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Traffic Law Enforcement: In Whose Best Interests?

By CaptainSuperBoy in Op-Ed
Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:20:54 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

If you've ever received a ticket for a moving violation, you have probably wondered whether that one ticket improved traffic safety at all. Some tickets certainly increase safety, by removing blatantly irresponsible drivers from the road and punishing unsafe behavior. Many motorists, however, have wondered whether the majority of traffic tickets are in the best interests of society. There seem to be two interests at work here, and they are not on the same team. Are our traffic laws designed to improve safety, or to guarantee a stream of revenue to various groups?


You may have been driving recently and spotted a machine by the side of the road, with a read-out that told you what speed you were traveling. This machine was equipped with a radar system, designed to check if you were exceeding the speed limit and optionally, issue a citation. Some machines merely tell you your speed as a reminder - others will actually take the place of a police officer and cite you for going too fast.

Police Machines

Police departments have realized that they can't catch all traffic violators. Fine - so they are now recruiting machines to do their work for them. Enter red light cameras and photo radar.

A red light camera is simple enough. Departments install a camera system at busy intersections. When a driver enters the intersection at a red light, the system snaps a picture of their car (including license plate), and the vehicle's owner receives a citation in the mail, several days or weeks later. The problem is that red light cameras are an investment in revenue, not safety. There is no safety benefit to red light cameras. After all, what is a camera going to do to prevent an accident at an intersection? How is the camera going to apprehend a fugitive running a green light at 100 MPH?

Red light violations can be reduced through a simple and inexpensive practice: Increasing the time that a yellow light is displayed. When Fairfax County, Virginia increased yellow light time by 1.5 seconds at an intersection with a camera, violations were reduced by 96%. Red light violations were almost eliminated by this simple measure: they went from "an average daily rate of 52.1 per day before the yellow time increase to just 2 per day afterwards."5

Photo radar is also simple. It's just a machine doing a job that would ordinarily be done by a police officer, handing out speeding tickets. The difference is that the officer has been trained to operate the radar gun, is able to use common sense, and is able to respond to more pressing violations than a speeder. Photo radar has been proven ineffective on multi-lane highways, due to its inability to single out which driver was actually clocked. Radar, the earliest speed measurement technology, is also fallible. Radar guns must be calibrated regularly, and even when properly used they can generate false readings.

Photo radar is also not profitable if speed limits are set to a reasonable speed, that most drivers operate at. Units end up being placed in the most heavily traveled roads where limits are under-posted. They end up being counter-productive: given the choice, a community will continue to receive revenue from a machine rather than fix the actual problem, under-posting of speed limits.

In the case of both red light cameras and photo radar, it is clear that proper engineering is preferable to exploiting drivers for the purpose of generating revenue.

The Laser Problem

One Sunday in November, 2000, I was driving back to my home in Massachusetts from my parents' house in New York. It was a beautiful, clear day, around noontime. I was driving on a stretch of six lane highway called I-684, where the speed limit is an inexplicable 55 miles per hour. Traffic was very sparse - I had the left lane all to myself.

Then I saw them. Two New York State Troopers came into view, parked in the median as I cleared a hill. When you get pulled over for speeding, you don't wonder whether they clocked you or not. There's this intuitive feeling you get when you see them, and you know that you got nabbed. Trooper Pierce clocked me at 83 miles per hour in a 55 MPH zone, using a laser gun to measure my speed. I got pulled over, I got a summons, and I went on my way. They had a line of drivers pulled over, and were ticketing them one by one. It was like a slaughterhouse.

Although radar is still the king of speeding enforcement, the laser gun, or LIDAR (Light Detector and Ranging), is quickly gaining acceptance. The New York State Police, like many departments, use the LTI Marksman gun from Laser Technology, Inc. Police love laser enforcement because it's virtually impossible to evade. Almost immediately after radar was used to enforce speed limits, radar detectors were released. The current level of technology is such that a skilled driver with a very good radar detector is unlikely to ever receive a radar ticket.

Since a laser beam is "instant-on," there is no chance of detection while a laser gun isn't being used. The beam is also focused, dissipating to only a three foot radius over 1,000 feet. This reduces the chance of a detector picking up a stray beam or a ricochet. The officer simply uses a crosshairs to aim at the car he wants, and pulls the trigger. Currently, the best defenses against LIDAR can only reduce the range of detection. It cannot be jammed, and it is unlikely that you'll detect it in time to correct your speed.

LIDAR dates back to the early 1990s, when Kustom released their ProLaser, and Laser Technology, Inc. released its first unit, the 20-20. LTI almost didn't make it to release, though. The company, founded in 1985, was strapped for cash as it worked on its new LIDAR product. They needed money, and guess who brought cash to the table? The insurance companies.

GEICO, an insurance company that was initially founded for US government employees, stepped in with a $950,000 loan. The reasons are simple: Speeding tickets result in increased insurance premiums, and better enforcement technology results in more speeding tickets. GEICO's loan was the birth of what I like to call the Speeding Industry.

The Speeding Industry

Here's how it works: Insurance companies support communities and police departments through donations of LIDAR devices, money, and loans. Read through the minutes of your city council or town meeting, and don't be surprised when you see a line item that reads, "Approved: Donation of LTI Marksman 20-20 laser gun." Speeding fines go directly into the coffers of that town or city. For the government, it's a no-brainer. Accepting that donation is like accepting free money. The insurance companies, though, get the real benefit. In the United States, a single speeding violation can send your premium up by hundreds of dollars - and depending on your state, you could be paying that higher rate for years. As anyone who has been found guilty of a speeding violation will tell you, the fine is nothing compared to the ongoing insurance rate hike.

The final ingredient in this cottage industry is the cooperation of the public. After all, we're all participants (if somewhat unwitting) in this game - it couldn't continue without the implicit support of taxpayers and motorists. This is the reason we are led to believe, by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, police departments, and motor vehicle bureaus, that all traffic violations are dangerous.

How does this explain the existence of the speed trap, though? The speed trap, entrenched in our driving culture and the daily lives of police officers, is a practice designed for one purpose: Catching people who are exceeding the speed limit. There is something wrong with this goal. Shouldn't the goal of highway police be to catch unsafe drivers, not speeders? At some point speeders have been equated with unsafe drivers, and we are all suffering for it.

The IIHS will tell you that "Speed is a factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, killing an average of 1,000 Americans every month."1 If you didn't look carefully, you might think they were declaring a causal relationship between speed and fatal crashes - they're not. Incidentally, doesn't this statistic mean that 70 percent of fatal crashes don't involve speeding?

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the actual danger is when motorists are traveling at varying speeds. Research has not supported the claim that lower speed limits result in fewer accidents, but it has shown that if most drivers operate at the same speed, accidents will be reduced.2 You may be surprised to learn that there is a proven method for accomplishing the goal of similar speeds for most drivers, and it's called the "85th percentile speed."

The 85th Percentile

We must assume these four points2 when determining public policy on speeding:

  • The majority of motorists drive in a safe and reasonable manner
  • The normally careful and competent actions of a reasonable person should be considered to be legal
  • Laws are established for the protection of the public and the regulation of unreasonable behavior of a few individuals
  • Laws cannot be effectively enforced without the consent and voluntary compliance of the majority
Raising and lowering speed limits has not been shown to influence the speed that most drivers operate at. A reasonable basic speed rule should be based on a proven statistic: The speed limit should be set at the maximum speed that 85 out of 100 drivers travel at. At the 85th percentile speed, the differential between driving speeds is reduced, and consequently accidents are reduced.

Unfortunately, the goal of the Speeding Industry is not to reduce accidents. A study by the United States Department of Transportation3 showed that changes in speed limits barely caused drivers to change their average speed. An obvious finding was that raising the speed limit reduced violations, and lowering the speed limit raised violations. On average, the speed limits on the roads they measured were set at 45th percentile speeds - meaning, over half of drivers exceed the posted speed limit. A study by the Cato Institute4 found that since the repeal of the national 55 MPH speed limit in 1995, traffic fatalities have continued to decrease in frequency.

