Speed….Limits….Cops and You
Traveling in 49 of the 50 states, I have seen many different types of roads and situations that need some more thought.
There are roads that are labeled 75 that should clearly not be over 60. There are roads labeled 55 that should be 70.
In fact, I was wondering who decides what the speed limits on these roads should be and what criteria are they using to decide?
Reasonable and Prudent
The consensus among drivers and those that enforce the law was “reasonable and prudent.” That is entirely too subjective as clearly what one person thinks is reasonable and prudent another may not agree with.
States with the slowest speed limit that I have seen state wide is by far, hands down Hawaii. Some roads are 15mph and the fastest I found was 50mph. While it is reported that it is 60mph somewhere on an island, I never found it. Renting a Mustang Convertible while in Hawaii was a waste. I truthfully had to keep it in first or second most of the time, to avoid speeding.
In questioning several of the locals I was told that each time that there was an accident they lowered the speed limit. The problem with that method however was that the impairment of the driver was not figured into the algorithm.
I doubt that you will find that officially written anywhere however; I am fairly certain that being legally intoxicated, I could manage those speed limits and get from point A to B safely.
Please don’t take that as a proclamation to drink and drive as I am very much against that behavior. Twenty Five (25) years ago I was in a head on at 60mph with a drunk driver. He did not even have a seat belt on and was released from the hospital that day. I on the other hand barely lived through it was in the hospital for weeks, and live in pain to this day because he drank and drove.
It is a well known fact that 1 out of 3 drivers are impaired in some way. Add to this statistic that several of these folks have to surf the web, post on Facebook, text and or try to make a call while driving! This is all bad folks, you can kill yourself, and others too!
The fastest speed limit I have found in my travels is in Texas. Recently they have raised the speed limit to 85 on a road between San Antonio and Austin. There is indeed a 40 mile stretch of road that is 85 and I am guessing that many push 90, without trepidation of getting a ticket.
So why speed limits?
The obvious answer is that people don’t always exercise prudent and reasonable so we have to “tell people” what that is by way of signs. Of course there are penalties for deviating from those standards.
The insurance company has an interest in keeping speeds down as the faster that someone is going is directly proportional to the amount of injury and or damage caused by an accident. Traveling faster in and of itself statistically renders more accidents, thus more expense. The lizard or the good hands folks don’t give a tinkers damn about you, they care about the bottom line and slowing you down, making you wear a seat belt and a helmet if on motorcycle saves them money. Yes they have lobbyist on Ave. K and yes they contribute to whatever politician will give them favorable laws to help their bottom line.
My issue with speed limits is that there is no consistency. They are arbitrary and assigned by local municipalities and yes, some are known speed traps.
I give you example A: Waldo Florida was an infamous speed trap. Their officers had ticket quotas, and after a state investigation the chief resigned and the entire police force were disbanded.
There are several other towns in Florida which are just as notorious but my personal experience comes from a visit to the Keys. I flew into Miami, rented a mustang convertible and headed to the Keys.
Every time I looked into the mirror there was a cop. As soon as they ran the plate and it came back to the rental company, they were gone. Once getting on the stretch of road that is the Keys, that was another story.
The Overseas Highway is 127 miles of 55-45-35 and 30 and if you’re in a sport car you had best be doing 50-40-30-25. Each and every little town along the way has plenty of cops in newer cars, all looking for someone with out of state money to add to their coffers. The entire 127 miles is under construction but, I never saw anyone doing anything however; there are signs that are flashing “active construction.”
My advice to you is rent an old truck. Rent something from one of those “rent a clunker companies” that won’t do 55 going off a cliff! Firstly, it would be cheaper and secondly the cops won’t look too hard at you.
While I enjoyed my visit to the Keys and did not enrich the local’s coffers, I was amazed that truly, driving that red mustang around garnered more attention from the local cops than if I had been Ernest Hemmingway himself! I would love to cruse through there in a Lotus, and see what that does. Of course I would need an attorney on retainer as I would bet I would get stopped for something.
I drove under the speed limit my entire time in Florida. I averaged 39 mpg in a Mustang! On my way back to the airport I was looking for a gas station that was not $5 something a gallon, which the gas stations around the airport are, when once again a cop in the left hand lane saw me and swooped over three lanes to get behind me to yes, run my plates and then he was gone!
Profile! No, surely not!
Florida is not the only state to have speed traps.
