Speed limit signs are confusing to some and a form of entrapment for others.
I would like to see a change to these signs and here is why.
Traveling down most highways where small towns are concerned, we see things like 75mph and a few miles later 45mph than 35 mph and in some towns it even gets slower.
Here is what I would like to see. I would like to see incorporated in that signage “for the next 15 miles or 1000 yards” whichever the case may be.
There are simply too many small towns that depend upon traffic tickets for revenue which is bogus at best, and downright dishonest at worst.
While I am a firm proponent of money from tickets going to education or some other account, other than for law enforcement, or pet projects of some city; that is a different cause.
Alerting drivers that the speed will be XX for the next X miles is one way to assist drivers in maintaining the proper speed and not get cited for failure to control vehicle speed. At least they can set the cruise and have an idea that it is not going to 75 and then back to 35, 2 miles later!
Some towns post no warning of lower speed ahead and the police person is sitting right by the sign with the radar waitingfor you to cross some imaginary line. We need consistency with signage and we need to do away with the profit motive for towns with speed traps.
Since I live in Texas, I would first address this to Governor Abbott.
I will go to change.org and formerly draft something for them and I would appreciate each of you to go and sign the petition.
If this catches on in Texas, possibly we can make it catch on in other states.
Only if life were so simple that we could hand Otis the keys to his prison cell, so when he was sober again he could let himself out of prison and get about his day.
Only if, the cops had one bullet and kept that bullet in their shirt pocket instead of the gun.
Andy never had to deal with terrorist and Barney, well he never had to deal with a hardened criminal that would have shot first and asked question later.
The truth is that many of us want Mayberry RFD. Many want to go down to the local fishing hole with our son or father spending the day hooking worms and pulling the hook out of the mouths of the fish that fell for the bait.
Andy was the optimist, there was good in everyone and, everyone was innocent until proven guilty.
Barney was a small city cop that had the heart of a big city cop, with the pessimism to match.
Sunday mornings in such a town would have been about getting the family up and dressed in their Sunday best and all sitting in the pews attentively listening to what the preacher had to say. After church, pleasantries with the other “saints” would be exchanged and in some church’s most likely Fried Chicken on the grounds would be in order.
Most certainly if not enjoyed as a group, each family might retire to their own home to enjoy Fried Chicken, homemade ice-cream (you know the kind without listeria) and lemonade on the front porch, “family time.”
Where have we gone astray?
I think it started with radio, and then TV, and now we have so much technology that the world has become a small place. All the evils of the world have pervaded the threads of our humanity, which cause many of us to rail against it and some to simply shut down and ignore it. We seek refuge in the few places that seem untouched by “life” and Church is such a place.
The old Hymns of the 1800’s still comfort some of us, and for a little while we focus on things other than their evil but, our own sins, and how we might do better and of course, give thanks to God.
Today, on the way to church, at the bottom of a hill sat a cop with the latest in technology LIDAR “light detection and ranging” equipment. This device can accurately determine your speed down to the .00 “hundredth” of a mile per hour.
While Mayberry and Andy are nowhere around, at this time of the day the road is occupied by a high percentage of folks headed to church. The cars are full of families with the mother making sure that Johnny has matching socks, and not the pair with the holes in them.
Mary is trying to apply that last bit of makeup before they arrive, as she wants Steve to notice her. Dad is trying to get to church just one day on time; without getting into a fight with the wife or children about things that have to be done before Monday.
While going to church should be a joyous occasion, it seldom is as we are a people that either stay busy, to keep up, or get left behind. We forget why we are up on Sunday morning to begin with, and why we are going to church?
Since the family has left the house a little late, it is important not to catch the lights and hitting the brakes while going down the hill seems counter-intuitive as the speed picks up from 40 to 45 in a few hundred feet anyway!
Enter into the picture a modern day Barney Fife. Young guy wearing a freshly pressed uniform, clean car and sporting the most modern technology available, purchased with tax dollars from those he is “hunting.”
I simply do not understand why cops have an image problem?!
If it takes high tech toys, pointed at cars going down a hill to determine when the driver has exceeded some magic number to earn a ticket of $200 plus dollars, while on their way to church, why do it? Is it to make this guy’s day, or increase revenue? Does he have some imposed quota of tickets that he must reach or is it simply a friendly competition with his fellow officers to see who gets the most tickets written in the month? What motivates someone to sit at the bottom of a hill, waiting for some poor slob to not hit the brakes while going down the hill? I can tell if someone is driving stupidly without the gadgetry, can’t you?
Sitting at the bottom of a hill shooting Laser up the hill is disingenuous at best, and I would think simply in bad form. At what speed does one get pulled over in a 40? Is it 43, 43.5, 44, 44.5, 45? What, what is the magic number that one has to hit before Barney pulls out his ticket book? Maybe its 44.788?
Make no mistakes about this blog… I want the cops to do their jobs. “To protect and to serve!”
If someone comes through there at 50 weaving in and out of traffic, I want them stopped! That does not take LIDAR to figure out. If someone is driving recklessly, they need to be held accountable. If on the other hand someone gains a few miles an hour going down a hill on a Sunday Morning, when there is little traffic, and you need LIDAR to figure out exactly how fast they were going, that is simply DAFT!
Here is my challenge to you the police… Treat others as you would want to be treated. Very simple idea I know but I think many have forgotten this, possibly because they are sitting in a cop car on Sunday Morning hunting with high tech toys rather than sitting in a pew somewhere learning that we are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of god. While the golden rule is not part of the Bible, it really should be. Let he who is without guilt cast the first stone, is in the bible.
To you the people who see this same kind of behavior, here is what you can do.
Firstly there is technology that will beep at you, if you are speeding. I have this in my vehicle and I use it driving anywhere. People in my car tell me it is annoying but let’s face it, how many times have you missed a speed limit sign because it was behind a tree or bush?
Another thing is a radar detector. I am not telling you to get one to speed, I am telling you to get one so you can even out the technology gap a little. Radar itself will give you advanced warning, laser will not tell you anything, other than you have been tagged. Laser however is line of sight so, while they see you and “target you, if you are observant you will hopefully see them and wave, with all of your fingers…. “lead by example.”
In combination with your beeping GPS and radar detector, and eyes; you should be able to avoid giving money to the city.
The pitiful part of this is that I believe that it is all about money and little about protecting and serving. That is why I would push for money from tickets not go into their coffers but, into education or, infrastructure.
I would challenge the Sergeants that have underlings; have them lighten up. I can tell if someone is driving badly without any technology, I see it daily. Do you really want people to see your guys sitting at the bottom of hills shooting lasers up the hill? Are you that damned desperate for funds that you have to ticket little old ladies on their way to church for failing to step on the brakes while going down a hill?!
To the Barney Fife’s of the world; I don’t know what drives you whether it be adrenaline, or you hated your parents but remember, one day this will be you. You will not always be the one behind the LIDAR. If you get stopped, are you going to pull out your badge and hope for some “good old boy treatment,” or possible professional courtesy, much like the shark that won’t bite a lawyer? You in fact are no different from us, and that is really the point of this blog.
There is this “us and them mentality” which you promote by doing things like sitting at the bottom of a hill shooting LIDAR up the hill. Tell you what, Drag your sorry butt to Church when you are not on duty. Go enjoy that fried chicken with your peers. Let people in the community see you, and interact with them in a manner that is not judging. You are no better than the rest, and when you think that you are, you are on the slippery slope.
Protect the people like you are supposed to do, which is what you signed up for. To protect and to serve, not to hunt and to hassle.
I would also challenge the people to do one more thing. Get a dash cam.
Not long ago I was pulling into a restaurant in Addison Texas. Screaming out of the parking lot was a Dallas police officer who had been working radar in the parking lot, camouflaged by the other cars and trees. Had I not been keenly aware my situation and stabbed the brakes, she would have hit me head on! Now, how do you think that would have gone down in court? She was totally at fault, but it would have been her word against mine and possibly, possibly and unbiased third party cop, to see the evidence and maybe a witnesses but, had there been a dash-cam no contest. Her zeal for catching some speeder on Belt Line just about ruined both of our days. Had we collided without a camera, I feel that it would not have gone well for me. Maybe, and I hope that I am; wrong.
After the screeching stopped, our eyes met, she lowered her head breaking eye contact, and slowly pulled out onto the road.
No one is perfect and the dash cam would have made my life easier had I not been able to get that car stopped in time.
These cameras have come down in price and are certainly affordable. If you see, as I have seen, cops driving stupidly, send the video to their boss. They too need to be accountable. I have listened to the scanner while I travel and seen some do some rather stupid things, including speeding excessively for no reason other than they can, because they are mistakenly under the opinion that, they are the law! Once on camera, they will quickly find out that they are, not the law, but the man (or women) that has been hired by you to “protect and to serve!”
All cops should be required to wear active body cameras, not necessarily to point out your guilt or theirs but, to protect them from the people who would wish them harm, or by besmirching them, or accusing them of wrong doing.
At the end of the day we are neighbors, families and communities and what we each do for a vocation should not be an issue or divide us from each other.
Let’s get the Ne’er-do-wells off of the street, and if they wear a uniform, let’s get them a new vocation, as the man in blue should garner respect, not because you are told to respect them but, because they have earned it.
Sitting at the bottom of a hill, hunting church folk is not going to do it!
Today I would like to visit with you about a few rules of the road.
Recently (very recently) I spent some time on the highways of Texas and Louisiana.
The first thing that I would like to address is drivers and cell phones. The things have invaded every facet of our lives. We have them everywhere and we are married to them. These things are the Swiss army knife of technology.
There are so many ways that the phone has become an integral part of our daily lives that if we leave home without it we will turn around and go get it. If we are too far away when it is discovered we will actually have anxiety issues about it not being with us.
We will pull it out at a red light. This action often times causes you to be sitting there after the light has turned green causing the guy behind you to honk. (That guy is me by the way.)
We pull it out on side streets and try to text, Facebook and what have you, while driving. We will pull it out on the highway and not only try to talk but text, Facebook.
One of my favorite all time News Anchors pulled it out and took a picture of her dash while traveling down the road at 60 MPH showing the temp of -14 and of course driving at night on icy roads. She really should lead by example, and this is not it.
On this last trip I noticed a new twist to this phenomena, truck drivers are doing it. On multiple occasions I would see a truck swerve on the highway. Often times they would swerve to avoid going into the ditch and their truck / trailer would end up in the other lane from the over correct. As I passed each and every truck that did this they had the phone up next to their ear.
They did this on dry pavement and they did this during a blinding rain storm.
The driver that really caught my eye was a Texas Trooper, who also swerved. As he passed me, he too had a phone up to his ear. I guess that he was late for something as he passed me well in excess of the speed limit, on a rain slick street, with a phone next to his ear. Can a citizen pull over a cop?
I have never driven a “big rig.” I really don’t know what would happen if they were to drop a wheel off of the paved road. The over correcting part that put them in the other lane, however; I can guess what would happen if someone was beside them.
Normal every day drivers do this all day every day with no thought of the danger that they are putting themselves in, not to mention the rest of us.
This type of behavior is cause for every day drivers to pay attention not only to the road but each and every car around you as you never know when someone is going to try and do something stupid!
Hands free devices should be mandatory for those who wish to talk and drive. My vehicle allows me to hit a button on the wheel, tell my phone who to dial and handle everything without taking my eyes off of the road. There are after market devices like this so, really there are no excuses. Even a blue tooth headset will allow you to do this.
Distracted driving is illegal. We should not need a special law for each and every thing that you might do with your car while driving.
On another note, who came up with the speed limits on our roads?
Some road should clearly be marked faster than they are and some should not be marked as fast as they are. There should be standards and that can be state by state but there should be consistency. Two lanes farm to market roads have no business being 75MPH. Multiple lane highways have no business changing from 75 to 55 when they are the same road with the same kind of traffic. We need to work to fix things and lead by example.
Small towns that change their speed limits on the main road to 30 mph at the drop of a hat, with the sign being partially or fully obstructed by a tree or shrub or some other structure ought to be fined by some sort of oversight committee.
Recently I went through Cross Plains Texas where the speed drops from 75 to 30. Just inside the border there is a really old sheriff or some sort of cop that wears a T-Shirt that says police on it. He has a cowboy hat and boots and jeans. Truly he is a throwback from another era. The tickets appear to be an 8.5 X 11 piece of paper and he goes through many, from what I am told. Maybe they are the large print variety.
As I was quite lost while looking for a place, I went through the town many times. Each and every time he had someone pulled over. It is not that the town should not be 30; the road going to the town should not be above 60.
On a recent trip through the Keys I found that the road going through them was under construction for the entire trip. Highway 1 was about a 100 miles of intermittent speeds going from a high of 55 down to 30 with little or no warning. Behind each and every sign was a cop and of course while all of the signs said, “active construction zone” there was not a sole lifting a spade of dirt. There should be a law against this type of thing. By the way for the record; this was a work day, middle of the day. The entire week that I was there I never saw anyone doing anything that one could call construction.
Slow down, don’t text and drive, and get a hands free device and learn to use it.