Most states claim to set speed limits at "safe and reasonable" speeds. Is it reasonable to turn more than half of all drivers into criminals? Is it safe to promote such disparity in traveling speeds by enforcing unrealistic speed limits?

Enforcement vs. Safety

I'd also like to bring up a point about roadblocks. Many departments have taken to screening drivers using mandatory checkpoints. Most frequently, checkpoints are used to combat seat belt violations and DWI. Checkpoints have been great for police departments. A 1995 Connecticut emphasis on roadblocks and enforcement was a success. There was a 33% increase in speeding tickets, a 51% increase in seat belt tickets, and a 22% increase in DWI arrests. Unfortunately, the biggest success was the rate of accidents: on highways that were targeted for enforcement, the rate of crashes rose by 66%.6

It should go without saying, but it doesn't. Roadblocks are an unconstitutional violation of 4th amendment rights in the United States. As usual, freedom is thrown out the window when the word safety is thrown around. Roadblocks are outlawed in some states, they are legal in others.

Oh, and if you're wondering what happened with my little laser ticket: I beat it. You see, the courts and police aren't interested in the small percentage of drivers who bother to fight tickets. Most people just mail the ticket in, and accept it as a "driving tax." It just isn't cost effective to battle every motorist in open court. If you fight your ticket, chances are it will be either reduced or thrown out. I beat mine on a technicality, which is your best bet for getting the ticket thrown out entirely. The most likely outcome is you will indicate to the prosecutor that you are interested in working something out. You'll bargain on a reduced sentence, the judge will ask if both parties agree, and your case will be closed.

The triangle of law enforcement, insurance, and local government has convinced us that they are operating in the best interests of safety for too long. In reality, they are not operating in your best interests, or the best interests of safety. They are only looking out for their own revenue stream, and if enough people realize this we can force them to do the right thing: Look out for our best interests.

References:

  1. http://www.iihs.org/safety_facts/qanda/speed_limits.htm
  2. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/fossc/trafficoperations/traffic/limits.htm
  3. http://www.motorists.org/issues/speed/fhwa_report.html
  4. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-346es.html
  5. http://www.motorists.org/issues/enforce/vastudy.html
  6. http://www.motorists.org/pressreleases/laborday.html

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Poll
What is your opinion of the traffic enforcement in your area?
o It is not in my best interests and it is a violation of my rights 15%
o It is a nuisance, but I understand the reasons behind it 7%
o I'm indifferent 2%
o We need traffic laws, but they must be changed to benefit safety, not revenue 52%
o Our current traffic laws are the best solution 5%
o We need to be more aggressive in pursuing traffic violations 15%

Votes: 138
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o http://www .iihs.org/safety_facts/qanda/speed_limits.htm
o http://www .wsdot.wa.gov/fossc/trafficoperations/traffic/limits.htm
o http://www .motorists.org/issues/speed/fhwa_report.html
o http://www .cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-346es.html
o http://www .motorists.org/issues/enforce/vastudy.html
o http://www .motorists.org/pressreleases/laborday.html
o Also by CaptainSuperBoy


Display: Sort:
Traffic Law Enforcement: In Whose Best Interests? | 712 comments (694 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden)
Revolution (4.50 / 8) (#4)
by cafeman on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 10:12:22 PM EST

Let's fight these bastards!  If we don't speed, they'll run out of money!!!!  Boycott speeding - that'll teach them!!!

--------------------
"No Silicon heaven? But where would all the calculators go?"


Better yet (4.60 / 5) (#7)
by skim123 on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 10:33:57 PM EST

Just don't speed but encourage others to. This way you get to enjoy the fat coffers of the local government, plush from the many speeding tickets, but you, yourself, do not have to pay any money into said coffers. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Excellent plan (4.66 / 3) (#10)
by Katt on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 10:51:36 PM EST

I'm one of the very few drivers out there that, for the most part, actually goes the speed limit on the freeway. (Well okay.. sometimes I'll go 60 in the 55 zone or 70 in the 65, but that's it.)

It's happened to me twice now; someone will zoom up behind me, immediately pass me at some insane speed, and then get nabbed by a cop just up the road. Point and laugh time: Ha ha!

[ Parent ]

Damn! (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by cafeman on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:20:48 AM EST

That's devious!  I guess I'm just not Dr. Evil material ...

--------------------
"No Silicon heaven? But where would all the calculators go?"


[ Parent ]
but... (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by Bill Godfrey on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:02:04 AM EST

"Dag nabbit. The populace are getting wise to our plan and are speeding less. Reduce the limit, we need more revenue!"

[ Parent ]

but but! (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by cafeman on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:37:57 AM EST

Then everyone will eventually slow down to the point where no-one is allowed to move anymore!  We still win!!!  They still go bust!!!!! We can still take over the world Pinky!!!!!!!!

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!

--------------------
"No Silicon heaven? But where would all the calculators go?"


[ Parent ]
voluntary tax (4.00 / 1) (#289)
by zenofchai on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:43:37 AM EST

i've started to refer to speeding as a sort of "voluntary tax". if you're wealthy enough to be able to afford speeding tickets and increased insurance premiums, you often feel guilty because you're not giving enough back to the community which allows you to keep your high economic standing. speeding allows you the opportunity to give back in the form of monetary donations, directly to the state in which you reside.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
Red Light Cameras (4.00 / 10) (#6)
by Clanwolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 10:33:25 PM EST

Speaking from a purely selfish viewpoint, red light running is a serious problem where I live. I've been the victim of a minor accident due to someone else running a red and hitting me, and my mother was in a major accident a few months ago where a Jeep ran a red light, broad-sided her, flipped her van over twice, and drove it into another vehicle.

Due to the absence of red-light cameras, and the perpetrator's denial of the series of events leading up to the accident, and in spite of the obvious evidence, no blame was ever assigned for the accident, nor was a single traffic citation written.

Early in July, the city installed red-light cameras on the worst intersections in terms of accidents. Since then, there hasn't been a single accident at any of those lights (down from an average of 4(!) a month at each light, 1 fatal).

Try telling the families of those victims how much of an infringement on your privacy those cameras are.
--"I'm simply not going to take it any more."

Privacy? (3.60 / 5) (#9)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 10:45:49 PM EST

I never mentioned the word privacy in the entire article.. nor did I claim that running red lights wasn't a problem. Although I'm concerned about the privacy implications of cameras, I'm more concerned that they are a means to make money and not improve safety. Your anecdotal evidence aside, cameras have not been shown to make a difference when it comes to safety.

The fact is red light cameras don't decrease red light violations, because most violations are unintentional. Increasing yellow light times is a way to reduce violations, without resorting to expensive technology, and without exploiting drivers. Please look over this study.

Also, "Try telling the families of those victims" is a sure-fire way to lose my attention. You may remember this subjective appeal to 'human decency' from such arguments as, "Drug legalization" and "Preventing terrorism." Please make your arguments without resorting to an old, used-up cliche.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Unintentional? (3.50 / 4) (#12)
by Katt on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 11:02:43 PM EST

Uh... you don't "unintentionally" run a red light.

It seems like most people that get tickets for running red lights either:

A) Gun it at the yellow and hope they make it through,
B) Don't slow down in time and end up going through the red light, or
C) Don't want to wait at the light and just go for it, hoping they don't hit anyone.

In all those cases it's the driver's fault for intentionally running the red light and getting a ticket.

[ Parent ]

intentional vs un (4.66 / 3) (#15)
by dr k on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 11:24:51 PM EST

If running a red light is highly likely to cause an accident, then anyone who believed running red lights was an okay thing would constantly be getting into accidents. So eventaully they would realize it isn't a good thing and would stop doing it.

Now, since people still run red lights, it is either because the risk of an accident is much less that you like to pretend, or there is no particular behavior or type of driver that tends to run red lights, they are just random drivers both good and bad. In other words, drivers don't run red lights with intentional malice in mind.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Yellow light times (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 11:33:58 PM EST

Increasing yellow light times are an effective solution to A and B, as was demonstrated in Virginia. Drivers in group C (who I suspect are the VAST minority) will quickly find themselves in so many accidents, that it's unreasonable to believe a little camera would do anything to change their behavior.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Yellow times (3.25 / 4) (#24)
by Katt on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:17:07 AM EST

The time period between a yellow light and a red light is set by the "approach speed" on the road leading to the traffic light. There's a formula they use to determine deceleration time and distance for the road's particular speed limit, and base it on that.

