Friday, November 12, 2010

Make a Choice, Utah's Finest

When I was 22 I got pulled over for rolling through a four-way stop.  My beef with the officer who pulled me over is not with his reason for doing so (I did roll through the intersection), it is with how he treated me after doing so.

It all started with the normal questions, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"  I honestly didn't, so I said so.  He then proceeds to go into a ten minute monologue where he explained the dangers of rolling through intersections and how that is how people get hit, etc. etc.

I listened patiently and nodded at the appropriate times, and then he gave me a ticket for like, sixty bucks or something (I opted for traffic school, so I don't recall the amount).  This is where my beef lies.  If an officer pulls someone over, he/she has two options: 1. Give a speech, in which the dangers are laid out, and behavior change should follow or 2. Give a ticket which speaks for itself, in which the expenses are laid out, and behavior change should follow.  That's it.  Giving both should be considered overboard.

Let's look at Operational Conditioning, because that is the construct both tickets and lectures work under.  Giving a lecture is Positive Punishment, because you are giving information that you hope will change behavior.  Giving a ticket (which really stands for taking money) is Negative Punishment, because you are taking away money that you hope will change behavior.  You don't need both.

Either way, I'm still a little ticked about the whole situation.  As usual, I'm sure it won't change, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.


  1. I bet he has kids. After I had kids, I would see pretty minor traffic violations and immediately have to talk myself down from the rage because I worried someone was going to run over my kids. Or maybe he was just an asshole.

  2. Haha, maybe that's what it was. I think he might have been the officer that lives on that corner, so that may have been it.