Pull over, police and thank you: tales from the roadway


Creative Commons photo courtesy of George Hodan

23.8% of 63 CHS students have been stopped by the police, while 76.2% have not. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Riley Forrester

It was an ordinary day when senior Alex Herrmann of Brielle’s heart stopped as she drove to mentorship. The fear that paralyzed her was one that many new drivers face: getting pulled over by the police.

According to a survey of 63 CHS student drivers, 23.8 percent have been pulled over all around Monmouth County, joining the nearly 50,000 drivers involved in police traffic stops every day, according to the Stanford Open Policing Project. Herrmann’s nightmare came true on Old Mill Road in Wall when a police officer noticed that her center brake light was out.

“At the time I didn’t know why I was getting pulled over, especially since I had only had my car for six days, so I didn’t think anything was wrong with it,” Herrmann said.

Although she did not exactly know what was happening at first, the officer from the Wall Police Department  assured her everything would be alright.

“He told me it was all okay and he was going to get me on my way as quick as he could,” Herrmann said.

She said that as long as she agreed to get the brake light fixed immediately, the officer promised she would not receive a ticket.

But, other students are not as lucky. Senior Tali Petto of Marlboro had a completely different experience when she was pulled over by a police officer in Spring Lake Heights for speeding on a 25 mile per hour road.

“The officer was very condescending and rude, and it made me tense up and get angry instead of being ‘apologetic and nervous’ like I should’ve been,” Petto said.

In addition to the ticket for speeding, Petto also received a ticket for not having a red decal on her license plate that indicates that she is a probationary driver under the age of 21. Although she was unhappy with the situation, she agreed that she is now more aware of what to expect while driving in that area.

Like many other teen drivers with similar experiences, Herrmann and Petto’s traffic stops have taught them to be more careful and cautious when driving out on the roads.