Instead of messing with the timing of every stop light in a state or county or city, why not just... oh, I don't know... actually slow down and prepare to stop when you see a yellow light?

This isn't rocket science. If you don't run the red light, you won't get a ticket from the red light camera.

[ Parent ]

Margin of Error (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:12:31 AM EST

Speed limits are frequently set well below the 85 percent mark, so setting the yellow light timing based on that is a BAD PLAN.

Not everyone has the same reaction time.  Surely people with sufficiently slow reactions should not have licenses, but allowing for the time between when their reactions slow down and when they get their license renewed can't hurt.

People do stupid things while driving and don't always pay enough attention.  Rather than basing traffic engineering off of the people who aren't doing stupid things, base it off of those who are and make roads safer.

Basically, shooting down a really simple safety measure because everyone achieving perfection would prevent it from being necessary is just silly.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Good plan (2.50 / 2) (#69)
by Katt on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:21:09 AM EST

Or you could just not be stupid in the car.

Seriously.

Some states (like California) are required by law to set the light timing to the road's speed limit. That avoids the whole "the unfair corrupt city cops shortened the yellow to drive up ticket revenue" argument.

If a person can't handle something like driving a car and reacting appropriately in a situation like that, they should do us all a favor and ride the bus. You said it yourself, they shouldn't have licenses in the first place...

Dumbing down traffic laws for people like that is like eliminating the shoplifting laws and saying "well, most people won't steal, so why bother with the few that do?"

[ Parent ]

Still not honest (4.50 / 2) (#111)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:12:06 AM EST

Some states (like California) are required by law to set the light timing to the road's speed limit.

Except that the formula being used results in a shorter yellow light than there should be. Read the article I posted a link to earlier.

[ Parent ]

Article (none / 0) (#558)
by Katt on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:30:53 AM EST

The article doesn't mention exactly why the standards changed over the years, and seems to try and make it sound like this is all some massive conspiracy by the FHWA and local police departments nationwide trying to make more money.

It also says that the Manual on Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and other guidelines are "scarcely read traffic manuals." The MUTCD is essentially the bible for traffic engineers... If a state doesn't follow it to the letter, the FHWA gets to take away all federal highway money going to the state.

If a state is messing around with yellow-light times to increase revenue, that's a bad thing that needs to be fixed... However, I have no problem with red light cameras set "by the book." People who do stupid things on the road deserve to get caught.

[ Parent ]

Scarcely read (none / 0) (#570)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:34:33 AM EST

By the politians setting the limits. I agree that not following the manuals will get money yanked, but only if you do it in the direction of loosening restrictions on the drivers. No one ever got busted for reducing speed limits or shortening lights.

However, I have no problem with red light cameras set "by the book."

Neither do I. There are lots of them in Germany, and I don't mind since I have noticed that they only exist at the nastiest intersections. And due to raising a modern city around a sometimes 1200 year-old road plan with streetcars intermingling with traffic, they can get very dangerous and confusing.

This is quite a different philosophy than the U.S.-based plan of putting them at the intersections with the shortest yellows or at the bottom of a downhill where there have never been any red-light running accidents. The greed motive, along with a complete disregard for traffic safety, is very clear in the U.S. model.

[ Parent ]

Not exactly... (4.50 / 2) (#316)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:24:30 PM EST

Dumbing down traffic laws for people like that is like eliminating the shoplifting laws and saying "well, most people won't steal, so why bother with the few that do?"

I think it's more along the lines of "well, the dmv isn't perfect, and people's abilities wont always change the day that they go to renew their license, so we should engineer roads and traffic laws in such a manner that the effects of these imperfections are minimized."  I'm not saying that laws should be more slack - they should be more harshly enforced, and some things that aren't major offenses now should be (see this comment in another thread for more on that).  I'm saying that in the case of yellow lights, it makes more sense to have longer yellows to increase the margin of error than it does to expect perfection.  The DMV doesn't always catch the fact that someone's eyes are failing, and few DMVs test for reflexes, etc, and there is little that can be done by the DMV to prevent people from driving while sleepy, or eating breakfast, or whatnot.  No matter how hard the local cops try, they will miss someone, so why not have the extra margin for error at the light?

mathias

[ Parent ]

Yellows (4.66 / 3) (#139)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:42:57 AM EST

oh, I don't know... actually slow down and prepare to stop when you see a yellow light?

I can't tell you how many yellow lights in 50km/h (town) zones are set too short here in Ontario. My town in particular is pretty good, but there are only two lights. Orangeville and the GGTA (greater, greater Toronto area, from let's say south of Newmarket and east of Orangeville) have absolutely shitty times.

Do you ever drive up to an intersection and the light goes yellow causing you to wonder if you should go through the intersection because it's going to be a sharp stop or hammer on the brakes anyway? That is an incorrectly set yellow. Provided you're doing the limit and the limit is correct (the 85% rule stated above). Properly set, a yellow should never cause you to make that decision.



[ Parent ]
You think Ontario is bad? Try Western Washington (none / 0) (#524)
by keenan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:19:22 PM EST

I have some family in Orangeville so I have experience driving there specifically.  I actually lived in Ontario until 2 years ago, when I came out to Seattle, Washington.  I couldn't believe the difference -- the yellows here are amazingly short.  They seem to never give people enough time to react, at least in Bellevue -- people are always running the yellow and it's insane.  This is especially noticeable when you're yielding in the intersection to make a left-hand turn:  you almost never have time to get out of the intersection during the yellow and you pretty much always have to wait until the red to complete your turn.  

Keenan

[ Parent ]

Unintentional. (4.66 / 3) (#29)
by chrylis on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:38:09 AM EST

Uh... you don't "unintentionally" run a red light.

Uh... yes, I do.  A certain intersection on one of my city (of 65000)'s four major streets is timed with about three seconds of yellow.  The speed limit on that road is 50mph, and there have been times when even though I saw the light turn yellow I did not have enough space to stop before the intersection.  I've taken to watching the crossing signals, which are predictably linked to the yellow lights.

Is this what always happens?  Of course not.  But it quite certainly is possible to accidentally run a red light if the yellow light is too short.

[ Parent ]

Oh dear (1.83 / 6) (#120)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:46:22 AM EST

    The speed limit on that road is 50mph, and there have been times when even though I saw the light turn yellow I did not have enough space to stop before the intersection.

Then you're a fool and an accident waiting to happen. Speed limits are maximums. You actually have to take responsibility for driving at a safe speed for the conditions. That means that when you approach an intersection, you slow the fuck down even if there's no explicit signs to drill it into your idiotic skull.

If you're going to fast to stop, then you're going too fast.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Nice try (4.50 / 4) (#141)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:50:41 AM EST

Then you're a fool and an accident waiting to happen. Speed limits are maximums.

Speed limits are maximums but they can be incorrect. Personally, I drive the same speed as those around me. Mob rule on the road is actually pretty safe, simply because most people aren't willing to drive recklessly. That's also why the limits should be set according to the 85% rule. So that means I do ~100km/h on most 80km/h highways, and 50km/h in 50km/h town/city roads. Poor weather, bad roads, housing proximity to the road, local factors, etc.... those all moderate the speed.

However on a clear day with normal traffic flows the maximum posted limit should be totally acceptable. If a light turns and you have to actually think of whether to slam on the brakes so avoid running a red, or to proceed through the intersection because you can't stop in time then that is an incorrectly set yellow. There's no idiocy to it; It's plain and simple common fucking sense.

Just a guess: are you one of those morons who drives 75km/h in an 80km/h because you feel it's safer?



[ Parent ]
Oh dear (2.75 / 4) (#246)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:58:35 AM EST

    Poor weather, bad roads, housing proximity to the road, local factors, etc.... those all moderate the speed.

But by local factors, you don't include a huge great sign with a light on it that you know has a high probability of changing?

