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I was fined by the Trinidad and Tobago / Mon Repos Police for coming out of a food related business driveway
THE REGULATION IN QUESTION IS "DRIVING VEHICLE ON FOOTPATH OR PAVEMENT" - MOTOR VEHICLES AND ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATIONS CH 48.50 REGULATION 57 (1000 dollars and 30 point penalty):
"57. No person shall wilfully drive, ride, draw or propel a vehicle
or ride an animal upon any footpath or pavement by the side of any
road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of pedestrians."
Only in Trinidad and Tobago I think this happens. My fiance and I went out tonight to buy some bar-b-que. We arrived at the barbque food place after 8 pm (more around 8:25 pm). As the food place was situated on the right hand side and I was driving on the left hand side of the road, I proceeded to turn right in order to enter the driveway of the said food place where 2 cars were already parked. As I entered the entrance, a pedestrian warned me that the police were charging people for parking on the pavement and since I saw that I might end up partially on the pavement I proceeded to return unto the road to find another area to park or go elsewhere to find food. Upon waiting to get back unto the road in which the direct lane was full of incoming cars, I indicated and waited for a few seconds before a car would allow me to exit to get back unto the left lane - during which a police officer instructed me to park on the left hand side of the road. I complied and waited for a male officer who approached my car in which I began to explain in a respectful manner the above by addressing him as "Sir". The police officer did not allow me to continue and cut me off while trying to explain the situation by responding "You know what you did! You know what you did!" in a tone that I can only recall my father would probably speak to me in my childish / adolescent years. I responded to him by asking him why he was speaking to me this way when I was trying to explain to him about the above and my intention. I also asked him why I would lie to him in front of what he would have "hopefully" seen. He said "I don't want to hear nothing!" and asked me for my license and registration in which I complied. He went over to the other police workers and I waited for what seemed to be about 10 minutes before a female police officer handed me a ticket at which point I tried to explain again what happened. She responded saying that the male police officer never gives anyone a chance to explain (which I would think is highly unfair to me as law abiding citizen but it seems even law enforcement in Trinidad and Tobago isn't fair). She said that I should not pay the fine and explain my case to the court/magistrate.
I am good citizen in that I follow the law whenever and wherever I go. I try to do the right things and many of you see this by the comments I write on facebook about doing the right thing. This police officer charged me for "driving on the footpath". The question I must ask is, how would I have taken out my vehicle without having to "drive on the footpath"? Driving always as defensively and safe as possible, I did not reverse the car into incoming traffic but proceeded to position my vehicle while moving forward to proceed unto the road by indicating such. In the long run, by being a "good driver", I was fined. How fair really is this land that I live in? After all, people say life isn't fair but then didn't someone think up the idea of law enforcement to try to reduce the odds of life being fair by providing proper rules and regulations. Furthermore, if driving over what he claims to be the footpath to enter or exit from a driveway, then I don't know anyone other than perhaps Houdini who would be able to do this. Additionally, if I were to enter my own driveway or exit it in such a way, would police be able to fine me for exiting my driveway? This is none sense... either the policeman was mentally challenged or the law and its intent is not clear - because everyone comes out or enters into a driveway by going over the so called "footpath". In any event, I was not parked and in good intent, attempted to solve and comply with the law by getting back on the road and finding a proper park nearby or finding a next place to eat.
So what if I am cleared of this fine by the magistrate, how does the police learn that they should not abuse the law... Will I get any compensation for my wasted day in court because a policeman was wrong for charging me? Of course not and that is why the system will not change in this country. Take 1000 dollars out of his pocket and I bet you he will make sure and get glasses to make sure he sees properly the next time.