Car model doesn't have an impact on being pulled over

I get off work in Central Point around midnight and drive home to Eagle Point. I drive a young person-looking car and usually have my sunroof open. I have been followed and pulled over four times in the last three weeks for going slow in the fast lane — 53 mph in a 55 mph zone — and for touching the while line when turning right.

Is there any way I can give my car and work information and driving record to the police so I don't get hassled? Or should I buy a white minivan and put a Christian symbol sticker on the back?

— Shoby O., Central Point

Shoby, no vehicle — not even white minivans with religious bumper stickers — receives immunity on the road.

Medford police Chief Tim George swears that traffic stops have no bearing on the type of car you're driving or the time of day you're driving.

"To stop, police must have reasonable grounds to believe that a traffic violation is being committed," he said.

Police don't keep a list of vehicles and drivers not to pull over. That's not how the system works.

"How are we going to know the car you're driving today is the same as yesterday or tomorrow?" George asked.

Central Point police Capt. Brian Day also assured us that the city's police officers are not prejudiced against "young person-looking" cars or open sunroofs and would not have pulled you over without cause.

He also said that late at night and early in the morning an officer's focus shifts from "typical traffic enforcement such as speeding in a school zone or running a red light, to DUIs and suspicious vehicles."

But even suspicious vehicles won't get pulled over "unless they (officers) can see a violation that they can testify to," Day said.

Shoby, without specifics, we can't comment on why you were pulled over. Day said driving 53 mph in a 55 mph zone is not a violation, however, failure to maintain a lane (ORS 811.370) is. Hopefully, those stops were friendly and not expensive reminders.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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