    If a light turns and you have to actually think of whether to slam on the brakes so avoid running a red, or to proceed through the intersection because you can't stop in time then that is an incorrectly set yellow. There's no idiocy to it; It's plain and simple common fucking sense.

Which signifies what? That it's not your responsibility to drive within the limits of your vehicle and the surrounding conditions, based on the reasonable likelihood of things happening? If you saw someone weaving between lanes ahead of you, would you just drive past, let them sideswipe you, and then feel self righteous about it? Or would you take action to avoid a clearly identifiable risk?

You talk about repeatedly shooting reds, and you blame it on the guy (or gal or machine) that picked the timings, because they don't agree with your opinion that you shouldn't have to slow down for the intersection. So, have you got a learning disability? Why can't you learn to adjust your speed for lights that you know require you to do so? Do you expect the timings to magically change one day just because they're (in your opinion) wrong?

It seems perfectly clear to me that the problem is your ego. You just don't want to slow down for these lights. You're happy shooting the lights repeatedly, secure in the knowledge that you're right and they're wrong, that you have no personal responsibility for your actions, and that if you're involved in a T-bone, you can blame it on the guy that set the lights.

    Just a guess: are you one of those morons who drives 75km/h in an 80km/h because you feel it's safer?

Given that this is the opposite of what I was saying - that you pick a speed based on the road conditions - that's a pretty poor guess.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

You're either psychic or talking out your ass (4.75 / 4) (#273)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:22:22 AM EST

But by local factors, you don't include a huge great sign with a light on it that you know has a high probability of changing?

Are you trying to tell me that you slow down as you approach every green light? As in 50km/h, ooh, there's an intersection... 30km/h... whew it didn't change, 50km/h...

I find that incredibly hard to believe. and slowing down 5km/h won't give you much more time to stop. Driving at a constant speed is the only sensible solution. The actual speed you select, of course, depends upon many factors.

You talk about repeatedly shooting reds, and you blame it on the guy (or gal or machine) that picked the timings, because they don't agree with your opinion that you shouldn't have to slow down for the intersection.

Where do I talk repeatedly about shooting reds? I mentioned in another comment that I've run a couple in my time, yes. But I don't do it habitually. If the intersection isn't busy (or if there is traffic waiting at the opposing light) there is absolutely no need for me to slow down upon approaching. I have, do and will continue to cruise through intersections at the posted speed limit, given the conditions outlined above and in my previous post. The law says to approach with caution, not with reckless abandon. But it certainly doesn't say slow down in case the light goes yellow!

So, have you got a learning disability? Why can't you learn to adjust your speed for lights that you know require you to do so? Do you expect the timings to magically change one day just because they're (in your opinion) wrong?

I'm not clairvoyant, if that's the word you're looking for. Nearly every light i have a problem with is because I'm not going through it once a day/week/month. And yes, I expect lights to be timed to give adequate time for approach.

It seems perfectly clear to me that the problem is your ego. You just don't want to slow down for these lights. You're happy shooting the lights repeatedly, secure in the knowledge that you're right and they're wrong, that you have no personal responsibility for your actions, and that if you're involved in a T-bone, you can blame it on the guy that set the lights.

I'd love to know where you're reading this from. I drive sensibly, and I select a speed based upon the same factors you seem to. But because I don't slow down at every intersection I'm some kind of menace to society? Give your head a shake.



[ Parent ]
Ouch, my mistake (1.00 / 1) (#320)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:28:56 PM EST

Sorry, I've just realised that I'm pointing the finger at the wrong person. I was actually responding to this post. I failed to notice that it was a different respondant.

My bad. Apologies for abusing you, it was quite uncalled for.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

haha; no problem. N/T (none / 0) (#334)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:51:37 PM EST



[ Parent ]
You should be able to drive the speed limit (none / 0) (#407)
by SomeWoman on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:20:20 PM EST

Then you're a fool and an accident waiting to happen. Speed limits are maximums.

The speed limit is (hopefully) set becase it has been determined to be a safe speed on the road. If the speed limit is 50 mph, but the yellow lights are set for 45 mph, then the speed limit should be 45 mph because 50 isn't safe. The yellow lights should be set with the expectation that people can safely drive the speed limit.

[ Parent ]

Yes you do. (3.00 / 1) (#136)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:37:41 AM EST

Uh... you don't "unintentionally" run a red light.

Yes you do. I've run a few reds simply because I wasn't attentive enough (long drives) -- not very often (maybe once a year) or when the yellow is set so amazingly short that it is practically useless. It does happen.



[ Parent ]
Where your article fell apart for me... (none / 0) (#668)
by Lancer on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 06:25:42 PM EST

You wrote in the previous response: "I'm more concerned that they are a means to make money and not improve safety." Any enforcement activity has the ability to increase safety through the simple use of deterrence. If I believe I have a higher chance of getting caught (speeding, running red lights, etc), I am less likely to perform those actions. I can't be the only one. So whether its cameras or patrol cars, some form of enforcement being there improves safety by deterring drivers from breaking the law.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.
[ Parent ]
Where? (4.00 / 2) (#52)
by godix on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:47:44 AM EST

"Early in July, the city installed red-light cameras on the worst intersections in terms of accidents. Since then, there hasn't been a single accident at any of those lights (down from an average of 4(!) a month at each light, 1 fatal)."

This runs counter to most case studies I've heard of. What city is this, and can you link to a local paper covering this story? It's not that I don't believe you, I just would like a link if I ever use this arguement in the future.

[ Parent ]

Vancouver, for one. (none / 0) (#412)
by BlueGlass on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:34:06 PM EST

Here is some data for a "traffic control camera" in a suburb of Vancouver, BC. This was one of the first test installations in the area of a red light camera. I believe this is the only online data for the Vancouver region, but they have presented much more comprehensive numbers at council meetings. These should eventually make their way online. The data are about halfway down the page, and the document also includes details of the rationale and financing of the cameras; the cameras are paid for by British Columbia's public insurance corporation.

Six months ago, a camera was installed at a particularly accident-prone intersection two blocks south of me. There is an ambulance/firehouse three blocks north of me. Injury-accidents during rush hour are quite noticeable, as the sirens tend to interrupt the dinner conversation.

Since the camera was installed, the number of emergency responses to that intersection has gone almost to zero (peaceful mealtimes, yaay!). There used to be a fatality about once/month, but it's now been 4 months since there's been one. On the first day of operation (they put up lots of bright orange signs announcing the presence of the new camera), I got to watch a little red Miata frantically skid to a stop, in a (successful) bid to avoid running the red light. That used to be unusual behaviour for this intersection. .

[ Parent ]

Boondocks. (none / 0) (#532)
by Clanwolfer on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:40:15 PM EST

I live way out somewhere, nowhere near any major cities. I'd love to provide a link, but our local paper has nothing apporaching an online presence.

Sorry 'bout that. I'm just quoting what the paper (not always the most reliable source itself) qhotes the sheriff (who may in fact have been drinking that day) said.
--"I'm simply not going to take it any more."
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#536)
by godix on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:01:09 PM EST

"qhotes the sheriff (who may in fact have been drinking that day) said."

Ya know, this is the best reason to not live in the country I've ever heard. Have you considered moving?

[ Parent ]

I must say... (4.20 / 5) (#17)
by issue9mm on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 11:46:15 PM EST

Extremely well-written article.  I have to ask though, precisely what technicality was it that freed you from the fines?  It might help the rest of us out at some point, if we know what to look for.

Above, I saw that someone mentioned something about insurance companies footing the bill for accidents.  I'd like to point out that, if insurance companies weren't humongous ripoffs, then safer drives would not only receive discounted rates, but also partial refunds as reward.  Grab a calculator, and figure out how much, in your lifetime, you'll have paid out to auto insurance.  Now, find someone else who pays a similar monthly rate (assuming that a similar rate ensures similar driving practices), but is much older than you.  Ask that person how many wrecks they've had in their lifetime (or moving violations, etc.), and then figure out the cost of those repairs... the difference is how much you're being robbed by.

