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Special License Plate - 14 LE

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Special License Plate - 14 LE

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 27, 2007


Yesterday I was driving on Algonquin Road (Route 62) in Algonquin and noticed a black Cadillac SLS four-day sedan poking along in the inside lane in the 45MPH zone. The driver was only traveling about 35MPH, and cars were passing him on the right.

I was already in my favorite lane (the right one; well, make that the right-hand lane) and as I passed the black car, the first thing I noticed was the license plate: 14 LE. You know, L-over-E. This plate is a special Illinois plate for Law Enforcement Memorial. No doubt that many cops order these plates as protection against getting stopped in the first place or, if they do get stopped, just enjoying a friendly conversation on the side of the road and probably not even a driver's license check. Just another brother going down the road, don't you know?

As I passed the car, I noticed that the driver was multi-tasking, not including trying to drive his car. He had his cell phone tucked between his ear and his shoulder, and he was turned sideways toward the center of the car and it looked like he was trying to write something, maybe on a pad on the center seat.

I went on by, but pretty soon he passed me. I noted that my speed was still 45MPH, so he had to be over the speed limit. Then he slowed down again, apparently distracted by his multi-tasking. And then he sped up. For the next four miles on two-lane 55MPH road, he tailgated the car in front of him, constantly having to tap the brakes to avoid hitting that car. Even when he was on an upgrade, he would tap his brakes.

Now, most of us who find ourselves rolling up on the car in front on an upgrade would just take our foot off the gas pedal, right? The combination of driving 10MPH below the speed limit, then speeding and tailgating would get most drivers a Careless Driving citation.

We did see one local police officer. That one had a driver stopped, and the guy in the Cadillac slowed down in the 45MPH zone to eyeball the traffic stop and then returned to his phone call and note-making.

Somebody around here knows this guy. With the license plate 14 L/E, he had to get in line pretty fast when those plates came out. How about mailing this to him and asking him to pay a little more attention to his driving? Like, get a hands-free cell phone connection for his high-end Cadillac and a $30 tape recorder for his note-taking. It'll be a lot safer for everyone.



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