We Already Pay Thousands In Tuition, But Apparently, It's Not Enough For Campus Police
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Student Life

We Already Pay Thousands In Tuition, But Apparently, It's Not Enough For Campus Police

I get we need to learn a lesson but do we need to empty our pockets too?

We Already Pay Thousands In Tuition, But Apparently, It's Not Enough For Campus Police

Recently, I got pulled over for the first time.

It was 8 in the morning on a Saturday and I was the only one on the road. I took my phone and made a quick call - I was running late for a meet and needed to let my team know I was on my way. As soon as I was finished making the call, I put the phone down and never once took my eyes off the road. I thought I was doing the right thing.

Seconds later, I saw the flashing lights of a police car - something no one ever wants to see. I was mortified. What had I been doing wrong? Was I speeding? Was something wrong with my car?

It was the phone call.

The entire time, I was on my college campus. It was a campus police officer who pulled me over.

I rolled down my window (my car is 1993 so yes I have windows that have to be rolled down) and the police officer asked me if I knew it was illegal to make a phone call while operating a vehicle. I have a Pennsylvania license plate even though I go to college in New York and was driving in New York. I told him I did not know it was illegal.

He told me it was a federal law.

Since that day, I have checked. Pennsylvania has banned texting while driving but has not yet banned making a phone call while driving (at least this is what my research has verified). So, it is not a federal law, but something that depends on the state you are driving in.

Typically, I do not use my phone while driving. And, I never text while driving. If I make a phone call, it is because I did not want to look away from the road. It is because I was making sure I would not text.

I understand in New York it is against the law to use a handheld device, whether it be texting or making a phone call, while driving. I have learned my lesson. I will never make a phone call while driving again.

But, unfortunately, I received more than a warning. I understand that I should not expect a warning but I have an otherwise spotless driving record and I am new to driving in New York so I am less aware of the laws here than in Pennsylvania.

It is not an excuse, but I feel as though the Public Safety Officer could have been a little more understanding.

I would have learned my lesson with just a warning.

I did not need the $193.00 ticket I received in the mail.

I am a low-income, college student. If the town needed money, they could have sought it out elsewhere. The ticket is almost the entirety of one of my two-week paychecks. I am currently putting all of my paychecks into savings so I can one day pay off my bills. Some college students have a family that has the financial ability to pay at least some of their tuition. For me, that is not the case. I am perfectly fine with that responsibility.

I do everything I can so that I will eventually be able to pay off my loans. I know that I was taking on a lot of debt by going to Ithaca College (an expensive private institution). I did not know the college would be so anxious to fine me, especially since I do not have any previous offenses.

I know that the Public Safety Officer was just doing his job. All that I ask is for some compassion and understanding in the future. This is one circumstance where a warning would have sufficed. Taking on the extra financial burden is a lot difficult for some than it is for others. I am one of the students that really cannot afford to be paying such a hefty fine for one small mistake.

I really believe fines should be lower or officers should be more willing to give warnings to first-time offenders.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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