Yes, you must subtract overhead and whatnot from that, but the fact of the matter is that even the best (and most cheaply insured) individuals are paying a premium on insurance because of the fault of the few.  

-9mm-

Beating the ticket (4.87 / 8) (#18)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Jul 28, 2002 at 11:51:33 PM EST

In New York State, you are not entitled to a discovery phase in a traffic trial - meaning you can't subpoena anything, request any documents from the PD, etc. Because of this, it's that much more important that you get what you're entitled to - which is a supporting deposition from the officer. You just check the box on the ticket, mail it in, and the officer is required to write a deposition with all the facts of the case. Good old Trooper Pierce didn't bother, and I made a motion to dismiss at the trial - motion granted. It pays to do your homework.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
That's part of the reason I don't have a car. [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#21)
by R343L on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:07:28 AM EST


"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]
Danke (none / 0) (#22)
by issue9mm on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:12:42 AM EST

Thank you kindly sir.

-9mm-

[ Parent ]

Heuristic (4.16 / 6) (#26)
by bugmaster on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:28:27 AM EST

You say that the evil government is trying to catch speeding drivers, not unsafe drivers, as if it were some sort of a conspiracy. However, I don't see how anyone could catch an unsafe driver, before said driver actually gets into an accident. Seeing as the government (and its minions, the cops) are not clairvoyant, they have to use a heuristic to catch unsafe drivers.

"Speeders are unsafe" is a reasonable heuristic, because fast-moving objects are harder to control than slow-moving ones, seeing as the speed of human reflexes remains constant. Thus, it stands to reason that fast-moving drivers are more likely to be unsafe, especially if said drivers are moving faster than everyone else. Similarly, "the driver weaves back and forth across the road" is a reasonable heuristic for "the driver is drunk", because we can't really measure the blood alcohol level of every driver on the street.

Heuristics are important because they let us achieve solutions that, while they may not be perfect, are much better than nothing. Computers use heuristics all the time -- for example, the LRU caching policy is a heuristic for "throw away the data that is not likely to be used again".

On the other hand, if you can devise a method for catching unsafe drivers directly (without using psychics suspended in vats of fluid, that is), then I'm all ears.
>|<*:=

Not a very good heuristic (4.00 / 3) (#30)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:39:00 AM EST

It may be a heuristic, but it hasn't been shown to be a very good one. Nobody can say with much certainty that speeding is a direct cause of accidents. Some evidence points instead to the wide differential between the slowest drivers and the fastest drivers as a cause - and speed limits set at the 85th percentile of driver speed are an effective way to relieve this condition.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Not true (4.75 / 4) (#31)
by Pseudonym on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:56:59 AM EST

The research in the US might be different, but here we do have research which seems to show that speed does indeed increase accidents, and, much probably more importantly, when accidents do happen, speed increases their severity.

To be fair, the research doesn't apply as much to highways and freeways, but more to roads where the speed limit is much lower than 90km/h (or 55 m/h for you backwards non-metric societies), to rural roads which are poorly lit at night and to urban/suburban roads where there are more pedestrians.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Correlation vs Causation (4.60 / 5) (#43)
by bugmaster on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:44:36 AM EST

Nobody can say with much certainty that speeding is a direct cause of accidents.
Fortunately, this is not what I was saying, either. A heuristic need not involve a causal relationship -- only a correlation. In other words, the statement the cops are making is "speeders are more likely to be involved in accidents", not "speeding causes accidents".

However, you say,

Some evidence points instead to the wide differential between the slowest drivers and the fastest drivers as a cause - and speed limits set at the 85th percentile of driver speed are an effective way to relieve this condition.
This is much stronger statement than the one I was making. It seems to say that:
  1. Speed differential between drivers is a cause of accidents
  2. We don't want accidents to happen
  3. Therefore, we should penalize drivers who drive too fast, as well as drivers who drive too slow
  4. We currently only penalize fast drivers; therefore, our current system is insufficient.
This seems reasonable to me, though I am not sure if this is what you meant.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Correlation where punishment is concerned (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by TypographicalError on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:26:42 AM EST

A heuristic need not involve a causal relationship -- only a correlation. In other words, the statement the cops are making is "speeders are more likely to be involved in accidents", not "speeding causes accidents".
While I understand the need for heuristics, there must be a strong correlation, on the order of: "10% of all speeders cause accidents in one single trip from place to place." If that was the case, then fining speeders and then further punishing them through insurance costs* would be perfectly acceptable. However, that is not nearly the case. The way that speeders are treated now, it is as if the heuristic: "Most people who live in low poverty neighborhoods sell drugs," were being applied, since the police cannot prevent the selling of drugs before they happened.

As to the 85th percentile theory, I think that you missed the point. If the speed limit is raised to the 85th percentile point, then the slower drivers, who now drive at, say, 5 mph below the speed limit, would raise their speed such that the differential between most drivers would be about 5 mph. However, at the present time, the drivers who are being cautious are conflicting with the ones who are going with the flow. I know that, for me, if I am traveling 80 mph on a 70 mph road like everyone around me, I am much more worried about someone going 60 mph than someone going 90.

--
The world does not revolve around your vagina unless I am allowed to put my tongue in it. - TRASG0
[ Parent ]

Basic Speed Law (none / 0) (#554)
by bugmaster on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:17:01 AM EST

What you are saying is very similar to California's "Basic Speed Law" (or "rule", or whatever they call it). The idea is that you are supposed to drive as fast as everyone else, regardless of the speed limit. Of course, if there is no one else on the road, then the speed limit comes into play.

In other words, if the speed limit is 60, and everyone drives 90, then you would only be pulled over if you drive 100. This is still only a heuristic -- after all, you could be an excellent driver who can handle extremely high speeds, and not a road menace -- but it seems to make sense.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

In a way (4.00 / 1) (#128)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:09:13 AM EST

Some states do penalize drivers who are driving excessively slow.. but I don't think the solution to this one lies in increased enforcement of any law. By setting safe and reasonable speed limits, we can reduce the differential in speeds, one of the contributing factors in accidents.

Also about causation: Many of those 30% of accidents involving speed, also involve a drunk driver. I wouldn't say speeding was the cause of the accident there, merely a result of the driver's inebriation. Perhaps cops should pull over speeders, perform field sobriety tests, and not let sober drivers continue.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Speed and accidents (none / 0) (#406)
by dasunt on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:20:16 PM EST

Well, simple physics tells us that in the event of a crash, greater speed leads to greater force, and that additional force has to be removed somehow in the case of a crash, be it longer breaking times, more compression in the vehicle's frame, etc.

F = m*v^2 or Force = Mass * Speed * Speed. Which means greater speed is exponentially related to greater force.

So, a crash at 60 mph has 119% ((60^2/55^2)*100) of the force of the same crash at 55 mph. A crash at 65 mph has 140% ((65^2/55^2)*100) of the force of the same crash at 55 mph.

Just my $.02



[ Parent ]
Ummm ... no (none / 0) (#505)
by aetius3 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:58:11 PM EST

F=ma, and a != v^2. Simplified:

velocity = change in distance / change in time

acceleration = change in velocity / change in time

Both mass and acceleration have to do with impact damage, but location and impact area are much more important.

[ Parent ]

Energy (none / 0) (#553)
by bugmaster on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:09:21 AM EST

Actually, the important thing here is not the force, but the energy released. A moving car has a lot of kinetic energy -- energy which is due to its motion. This energy is (m*v^2)/2, mass times velocity SQUARED over two. When the car crashes into something, all that energy is released. Some of it goes straight to heat, some of it goes into sound, and some of it goes into deformation of the car.

The v^2 term is really bad, safety-wise. It means that if you go twice as fast, you release four times the energy on impact. This is also the reason why braking is so ineffective at high speeds.

