways too). Time you spend working and would normally be compensated for is instead "not paid for" and hence "taken" from you. Furthermore, what many people don't know is that you can choose to instead of paying that fine go to part-time minimum security prison for that number of days divided by two. Part-time means that you are allowed to go to work normally but must spend your time outside working hours there. A teacher of mine said that he had chosen to do that just for the experience (it cannot really be much worse than a university dormitory). If you're really cunning, I guess you could 1. rent out your place whilst you're doing that and 2. request as much overtime as possible.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe