Auto News for Nov.6

It has been too long since I have produced a column on how crazy things can be when all you want to do to drive to work – or park there.

Would you pay $650,000 for one parking space in a garage on Boston’s fashionable Beacon Hill? To put that in perspective, on a per square foot basis, the parking space costs more than the most expensive condo currently on the Boston market. New Englander’s tend to understate things, so it is not surprising that one real estate agent told the Boston Herald, “(The price) looks pretty heavy to me.”

Of course, New York has to top Boston in everything. An internet search turned up a parking spot at 66 E. 11th street that carried a price tag of a cool $1-million. No big deal since the 8,000 square foot condo the parking goes with is priced at $38.8 million.

But sometimes the traffic laws are more than a little crazy. For example, did you know it is illegal to cross state lines in Minnesota with a duck on your head? And in Tennessee it is illegal to shoot animals from your car unless it is a whale.

In Finland, speeding tickets are based on someone’s ability to pay. Thus one driver was fined $60,000 for going 64 mph in a 50 zone. Don’t feel bad. The person cited was a man with a yearly income of over $7 million. Of course, my first speeding ticket was in a ’69 VW Beetle.

A woman in Nevada was fined $200 for distracted driving. She was applying lip balm. At the time she was on her way to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Go 71 mph in a 70 zone and get a fine and points if a proposal in Bedfordshire, England is approved. The road in question is used by thousands of commuters a day and speed cameras could raise millions of dollars each year for the local police force. The chief said if motorists are unhappy, “they can always stick to the speed limit.”

The chief might be on to something. The town of New Miami, Ohio, raised $1.8 million from speed cameras in just 15 months. But a major controversy is brewing over a new requirement that a police officer be stationed on the scene if the cameras are operating.

And the Scotsman newspaper said that country’s most prolific speed camera has taken in more than $359,000            in fines so far this year, or ten times the second busiest site. But 46 cameras failed to illicit a single ticket last year and one has failed to catch anyone in four years.

Mary Phillips, 75, is hanging up her driving gloves after driving the length of Britain twice aboard a 9 mile per hour tractor to raise money for charities. Long trips in the 1953 vintage tractor are now out because she has come across some “crazy” drivers out there.

And allow me to close this out with my favorite story out of Vermont. An out of state resident was lost and stopped at a fork in the road to ask a farmer, “Does it matter which road I take to Burlington?” Came the reply, “Not to me it don’t.”



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