Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

Comments Filter:
  • Go figure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spankey51 ( 804888 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:49PM (#46730089)
    Well... If you can do it with congressmen and senators, then of course you can do it with lower-level stateworkers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:50PM (#46730091)

    'Unless you have the I.D. in hand when (not if) I stop you,' says one cop, 'no love will be shown.'"

    So what he is saying is you DO get love (aka get out of jail free) if you show the card.

  • PBA Cards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:51PM (#46730095)

    On most of the east coast, you'd better make sure to hand your PBA card [] over to the officer when he asks for your registration.

    It's the same as handing $20 to the check-in clerk in Vegas with your ID.

  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:51PM (#46730099) Journal

    It's the cops extorting money. It's not just speeding. This creates the appearance that, if you do not buy the membership, you'll be stopped and shown absolutely no mercy, and may even have charges trumped up against you - or otherwise be punished.

    This is tantamount to soliciting bribes.

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:57PM (#46730127) Homepage Journal

    The problem is simple.

    Unlike in Sweden or Norway, where your ticket depends on your income, the fine is a small amount to a billionaire.

    And that billionaire will make the arresting cop's life miserable and throw lawyers at the "case" like confetti.

    It takes a brave police officer to stand up to pressure like that, high risk, low reward, no chance of promotion or contract work ever after you're blacklisted for off-duty security work on all the top tech campus and party locations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @07:22PM (#46730277)

    Yes, the same is true. Our department has an honor code that says we hold ourselves to the same standards we hold the driving public. While we can and do exercise discretion, we don't exercise more for ourselves than we do for others.

    Generally speaking, if someone commits a minor traffic infraction, I'll pull them over and if they own up to it and don't give me a bunch of excuses, I will write them up with a warning. Honestly, the vast majority of traffic stops I do here are for equipment violations - lights mostly - and usually people really just don't know they have a taillight or brake light out and are thankful that I told them about it, and 90% of those get resolved by mail before the warning becomes a citation.

    Speaking of which, to the other poster, yes, there is paperwork for every traffic stop, for the very reason you mention. We still document that the stop was for an infraction.

  • Patternicity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @07:29PM (#46730321) Homepage

    Around here, it's supposedly the FOP badges and/or stickers that help. Or it's the parking lot stickers for the local hospitals. Or it's the toll road transponders. Or it's being the next-to-last person in a cluster. Or it's being in the left lane. Or it's matching speed with the other speeders around you.

    It's just like gambling. Everyone has their system that they think works, and nobody's ever done research to actually check if the statistics hold. Somebody sees a pattern [] and they think it's just so good that it must be right.

  • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:33PM (#46730773) Journal

    Will you ticket a fellow police officer if you observe them break the law? (Say, speeding without having their flashing lights and/or siren on)
    And if so, will the ticket stick?

  • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:41PM (#46730815) Journal

    There are at least two reasons for his opinions.
    1. Corrupt or power-tripping cops.
    2. The rest of the cops that protect them.

    I teach my kids to always be polite to policemen, but try to avoid any contact with them if possible.
    Mostly because they are the most dangerous gang around.

    And please forgive me for being skeptical about your claims.

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:51PM (#46730873)

    How about getting an honest job where you don't spend your days ambushing travelers and taking their money?

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:24PM (#46731039) Homepage Journal

    The folks that are delusional are those that believe that the United States is less corrupt than any other society.

    I have visited several other societies and I can tell you that the United States is absolutely less corrupt than any other society that I have visited. Of course, I have only witnessed a few: Several Central American Countries, France, South Korea, India, China.

  • Re:Automation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:28PM (#46731055) Homepage

    The rest of us get the tickets.

    The rest of us breaking the law get tickets.

    Fixed that for ya.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:30PM (#46731059) Journal
    I don't know about California, but in Oklahoma a speeding ticket is going to cost you at least $200. If you avoid two tickets a year, it would pay for itself in 12.5 years.

    No one really cares about the tickets themselves. For someone making $200k a year, they would gladly pay $200 every week for the right to zip through crawling traffic.

    The real problem comes from getting "points" and the eventual loss of your license. And once that happens, you have drive like a frickin' choirboy or they start giving out real punishments, like spending weekends in a cage (c'mon, let's not pretend people actually stop driving when they lose their license - In 99% of the US, "not driving" amounts to a sentence of death-by-life-on-welfare).
  • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:43PM (#46731115)

    This is tantamount to soliciting bribes.

    But it's not. Remember: money = free speech.

    Rich people are allowed to convince the police officer to not give them a speeding ticket using their form of free speech (money), just as you're allowed to convince the police officer to not give you a speeding ticket using your form of free speech (words from your mouth).

    Guess which one will probably result in a beating.

  • by dk20 ( 914954 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:48PM (#46731437)
    So, how many tickets have been issued to cops for illegal turns (no signals, running the red, etc)?
    I often see the police doing the same thing they ticket others for doing.
  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @11:04PM (#46731493)

    No one really cares about the tickets themselves. For someone making $200k a year, they would gladly pay $200 every week for the right to zip through crawling traffic.

    Did it not occur to you that someone making >$200k a year might feel some obligation or desire to contribute sizable amounts to some charities, in order to bolster the community, not because they expect to be exempted from enforcement of the law?

    Especially law enforcement, since their expensive cars and other bling put the high-income folks at greater risk of a crime targetting them: the availability and cooperation/assistance from law enforcement is potentially very important to these folks' safety and peace of mind.

    If indeed they were speeding to a ridiculous degree, and it was a safety issue, and it caused them to be at fault in an accident --- some silly license plate frame is not going to get them out of it, or protect them from the multi-million$ personal injury lawsuit from the impacted driver.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @12:46AM (#46731855)

    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.

    Get the #%@& out of the fast lane!

  • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer@a l u m . m> on Saturday April 12, 2014 @01:46AM (#46731987) Homepage
    People who give to a charity for good reasons do not need special identification on their vehicles to let the police know that they deserve special treatment.
  • by tgv ( 254536 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @01:56AM (#46732015) Journal

    So, it *is* corruption.

  • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @05:17AM (#46732405) Journal

    If you are a 90 year old Pearl Harbor veteran, you are a goddamn hero, no one denies that

    I deny that. Unless you can offer some proof.

    Hiding in a bomb shelter is not heroic. Sensible, but not heroic.
    Manning your post in a ship under fire is not heroic. You get trained to do it, failing to stay at your post would be the thing worthy of a title, not merely 'doing your job'.

    But maybe he pulled the charred corpse of his colleague from the AA gun chair, swung it round, shot down four Japanese fighter bombers, took three rounds in the chest but then stayed there shooting at torpedo bombers. That's heroic.

    I guess we'll never know. But don't go pretending I have to accept that he's a hero, just because he managed not to die.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday April 12, 2014 @08:09AM (#46732715) Homepage Journal

    Any legal system which does not require police to make an arrest when they witness a crime being committed is inherently corrupt. It leads to more and more bad laws being passed and used for selective enforcement of the type which we are discussing now.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie