I love New York and am forever proud to be a New Yorker, but sometimes living here can be very frustrating on the pocket. It's a well-known fact that the cost of living here in the Empire State is higher than that of many other states, and it's just something we all have to deal with. There are so many things that are expensive about living here: property taxes, sales taxes, unchecked price controls at the gas pump and elsewhere, tolls, etc. The list goes on and on and on, and it's a facet of life that I must accept if I want to live here in my home state, but that doesn't mean it's fair.
DMV - If it's a rule it's right, right?
Of course one of the areas where some of the biggest consumer ripoffs take place is via the good old New York State DMV. Fees for car registrations, inspections and penalties for traffic infractions are astronomical, and a letter I received a few weeks ago was yet another ridiculous fee that I didn't see coming...in fact I never knew this even existed.
I want to preface my story by saying that before November of last year I had not gotten any sort of traffic ticket since 1998. I drive about forty miles each way to and from work and I make the 60 mile trip into the city quite often, and not having received any infractions for more than 13 years would make you think I've had a pretty good record. I feel that I am a good driver: yeah, I sometimes go over the speed limit, but I never fly past anybody or make erratic passes and I always keep up with the speed of the cars around me; I am courteous to my fellow drivers on the road, and I keep alert and defensive to everything around me.
What is a surcharge anyway?
In the past year I've gotten pulled over three times for speeding, and twice was convicted for going a mere 5 miles over the posted speed limit. My fine for each infraction was a whopping $125 with a $75 bullshit surcharge. (WTF is a surcharge anyway? Can anybody tell me?). Reluctantly, I paid my fines both times and walked away with my head down, licking my wounds and trying to be even more wary of my driving, especially my speed. My wallet was $400 poorer for a combined ten miles over the speed limit, and once it was paid, it was forgotten. So far, so good, until earlier this month...
The Department of Driver Responsibility Assessment - Bull!
On November 2nd, a letter, or more correctly a bill, was sent to my home from the NYS DMV Office of Driver Assessment. "Persuant to a Vehicle and Traffic Law, blah, blah, blah," that was passed in blah, blah, blah "November of 2008," I must now pay another $300 for accumulating six points on my license, $25 per point for three years.
At first I thought it couldn't be real. I thought a person, as a part of his or her inalienable rights, could not be charged twice for the same crime, yet here it was in black and white. They gave me three weeks to pay the bill, either in full or 1/3 now and another 1/3 for the next two years. How nice of them! Of course, because our system of muddled bureaucracy is such a twisted, convoluted mess of bullshit, there's really nothing I can do but complain here.
I'd like to meet the lawmaker who devised this law. I can see the thought process involved in trying to attain their goal: "Hmm, what bullshit rules can we add to our books that will squeeze more money out of people for breaking the law." So now in the end I will have paid $700 for going five miles over the speed limit twice. Does that sound fair to you? I'm sorry, but I will scream it loud from the rooftops over and over until the day I die:
This is bullshit!!!!!!Tweet