I don’t know why but whenever I’m driving down highway 167, I nearly always notice the road sign that says failure to buckle up will result in a fine of $101. I believe that people should buckle up and if they don’t, they should be fined. But it’s the amount that seems strange to me. It’s as if the Washington State Supreme Court has never heard of the rounding concept. Why not just make it a hundred bucks even and call it a day?
I looked up the Washington State Highway Patrol website to see if this was just a one time oversight. What I found is the lack of rounding fines is the rule rather than the exception. But there are a few where simplicity won out and were rounded such as Second Degree Negligent Driving ($250), No Valid Driver’s License ($250, Failure to yield the right of way on approach of emergency vehicle ($500), and Failure to provide proof of motor vehicle insurance ($250). Hmmm….maybe any fine that’s a multiple of $250 gets rounded? There are a couple more parking fines that run $80 or $90 as well but the majority of fines aren’t so neat and tidy. Here are a few of my favorite infractions and fines that seem to be determined by rolling a set of Yahtzee dice:
Intoxication in State Park Areas – $137 (Don’t people head to parks to get wasted? Let’s call it $140 and be done with it.)
1st Offense Load Violation - $52 (If we milk ‘em for 2 bucks more we can afford that cool new radar gun)
2nd Offense Load Violation – $97 (One might assume a 2nd violation would be double the 1st violation? Nope!)
3rd Offense Load Violation – $112 (Again, by the 3rd offense I’d assume they are deliberately trying to break the law, yet they receive a volume discount. You don’t send a strong message by offering only a slightly higher fine than than the 2nd offense. From here on out it’s “break the same law 3 times get the forth violation for free”)
Wrong way on Freeway - $177 (This is the fine of the month special. This is the same amount as driving 35 mph over the posted speed limit. My guess is going down the freeway in the wrong direction is often bundled together with a “Driving while intoxicated” and “Open container” in a combo-meal type fashion.