For Mother McCain, 96 Is More Than an Age: It's an Average Speed.

Roberta McCain slows down to hear her son speak.
Roberta McCain slows down to hear her son speak. (By Mary Ann Chastain -- Associated Press)
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By Mary Ann Akers And Paul Kane
Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nothing, not even skyrocketing gas prices, seems to slow down Roberta McCain, the indefatigable 96-year-old mother of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a notorious lead-foot behind the wheel. She's still speeding around like a NASCAR driver on the last lap.

Mrs. McCain told us at a recent cocktail party that she got a $40 speeding ticket in Chevy Chase a few weeks ago. "Don't speed up there," she warned with a wry smile.

Her latest citation is about the umpteenth she's received. "I know she has gotten a bunch of speeding tickets," McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers acknowledges.

The senator from Arizona often invokes his mother's spotty driving record on the campaign trail. One of his favorite stories is how Mom, some years ago, was given a ticket for going 112 mph in Arizona.

We found a record of one traffic citation against Roberta Wright McCain in Arizona court records, dated Sept. 30, 2002, but it didn't specify the violation or how fast Roberta McCain was driving. Our request for more information from the local court in Seligman, Ariz., where the citation was issued, went unanswered.

Arizona has two categories of speeding tickets: civil, for anything less than 20 mph over the legal speed limit, and criminal, for anything faster. State transportation officials say the highest legally allowable speed on Arizona highways is 75 mph, which, of course, would put Mrs. McCain's 112-mph ticket in the "criminal" category.

Regardless, we thought the nonagenarian would-be first mom could use some tips on how to avoid the blue lights in the future. So we turned to Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), a McCain supporter who, like the senator's mother, is known for his proclivity to put the pedal to the metal. (Davis brags about his "spotless record" of dodging radar-toting police but confesses to two speeding tickets in the past 25 years, none since 1998).

Beyond his own credo of "never speed if you can spot a police car nearby," Davis suggests Mrs. McCain follow this three-point plan for avoiding tickets:

· "Don't run a red light in the District. Those cameras will catch you."

· "Drive at rush hour. You won't have to worry about speeding, because the traffic is so bad. . . . Or drive on I-95 any time of the day between Richmond and Dale City."

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