Of course, this is all moot if your car never actually hits anything; however, until we have magic reality-phasing cars, we should take the energy into consideration.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

How to catch the unsafe driver... (4.57 / 7) (#47)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:32:27 AM EST

Since I live in the Philadelphia region (and therefore near the legions of atrocious drivers that make up New Jersey), I have a few suggestions on how traffic cops could catch unsafe drivers before they cause accidents:

1 - More patrol cars patrolling the highways, looking for bad drivers

2 - Pull over & heavily ticket drivers who change lanes without signalling (or who pass on the right, or who sit in the left lane without passing, or who weave)

3 - Make tailgating a felony, and enforce it.  Tailgating at highway speeds is far more likely to cause an accident than me driving 20% over the speed limit on a deserted road.  That should be fairly obvious.  In addition, tailgating causes traffic jams, so this would help reduce traffic congestion.

4 - Make driving while phoning/applying makeup/eating/shaving/reading the paper/etc a felony and enforce it.  If I'm busy doing any one of those things, I'm not paying enough attention to the road, and I'm putting everyone else at risk.

5 - Be stricter about driver licensing, and require re-testing for road skills as well as knowledge of driving laws in order to renew one's license

6 - Make road skills tests include traffic.  Some places test on open roads, others use a closed track.  Interaction with other drivers is an important part of driving.

The point is, if I'm speeding on an empty road, I'm not causing a problem.  If I'm speeding, and everyone else is speeding the same amount, it's unlikely that I'm causing a problem.  Speed is far less indicative of problem drivers than other factors, like aggressive driving behavior and inattention to the road.  Combat the cause of the problem, not occasionally correlated behaviors.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Passing on the right (none / 0) (#535)
by whojgalt on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:56:52 PM EST

AAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHH! I am so sick of the "don't pass on the right" bullshit. The law should be that you get a ticket if you get passed on the right. If I can physically pass you on the right, then you should be on the right yourself, not in the left lane. The rule is "slower traffic keep right" (adjust accordingly for specifics in your backward left-side driving country, please) If I pass you on the right that means two things, you are on the left, and you are going slower than me. It's your problem, and you are the asshole, so you should get the ticket.

I totally disagree about the phone/eating/etc. thing too, but that's another comment. The rest are fairly good.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you can't see it from the car, it's not really scenery.
Any code more than six months old was written by an idiot.
[ Parent ]

Really, no passing on the right. (none / 0) (#541)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:12:55 PM EST

I'm willing to make an exception for the example you pointed out (it's the only time I'm willing to pass on the right), and you're right about that person getting a ticket.  Anyone who passes on the right when they have the choice of passing on the left (ie, I move to the center right lane out of 4 in order to make room for incoming traffic from a merge lane, and someone coming up behind me in my lane tries to pass on the right) shouldn't have a license.  That, sitting in the passing lane without passing, and tailgating should be equally harshly punished.  

mathias

[ Parent ]

I can't disagree with you (4.50 / 2) (#544)
by whojgalt on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 12:12:07 AM EST

but the whole passing on the right thing usually implies fairly rural two-lane (each way) roads. In the situation you bring up, it is usually more congested, and traffic is rarely so well ordered that any strict rules about passing apply.

I agree, where you have a choice, pass on the left, but I'm not going to jump from lane 1 to lane 3 to pass a guy in lane 2 who happens to be going slower than me. It seems that is more dangerous than just staying in the lane you are in and moving along.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you can't see it from the car, it's not really scenery.
Any code more than six months old was written by an idiot.
[ Parent ]

It makes a difference (none / 0) (#602)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 12:20:09 PM EST

The more people who do it, the more ordered the road gets, the easier it is to drive the speed that works for you without having to jam on the brakes to avoid a moron (or step on the gas to get out of the danger of a tailgater), etc.  It feels sort of silly going from lane 1 (rightmost) to lane 3 to pass someone in lane 2, and it feels even sillier going to lane 4, but it is safer and correct, and it sometime even gets that person cruising off in lane 2 or 3 to move back to the right.  There's nothing dangerous about changing lanes as long as you aren't pulling a Jersey Slide, and if you're pulling a Jersey Slide you deserve what will eventually happen to you.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Maybe its safer, but (none / 0) (#604)
by whojgalt on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 12:35:58 PM EST

I disagree with you, but I don't think it is worth arguing now. I think that enforcing the keep right rule is more important than enforcing the pass left rule. If everyone kept right, there would be no choice but to pass on the left, and we wouldn't have to argue about how many lanes you can safely cross in order to do so.

To look at it another way, the number of people who get passed on the right is far fewer than the number of people who do the passing. Its usually one guy driving slow on the left getting passed on the right by a whole line of cars, not one car driving fast in the right lane passing a whole line of cars driving slow on the left.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you can't see it from the car, it's not really scenery.
Any code more than six months old was written by an idiot.
[ Parent ]

You don't actually drive, do you? (n/t) (1.00 / 2) (#57)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:36:54 AM EST


Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
um, no. (3.00 / 1) (#157)
by yodason on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:25:21 AM EST

Which is worse, 5 cars weaving out of highway traffic trying to race at the speed limit, or speeding.

[ Parent ]
In Yosemite (none / 0) (#511)
by borful on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:23:04 PM EST

They have many many collisions on the park roads. Obviously, they are narrow winding mountain roads with spectacular scenery and most of the people there are tourists who don't often drive such roads. The Park Service's attempt (back 10 or so years ago) at a solution was to cut the speed limit by 10 MPH in most of the Park. It didn't really help. The problem is that people drive across the center line into the lane of oncoming traffic while they're staring off at the scenery. It doesn't much matter if the cars are traveling at a closing rate of 90 MPH or 70 when coming around a blind curve with one car over the center line, there will be a collision. How could they fix the problem? Instead of law enforcement in 4 wheeled vehicles using radar guns in speed trap mode, they could use motorcycles on the curvy sections of road, wait for a car to cross the center line, and ticket the behavior that actually causes the problem. The Park Service does not have motorcycles for traffic enforcement, but they do have cars, trucks, and radar guns. - borful If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

[ Parent ]
Yellow light time theory (4.73 / 15) (#28)
by jjayson on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:34:33 AM EST

Drivers are used to the yellow light times they generally come across. By increasing the yellow light time you confuse the driver and they think the light it about to go red so they stop, not knowing they had 1.5 more seconds left on the clock. This leads to fewer drivers running red lights and sitting at yellow lights for an second before they turn red. As drivers become used to the new timings, you will start to see people hitting the brakes for a red later, anticipating those extra seconds. Under this, it seems like yellow light times is a short term non-solution to a more real problem.

-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
No one else gets this? (4.40 / 5) (#90)
by halfwatt on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:05:41 AM EST

Or rather they just don't want to admit it and lose a debating point. Extending the yellow period will cause the red light running to drop in the short term till people learn to adjust for the longer yellow and 'think they can make it'. You could make the yellow a full minute long and will still have people running it. It is driver behaviour that needs to be modified, not the light sequences. Case in point: Traffic engineers thought they had the perfect solution here locally (can't say where else it has been tried). When a light turns from yellow to red all lights stay red briefly before the opposing lanes go green. This was to allow those that 'couldn't make it' time to clear the intersection before allowing trafic to restart. Great in theory and it worked for a while until people learned to adjust for extra delay. Now we are right back up to the same number of red light runners. The worst offenders are people turning left. When that green arrow turns red it amazes me how many people just keep going through the light. At times it's like a parade. We have a Walmart a few blocks from our house and they have been working on the light sequence there for over a year trying to find a way to cut down on the number of red light runners. They just changed the entire traffic pattern a week ago and it still didn't help. People just think they are too important to sit through a light.

[ Parent ]
Or maybe... (4.00 / 1) (#472)
by dachshund on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:55:59 PM EST

Or rather they just don't want to admit it and lose a debating point. Extending the yellow period will cause the red light running to drop in the short term till people learn to adjust for the longer yellow and 'think they can make it'.

Certainly there will be people who push the envelope, no matter how much time you give them. Similarly, there are a lot of safe, law-abiding people who have no desire to rush the light, but wind up doing it anyway because the yellow light is so short. You assume that all drivers belong to the former group, and I sincerely doubt that this is the case.

So you might be at least partially right, that increasing yellow times won't fully solve the problems. But it almost certainly will solve some of them. The real question is: what's the downside? Does warning people early put them in greater harm than warning them late?

