FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

Friday

My Personal Crusade

There’s no sense in hiding it. I got a speeding ticket tonight. I was literally 10 seconds away from pulling into my apartment complex when I saw those damned blue lights. Did I have a chance of getting out of that ticket? I’m a guy. What do you think?

Naturally, the officer gave me a ticket. In his esteemed knowledge of traffic and safety, he determined that 63 miles an hour was far too unsafe a speed for a four-lane highway. Anyone traveling such inconceivable velocities must be a daredevil who is endangering every innocent life around him. Such individuals must be stopped!

Do I blame him? A little. It is true that it was a moronic Georgia Government bureaucrat that set the speed limit. And, that officer is simply enforcing the law. However, if he actually used the lump of gray and white matter located about 3 feet above his ass, instead of mindlessly following whatever protocol he was taught to except without question, he would realize that my speed was completely within reason and not a danger to anyone. He could have saved that little ticket for someone who was really “speeding” (When drivers get into the 100mph range on that road, I’d say it’s probably time to pull out that citation pad). It’s called judging the facts of the situation.

Besides, cops give breaks all the time to speeders. Why is it that I have never gotten one? Once again, I’m a guy. You figure it out.

But, I am not here to simply complain. I am on a crusade. Speed laws have always been an issue with me. I am of the opinion that they are, at their very core, oppressive and unnecessary. As always, I have evidence to back up my position. This is from a much earlier blog entry of mine. Actually, it is one of the first that I wrote. Read on:

Recently, a town in Texas unveiled the highest speed limit in the country at 80mph. Town officials decided that this long, straight, four-lane stretch of highway was not the place to post an intentionally, ridiculously low "speed limit" whose only purpose is to generate revenue for the county.

Opponents of high speed limits say that these increased speeds can only lead to more fatal crashes. But, alas, the wussy crowd has been proven wrong time and time again. Before raising this speed in Texas, Representative Pete Gallego looked at the statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation. Studies show that in the 3 years that speed limits were raised from 70mph to 75mph, fatalities went...which direction? Anyone, anyone...Bueller, Bueller. That's right. Fatalities went down.

Modern cars are made to handle safely at higher speeds. Most modern drivers, who still have all of their motor and mental capabilities, are able to exceed 55mph without putting anyone in danger. Sorry, Grandma. You gotta move. If you insist on driving 45mph, stay in the right lane.

Now, in residential areas, school zones, and small, winding roads, should drivers be more aware of their speed and drive more safely? Absolutely. But, it is unreasonable and unwarranted to establish a 45mph (or even 55mph) on a four-lane, straight road. Are you hearing me Arcade, Georgia?

The only purpose for these low speed limits is to generate revenue for the State or Local governments. It is not to keep people safe! If the government really wanted to protect drivers on the road, they would look at the facts. I just mentioned the study done by the Texas DOT. But, maybe this is an isolated study. After all, It's Texas. Texans are a different breed than the rest of the country (but that's another subject).

So, let's see. How can we get the statistics for speed limits and accidents in the rest of the country? Hmmm. I've got it. Let's have the Federal Highway Administration (part of the United States Department of Transportation) do a study of all the States! Too late. It's been done. The numbers are out. Read the report here.

The findings are obvious. But for the sake of argument here they are:

- Accidents at the 58 experimental sites where speed limits were lowered, increased by 5.4 percent.

- Accidents at the 41 experimental sites where speed limits were raised, decreased by 6.7 percent.

So, lower speed limits increase accidents, and higher speed limits reduce accidents. Strange, huh? Based on this, why would the Government not act to raise limits and decrease accidents? The reason is this. Another finding of the report:

- Raising speed limits in the region of the 85th percentile speed has an extremely beneficial effect on drivers complying with the posted speed limits.

- Lowering speed limits in the 33rd percentile speed (the average percentile that speeds were posted in this study) provides a noncompliance rate of approximately 67 percent.

With higher speed limits, drivers are more likely to abide by the law and not exceed that speed limit. But, lower speed limits mean higher rates on non-compliance. That means more people are going to speed. Which means...ding, ding, ding...more money for the Government.

I don't how to make it any clearer.


This is my crusade - the abolition of unecessary articially-low speed limits. They are useless when it comes to saving lives. They exist for one purpose and one purpose only. They are enacted by Government bureaucrats to generate more money for those same Government bureaucrats. It is a scam.

Much of the blame lies with these bureaucrats. But, the enforcement officers deserve some of the blame too. Part of their job is assessing individual situations based on the facts at hand. If a situation is deemed dangerous, the officers will take certain precautions. They make a judgement call, and take necessary action. Speeding scenarios are no different. These officers could quite easily judge each situation and determine if that speeder is really going fast enough to endanger anyone's life. If they are well within a safe speed, the driver should get a pass.

Simple as that.

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