Louisiana has some of the worst speed traps around. The local folks are so snake bit that the locals go 50 in a 55, not old folks in old pick up trucks but young people in sporty cars travel under the speed limit. That to me is kind of a clue that speeding is an industry or revenue source; and it should not be.
Most of the little towns in Louisiana have the local cop, sheriff or trooper hidden in the trees just behind the sign lowering the speed limit from 55 to 45; so by the time you see it, you had best be standing on your brakes!
This actually inspired me to purchase a radar detector as I was traveling in Oklahoma. Without advanced notice there is a sign lowering your speed limit from 55 to 45 and the local sits out of view waiting for you to cross that line of demarcation between 55-45 and the lights go on and you are ticketed for “SPEEDING!”
Escourt & Valantine
I am not a sales person for these companies. I do not have stock in these companies and I will not make a nickel off of this plug. If you are tempted to fight the fight against entrapment, “which is what this is” get an Escourt or Valentine radar detector. Both of these are the top of line, and will trigger at least a half mile away, unless of course they are using LIDAR or instant on. Most of them are too lazy to hold the gun, so most of the time it will be just sitting there giving you ample notice. Do not waste your money on any of the other brands, I have tried them all, these two are the only two that work. Yes, they are expensive, about the cost of a ticket! Do your own research however; there are plenty of reviews on line.
Please don’t mis-understand my advocating radar detectors, as some means to break the law. I advocate them to level the playing field! Sitting behind a bush “hunting” someone like an animal for not standing on their brakes when they see the 45 mph sign is disingenuous at best, and to my way of thinking complete and utter Bullshit!
If you are driving in a manner that is unsafe you should be ticketed.
Not standing on your brakes however; to get your car down from 55 to 45 by the time you cross some imaginary line is BullShit! If you are slowing you car either by taking your foot off of the gas, or making any other attempt to abide by the lower speed limit, that shows intent to obey the law, and therefore should be fine and not incur a fine! Towns without warning signs saying slower speeds ahead are sadly speed traps in the making, if not active; and should be called out.
I rail against this form of totalitarian abuse! To put up signs warning of construction to double the fines, without so much as a spade of dirt disturbed, is extortion, and needs to be overturned in congress. This practice needs to be outlawed and anyone who has been ticketed in this form should have some sort of class action suit against those that perpetrate such BullShit. Active construction zones means that the workers are present and actually doing something that warrants the slower speed. A sign saying “active construction zone” without anybody doing anything is wrong, and should be criminal!
Here are the problems which make this what it is:
Ticketing folks is lucrative. Some police departments get a source of revenue from tickets. This is wrong and needs to change. Make no mistake, I want them out doing their job, I don’t want them to make a “fucking” game out of it! Giving a ticket to someone messes up their insurance, adds points to their license, and messes up their day. If you are going to give someone a ticket it should be for willful disobedience to the law, not an innocent mistake, or certainly not some crappy speed trap.
There are over 80,000 known speed traps in this country. That is 80,000 places where the cops either make a game out of giving tickets or….it is a source of revenue.
States, find another way to pay your cops. Any revenue from tickets should go into education or some fund that will not promote illegal activity like speed traps!
Police folk, if you pull someone over for an infraction and you know what I mean by infraction, not slowing down quick enough comes to mind and…. They don’t have any kind of record etc, give them a warning, shake their hand and let them know that you are there for them, and not the assholes that see this as a revenue source.
You folks who see this as revenue, you need to be voted out of office, or kicked out or what have you. You and your ilk are the reason that half this country hates Cops! Speedtraps and other bullshit that you guys have done for eons needs to stop and it needs to stop now!
Police folk all over the country need to hire a PR firm, figure out how to get back on the side of the folks that you “protect and serve,” and not be some cog in some arbitrary revenue stream for municipalities. You are better than this!
I have a lot of friends who happen to also be cops. Thank God I know of noone that has some quota to fill or likes giving tickets! What the hell has happened to us!?
It is not us against them, and I hate to see that kind of talk in social media. You guys, and I am talking to the man in blue, need to step it up and change how folks perceive you. If you can’t afford a PR firm, I used to work for one, write me and I will give you some free tips, although this blog contains much info.
The roads in this state alone defy logic how they are regulated. If one thought as I do, one would think that once again they are regulated in such a way to make some revenue off of speeders. I would call on the state to regulate how these roads are rated. One example comes to mind with no obvious answers. Highway 20 coming into Dallas is 75mph until about 20 miles out or so and it drops to 65. I traveled this road the other night and I saw no sign warning me to slow down. My Garmin is set to make a noise if I am speeding, and it started beeping after I crossed some imaginary line. Shortly after that line, true to form, there was a trooper giving someone a ticket!