[ Parent ]

they are long enough already (none / 0) (#547)
by jjayson on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 12:33:12 AM EST

If you started to slow down at a yellow, I have neve been in an incident where it wasn't yellow long enough. The only time a problem occurs is when you think you have 3 more seconds of yellow so you continue at your normal speed, but it changes on you. I think that shortening the yellow light time so people realize "when yellow, slow down and not speed up," can be good too.

-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily (5.00 / 1) (#622)
by pyro9 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:54:08 PM EST

I have encountered traffic lights where it is definatly possible to be forced to run a red. It is so short that it can turn yellow at a point where a car going the speed limit cannot possibly stop for the red, and also cannot clear the intersection before the light turns red.

Of course, there are other psychological factors at play in running lights as well. A light that is well known to hold on red for a very long time is more likely to be run, for example.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
left turns (none / 0) (#551)
by mpalczew on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 01:30:13 AM EST

Of course they do it on left turns.  Often times lights won't have a special left turn arrow, and traffic is busy. Traffic is going both ways with people trying to find a chance to go left. Without going at the last second there would be no way to make a left and you would have sat through an entire light without one car going.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
Good article (3.00 / 2) (#104)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:48:40 AM EST

My response to #32 has a good article about yellow light times.

[ Parent ]
Here's a better idea... (3.50 / 8) (#32)
by Raunchola on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:57:33 AM EST

...don't speed.

Yes, that's right, you heard me...don't speed.

Frankly, you can bitch about how much you don't like speed traps or speeding tickets or whatever. Doesn't change a thing. You speed, and the cops will pull you over. You break the law, you face the consequences. Welcome to the real world kids.

And it's not like this is some sort of big government conspiracy to take away your "rights" or what have you. Yes, a lot of locales use speeding tickets as a source of income...but unless you're handing out thousand-dollar tickets or you've got a dozen cops sitting on the side of the road somewhere, it's not gonna add up to a whole hell of a lot. The way this article sounds, you'd think the cops were raking in millions from their cameras and radar guns. And unless someone can prove otherwise, that's just complete bullshit.

You don't own the roads (and if you say "my taxes pay for the roads," guess what, so do mine...so would you mind if I rammed you off the road my takes paid for?). Don't think you can treat them like the Talladega Speedway just because "traffic was very sparse" and you had the left lane to yourself (the left lane is for passing moron). Go drive on the Autobahn if you have a lead foot. Judging by some of the accidents the Autobahn's seen...well, buckle up!

[More insight on speeding here]

Bad laws (4.50 / 4) (#37)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:22:09 AM EST

In society, we have laws. Some are good, and some are bad. The solution to bad laws isn't blind obedience.

I'm just making these number up, but here goes: Assume a small police department. One cop who does radar enforcement, let's say he pulls over 5 drivers each day. One driver gets off, the other four mail their tickets in. 260 working days a year * 4 drivers a day = 1040 paid speeding tickets each year. Assume $75 a ticket. That's $78,000 per year.

Now assume the hundreds of New York State troopers assigned to highway duty all pull in that kind of revenue from speeding tickets.

Don't call me a moron, either.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

He has a very good point, though (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:37:59 AM EST

The left lane has nothing to do with the fast lane.  There is no such animal as a fast lane.  There is a passing lane, though, and spending more time in it than necessary is obnoxious as well as a potential cause of accidents.  Don't sit in the left lane.

mathias

[ Parent ]

by your logic (1.16 / 6) (#38)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:26:32 AM EST

actually why don't you get the fuck off my road? go drive in the parking lot if you don't like me high beaming and then cutting you off and giving you a finger, while you do 65 in the left lane. do you also drive a saturn or a buick? sorry i had to vent. speed limits are nothing but fuel efficiency legislation (thats the original reason a speed limit was implemented), legislation to protect individuals from themselves, and a substitute for real driver education and real traffic exams. if you drive a POS beater that can't brake from 85 mph, get the fuck off the road too. or stay in another lane. by the way they actually have less fatal accidents in germany than the US.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Ha (4.00 / 1) (#151)
by Raunchola on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:17:56 AM EST

go drive in the parking lot if you don't like me high beaming and then cutting you off and giving you a finger, while you do 65 in the left lane.

Actually, when people like you do that, I tend to slow down even more. Cut me off? Fine! I'll just report your license number to the local state police barracks for "aggressive driving."

It's my road (by your logic) too bitch. :)

[ Parent ]
Ha? (none / 0) (#408)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:27:50 PM EST

So you're going to take out a pen and paper and try to wwrite while driving? Isn't that a little unsafe? Honestly, I almost never cut anyone off, unless they purposely piss me off by going slow. Not that anyone here would care too. I've seen people swerving into lane of cars, while yacking on cell phones. This is California, and we cut each other off on a regular basis.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
speed limit origins (4.00 / 1) (#268)
by ethereal on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:19:22 AM EST

The U.S. nationwide 55 MPH speed limit was put in place for reasons of energy conservation, true. But there were certainly speed limits on those roads before that concern, weren't there? It's certainly not the case that highways in the U.S. were "speed limit: unlimited" until the '70s, is it?

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

A little earlier than that (none / 0) (#710)
by mattgpc on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:43:30 PM EST

Speed limits weren't put in place in the 70's gas crunch; they were put in place to save fuel during the war.

[ Parent ]
from the horse's mouth (none / 0) (#711)
by ethereal on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:33:42 PM EST

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/reports/envspmem.htm:

The 55 mph national speed limit was originally introduced on Jan. 1, 1974, in response to the Arab oil embargo and subsequent energy crisis. While this restriction was not mandated by the Federal government, highway funding was linked to the adoption of the speed limit (and its enforcement) by the states. Prior to the adoption of these limits, most states had speed limits of 70 mph (with some having limits as high as 75 mph and Montana and Wyoming having no maximum limits). Only one state, New York, had a 55 mph speed limit prior to 1974.

From all that I can find, the '74 law was the first national indication of a speed limit; if it was imposed to save fuel during the war, you'd think the federal government would have done it rather than leaving it to the states. There was gasoline rationing, of course, which would be the easier way to tackle the problem during wartime I would think.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

That sounds really smart... (4.50 / 2) (#59)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:50:08 AM EST

Until you're pulled over for doing 56 in a 55 (with bumper to bumper traffic in all lanes) so the cops can search your car for drugs...

(Driving from Austin To Dallas, got pulled over in Dallas because I had Austin plates so I was "obviously" running drugs...  The cops searched the car for 5 minutes, found nothing, gave me a warning and told me to slow down.)

[ Parent ]

Your fault (5.00 / 1) (#203)
by lb008d on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:21:39 AM EST

You obviously gave the cop consent to search your car.

You should have refused and limited him to only view those parts he could see from the outside of the car. If you're forced to give consent, get a lawyer.

[ Parent ]

Gray area... (none / 0) (#341)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:13:37 PM EST

I seriously thought about refusing the search.  Here's the scenario that popped into my head.

I refuse the search.
Officer calls in a dog sniffing unit.
Dog smells something, car gets searched anyway.

I refuse the search.
Officer determines that my denial is probable cause and searches anyway.

I consent to the search, and the officer plants something in my car. (Which he could do anyway with the other choices.)

I don't do drugs (I don't even smoke), and I wasn't drinking.  He wasn't going to find anything but the ding-dong wrapper and the bottle of Mountain Dew I was drinking to make the 4 hour trip.  I was only pulled over because I was an out of towner (56 in a 55?!).

Consenting to the search was the path of least resistance, and the only way I was guaranteed to get out of there in a reasonable amount of time.

[ Parent ]

Good Point (none / 0) (#475)
by lb008d on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:57:33 PM EST

I wouldn't have thought anout the "plant" scenario.

I would hape that it's unlikely, but it'll make me think twice about refusing a search unless I have a witness.

It's too bad that the easy way out also reinforces police powers.

[ Parent ]

How can they tell? (none / 0) (#617)
by dadragon on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:12:45 PM EST

I had Austin plates so I was "obviously" running drugs

How could they tell the difference? Do they have a sticker on them or something? Here the only way you can reasonably guess where somebody's from is by the dealership name on the plate holder or the sticker on the trunk.



