Painful (or expensive) reminders can be important

Published 9:10 am Thursday, February 4, 2016

“No way was I speeding,” I thought to myself as the blue and red lights pulsated behind me as I proceeded down 11th Street in Niles Tuesday.

With the way the cruiser sped up behind me I thought maybe the Niles Police Department was in a hurry to get to a crime somewhere.

I pulled into a nearby parking lot just in case. When the patrol car pulled in behind me, I knew that I was not going to be so lucky.

“Did I do something wrong officer?” I asked, also seeking permission to go digging in my pockets and glove box for my driver’s license, insurance and registration. (Asking before doing so is always a good idea that makes everyone more comfortable.)

“You were texting,” the officer said.

Well, technically I was changing my music, but I understand that the intent of the law applies just the same. Michigan law prohibits texting while driving.

For a first offense, the cost is $100. Subsequent offenses will hit your wallet for $200 each.

Although it was an expensive lesson, I was fine with taking my medicine. And so the conversation went, ending with me getting a ticket for distracted driving.

But, you know what? I wasn’t mad about it.

The officer was just doing her job and did so in a very professional and friendly manner.

Many times we get frustrated with increased enforcement like this and others targeting speeding or other perceived minor infractions.

The bottom line is efforts like this save lives.

No one can argue that being distracted while driving — be that from eating, listening to music, reading a book or anything in between — is dangerous. Using your phone is at the top of the list and a bad habit many of us do each day.

Personally, I’m going to try to do better.

Thank you to the Niles Police Department for the reminder that some things can wait until you get there.


Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at