Why does the road slow down to 65mph. One could make the argument that you are now in the city limit of Dallas??? So the hell what! It is the same road, same amount of lanes so I am at a loss. One might retort that in the city limit, one does not need to be going above 65. So when I jump on the GBT and the speed limit is 70MPH and it is all in the city limit what is that? It should stay 75 until it hits 635. By then you are in enough traffic that 75 may not be possible but, every time that I have traveled this road, every time, 75 mph would have been easy!
The citizens of this country disserve consistency, and responsible thoughtful planning.
I am thinking that the state should control the freeways, and the cities control the “non highway surface streets” as the state does not need to micro manage those. If that is already the case, damn; we need to fire some folks!
One would no doubt make the argument that this is all about public safety and not about revenue. If that is the case why are you installing red light cameras, and cameras that take your picture if you are speeding?
Public safety and red lights I get. Drones on some lonely stretch of nowhere taking your picture and sending you a ticket for speeding, I am sorry, that is a revenue generator, and disingenuous at the very least, and should be illegal.
Why illegal?? When an officer is going to stop you for speeding the officer is supposed to judge “by his eye,” that you are speeding and driving in an unsafe manner and then confirm with radar, not the other way around. If you watch traffic for any time at all, you too can tell when someone is speeding, without radar. You have been on the road when some asshole is swerving in and out of traffic, which is when we want the man in blue to turn on the lights and go stop them! This same night I was passed by several people swerving in and out of traffic racing! They must have been pushing 90 on 635! I want them out there to protect and to serve. I want them out there getting the drunks off the streets! I want them to stop me if I am one of the assholes driving in an unsafe manner. I want them to get the folks off the road that drive 40 in a 65!
Their primary reason for stopping someone should be to protect and serve, not to make money for the city, county or new equipment or bonuses or raises or anything pecuniary! You cannot do your job correctly if your motive is not to protect and serve!
It is time to stop. Secondly, and more importantly we need to repair the relationships between the man-in-blue and the ordinary citizen. We do that in many ways but firstly we stop harassing them for allowing their car to drift a couple miles over the speed limit, on a place in the road that goes downhill. This is not a god damned game!
It is past time that this type of revenue generation is curtailed, and we need to have legislation introduced at the federal level, as well as the state level to stop it.
We have several spots where I live that the cops like to hang out and ticket people for really minor infractions. I listen to them on the scanner and let me tell you, some of these guys are pretty childish! And they have guns!
To sit at the bottom of a hill and stop someone for a minor infraction is “BULLSHIT!”
If you think that is a great game to play while you wait for the next adrenaline filled chase, than you qualify as a rectal sphincter! You really mess up people’s days, nights and some people a lot longer than for a few moments of entertainment for yourselves, and your buddies, and $220 for the city!
This needs to stop!
I mentioned in a previous blog that our men in blue need to have active body cameras streaming video up to the cloud while they are on duty. This video and sound would be visible and audible in a NOC type display that their boss and dispatcher have access to and there would be active oversight. If the cop has a problem with that, he needs to find another line of work. These guys have the power to kill; and that needs active oversight!
If the cop on the street is the rectal sphincter, he needs to go find something else to do.
After you finish reading my blog and forwarding it and all of that fun stuff, go read about some of the speed traps. Is your city on here?
Don’t leave yet!
What can you do?
Citizen, firstly let me tell you that I feel your pain. I should be able to have a red sport car and not be followed, stopped, and harassed because I am a guy in a red sport car! I am too old for this shit, and damned tired of it!
Unless it is illegal in your state, and I think that there are only one or two that it is, get one and use it. Don’t use it to speed but, if your town is on one of those speed trap towns, get it. They have them now with built in GPS that has a data base of red light cameras as well. I don’t want you ever running a light, ever! But, I do want you to know where they are so you will make certain that you don’t try and make the light on a yellow if you can stop without getting rear ended. The big issue with lights is that they too are inconsistent in the amount of time that they are yellow. That is why robotic law enforcement is flawed! You are guilty until proven innocent, with this technology, which is …..BullShit!
They even make a Radar Detector that is built in so it is not obvious that you have it, if your locals have attitude about such things that may be a way to go. Escourt has one that is a GPS unit and also a radar detector so it would not stand out like a red flag to a bull!
