, Derry, New Hampshire

August 14, 2012

Drivers must be in control, not gizmos

About the Law
Andrew Myers

---- — I was ticketed for doing 63 mph in a 45-mph zone while driving on cruise control set between 45 and 50 mph.

I plan to have my mechanic check the cruise control to make sure it was working properly. What are my chances with the ticket in that it is the police officer’s word against mine?

The law requires that drivers operate their vehicles in control at all times. So, the downfall of your underlying contention that it was the fault of the cruise control mechanism is that you ceded control of your car to a gizmo. As everyone knows, gizmos are great when they work. But, they all fail sometimes.

Sometimes a “his word against mine” might possibly work where you were polite and cooperative with the officer and where you have no driving record. This goes more to the disposition or penalty than the finding that you are responsible. Your argument would be better if you had set the device at 44 mph.

I know that word on the street is that drivers think they are “good for” at least 5 mph over a posted limit. But, that’s not the law. Telling the court you intentionally set cruise control at 50 mph is an admission you operated in excess of the posted limit of 45 mph in violation of the law.

I’m trying to buy a car, but I’m self-employed and the dealer is rejecting all attempts by me to prove I can pay for the car. I do not have formal books and much of what I make is cash or barter. But, I could pay for the car. How do I prove it to the car dealer’s financial company?

You need to put the business on the books. I’m guessing that your credit rating is not the best and that’s why they’re looking more closely. All cash receipts need to be deposited into a business-only bank account. Expenses need to be paid out of that account. After a month or so, simple software generates profit-loss statements.

Banks and lenders are cautious. If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, they’ll want your Schedule C. This is the profit-loss statement telling the IRS what you made or lost in your business during the last tax year.

If you’ve never done one, don’t be scared, just bring the form up through your favorite search engine and it will give you an idea of allowable business expenses.

Sometimes lenders, especially in larger loans, have a form for a financial statement and this provides the opportunity for you to itemize your business finances.

As practical advice, even people going through a bankruptcy buy cars. So don’t accept what one car dealer tells you. Shop around. Just be careful of your interest rate.

If the business is not for a product or service that is, shall we say, totally on the up and up, then your decision to enter that business came with the knowledge that proving income is a problem.