Remember, you are buying this and using it as a way to stay within the confines of the law, not to break it. So Mr. Cop with a hard on for people who have these, not all of us are the kinds of folks who get them so we can break the law! We just want to know where you are, if you are one of those who want to hide behind a tree and wait for us to not slow down enough before we cross your imaginary line.
Lights Camera Action!
Which brings up a question; why is it illegal for me or you to flash your lights to warn others that there is a cop around? Folks that is Bullshit! If I flash my lights warning others that there is a cop around, I am doing a public service as I am slowing folks down. It is no different than the cop himself being visible driving up and down the freeway. This law too needs to change and maybe this is a change.org thing! By the creation of that law you are abridging my freedom of speech! Flashing my lights is a code, which is a form of speech!
If someone happens to be a lawyer and wants to do something for the little people, either get a ticket for this, or solicit to do some pro-bono work for someone who gets a ticket for this, and let’s take it to court! Bullshit laws need to be challenged! This case would make a name for the attorney who challenged it and won!
Dash Cameras are cheaper than ever before and many have built in GPS as well as a G sensor. If you are stopped, you have enough information to go to court and I recommend that you do! It is interesting how polite people become, when they are being recorded. The officer cannot legally touch your camera, phone or search your car without a warrant. Don’t let him!
If you are stopped, turn on the dome light; put your hands in plain view. I don’t think that any of them go out today and think, “I wonder if I will get to shoot anyone today” but, when they stop you, their adrenaline is pumping. I can hear it in their voice, and if you get a scanner, you will too. You do not want to give them a reason to touch their gun, or Tazer, or club, pepper spray or anything else. You do not want to be an accident!
The time and place to be confrontational is court, not on the side of the road with them who hold all the cards! You really have no idea what possessed them to become a cop in the first place. Are they control freaks, or do they really care about people, and want to protect them, the answer is “yes” but which one is which?
Garmin / GPS
My GPS has a data base of the roads and associated speeds and notifies me if I am going over the speed limit. It is annoying as it beeps at one mile over. If Garmin can make this adjustable or perhaps your brand does this, and it can be adjusted to 3 or 4 mph tolerance vs. 1, this is a good tool, and I would use it. I actually do, even though it is bothersome.
This device if used the way I recommend, will accomplish a few things. Firstly you will get a feel for the folks that work for the local police force. While they also communicate by phone and encrypted text via a laptop “talk about distracted driving;” they do a fair bit on the regular old two-way and car to car.
Where I live most of them are very professional and they have a hard job. I would not want it. They have a certain amount of hubris that comes out in their voice, mannerisms and when in person you can certainly tell it by some of their glibness. They are not SGT Friday on the old FBI show of the 60’s
Recently our town had one of those “collect old drug” events. This is a great way to get all of the old prescription stuff out of your house and not have to toss it in such a way that is not recommended, as it will taint the water supply and or dump site. As I asked the officer what they did with it, his answer was “we take it and sell it for top dollar!” About the time I snapped my head looking up at him to try and figure out his trite response and attitude, the guy next to him answered in the respectful manner that I was looking for. Quickly I noticed that the guy beside him happened to be a friend of mine and when the sarcastic cop realized that I was somebody, he too became serious and to the point.
My reason for asking was that all of these contained information labels that I wanted them to have so they knew what they had but, I did not necessarily want just anyone knowing who I was and what I was taking. The point to this is that is one of the childish behaviors that cops cannot have when they are on the job.
I use the scanner to know what is going on in my town and the surrounding towns. They have scanners now that not only auto program themselves but, they also have built in GPS that will program them accordingly for your location. That would be handy on a road trip.
Assume that these guys are the good guys, and they are there to protect and serve. If you are pulled over, record everything, be polite, and if you feel that you were mistreated; go down to the police station and talk with the Sergeant. If that does not prove fruitful, and you still think that they were wrong, take it to court!
Why do we have courts? Today we live in such a litigious society that everyone wants to sue everyone for anything. The courts are clogged up with petty bullshit among other things. The lawyers are the benefactors, and truth be told probably the real villains in this whole story.
We sue to right a wrong. If you were wronged by someone, say the police, you take it to court and sue, not to get money but to stop it from happening to someone else. To me that is the only real reason to take anyone or anything to court, “to leave the world a little better place than when you found it.”
Thus ends my epistle on speed, cops, you and the meaning of life.. Ok, maybe not the meaning of life but, another blog for another day…
-Best to you and those that you care about…And that is especially true for my friends wearing Blue… I know what you guys do, and while this blog is critical of some, I know that is the minority.