[ Parent ]
Do your research (4.75 / 4) (#103)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:42:12 AM EST

The way this article sounds, you'd think the cops were raking in millions from their cameras and radar guns. And unless someone can prove otherwise, that's just complete bullshit.

In some towns, the ticket revenue is the vast majority of their budget. They ticket 1mph over as speeding and 1mph under as obstructing traffic. This is especially true in an infamous town near an Army post -- they were after the soldier traffic. In that case, I believe tickets were about $700K of a $900K budget.

Look at the latest deals with Lockheed Martin, where cities let LM operate speeding cameras as a contractor, and LM gets a chunk of the proceeds. Are you going to say LM isn't in it for profit? Check out this article about DC's system.

Oh yeah, and yellow lights usually do get shortened when intersection cameras are installed. They want to pump up the violation rates now that they bring in money.

[ Parent ]

revenue is non-trivial (none / 0) (#376)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:26:27 PM EST

The cameras that have gone up to enforce school hour speed limits (i.e., a speed limit of 10(!) mph near schools during the morning and afternoon hours when kids are getting to and leaving school) in my parents' city have pulled in a ton of money.

[ Parent ]
Not speeding... (none / 0) (#409)
by Count Zero on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:28:47 PM EST

Sounds like a great idea. Except that if I don't speed, I'm going to get in an accident.

The city I live in has a "beltway" style interstate around it. One of the easiest ways to travel around the city. 6 lanes wide at it's smallest point, much wider in busier areas. The problem is that the speed limit, for some inexplicable reason, is 55mph.

Of course, no one actually drives 55. The average flow-of-traffic speed is about 70-75mph. So, I'm left with a choice. Drive the 70-75 every other car is doing, and risk a ticket, or drive 55, and risk an accident. After seeing car after car come flying up on your rear bumper in seconds, only to sharply change lanes at the last possible instance, usually cutting off another driver in the process, you learn to drive the flow-of-traffic speed pretty quickly.

Sure, if we get into an accident, it's most likely going to be ruled their fault, but that's little sympathy to me sitting in a hospital bed with a trashed car. No, I choose to break the law rather than put my life at risk, thanks.

The point being, if we would increase the speed limit to 70-75, and aggressively pull over and ticket those who drive above *or* too far below the limit, as well as those who pass on the right and think turn signals for changing lanes are silly, I could be safe *and* legal at the same time. Of course, my city would have to look for new sources of revenue then.




[ Parent ]
Quotas (3.00 / 7) (#33)
by Rachel Ellis on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:03:42 AM EST

I personally only have a problem with quotas that officers have to reach for how many tickets they write-up each month.

-
Let me know if you're one of those rare "cute coders" (oh, and a guy too) ;)
Quotas? (3.00 / 1) (#143)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:57:13 AM EST

My father-in-law is a cop for the Metro Tononto area. There are no such things as traffic ticket quotas in the GTA, and I would guess the rest of Ontario. My mom used to work for the OPP as well (non-enforcement) -- IIRC the officers she's spoken to don't have quotas to fill, either.



[ Parent ]
In the US... (4.25 / 4) (#169)
by Kugyou on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:38:11 AM EST

There are indeed quotas. It's kind of funny, near the end of a month, seeing traffic cops literally lined up on the grass beside an on/off ramp, waiting for their next hit. It's like watching people trolling for crack. A friend of mine is a cop, and he puts it this way: For some reason, police departments in the US see quantity the same as quality. More traffic tickets must mean that the cops are doing their jobs better. So they set quotas on traffic cops to make sure that they don't fall behind on their duties.

What really pisses me off are the "shotgun cops" as we've taken to calling them around where I live. They will sit under overpasses, on the shoulder, with their car facing upstream. They will stand beside their car aiming their radar gun into traffic. And because where I am, most of the traffic cops drive either black cars with matte-black lettering or lightly-marked white Camaros, all with internal lights (you heard me, no roof-mounted lights for the cops around my house), it's very hard to tell if that's a cop or a madman standing on the side of the road.

As far as I'm concerned, speed traps create unsafe driving conditions, because of the actions of both police officers and drivers. Cops who stay off-road in ambush crews (in another county, they call them "wolf packs" because they're never alone) make drivers feel uncomfortable and start checking their speedometers to make sure they're not even one over, and thus usually slamming on the brakes when they realize they've been following the "pack limit" (around ten over, usually).

And just for the record, I've never gotten a ticket. I have, however, been passed by an unlit police car doing thirty over. :P
-----------------------------------------
Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
[ Parent ]

It happens but... (4.50 / 2) (#206)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:23:46 AM EST

While the use of ticket quotas does occur in the USA, it's not nearly as common as some people believe - because everytime some newspaper reports that the cops are being paid on a quota system, the public flips and the cops back off.

Of course, I think the public should be flipping out over the property siezure laws that let the cops keep anything they suspect of being purchased with drug money, (and without charging the suspect!) but apparently that's as important as traffic tickets.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
Since you mentined Cato, (4.00 / 7) (#35)
by Weezul on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:15:53 AM EST

I'll come back with a very unlibertarian possition.  :)

Your complaints are more true of the drug inforcement industry.  Asset forfeture laws coupled with handing over the profits to the relevent federal agencies is a truely vissious cycle.  The real problem here is that we do not have any seperation of powers within the revenue stream.  The government should be forced to spend the money it gets from penalties on unrelated activities.. activities which benifit the public but do not directly benifit the government, like say building parks (thats the unlibertarian part).  Obviously, you would still have the park construction loby donating lasers to cops, but it would not really help the cops out directly.

Anyway, I got sick of putting up with all the BS, so I quit driving.  Its really the best solution, cheaper too.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

Been tried (4.75 / 4) (#101)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:35:05 AM EST

To stop abuse of the asset forfeiture system, some states took all they booty away from the police and gave it to education. Then the police just started bringing the Feds in to prosecute since the Feds would at least give them a cut.

Now who thinks that law enforcement isn't in it just for the money in cases where they get the booty?

[ Parent ]

you misunderstand insurance. (4.00 / 7) (#36)
by Work on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:17:19 AM EST

insurance companies dont WANT to raise your premiums. That's simply silly. They give out loans and encourage speeding ticket enforcement as a result of simple statistics.

You know that if you buy certain colors of vehicles, you will pay a higher premium because certain colors are more likely to be pulled over, or in an accident. Red for example, is often chosen by people who are aggressive drivers. Aggressive driving leads to accidents. Accidents lead to insurance payouts. The raw numbers on this don't lie. If you own a red car, you will pay more.

Same goes for people who speed. Many really expensive and entirely avoidable wrecks are related to speeding. This costs the companies loads of money. Therefore, its in the best interest of the insurance companies to discourage speeding. Best way to do this? Encourage methods of punishing people who speed. That is providing law enforcement with accurate and reliable tools.

Excuse me? (5.00 / 2) (#116)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:35:04 AM EST

    insurance companies dont WANT to raise your premiums. That's simply silly

Great, so you know of an insurance company that doesn't buy into this "silly" scheme and that won't raise my premium because of a speeding ticket? Care to tell us who that is?

I find your bizarre assertion beyond "silly" and bordering on deranged. Insurance companies, like any company, want to screw every penny out of you that they can. There's no law (that I know of) that obliges them to match premiums to payouts, only market forces. To assert that they don't want to raise premiums and to imply that they're providing some form of public service is counter to the basic principle of the free market economy.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Bad example (4.00 / 1) (#133)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:33:02 AM EST

so you know of an insurance company ... that won't raise my premium because of a speeding ticket?

Well, since speeding is indicative of a potentially higher cost to the insurance company, then no.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

But there's speeding and speeding... (3.00 / 1) (#174)
by Chakotay on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:40:49 AM EST

If you go 160km/h on a 130km/h limit road in the middle of the night with no other traffic whatsoever, you're driving quite safely. However, if you go 80km/h in a crowded 50km/h limit city street, you belong to go straight to jail. Both however are infractions of the limit by 30km/h.

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]
"Safe for the conditions" (5.00 / 2) (#180)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:50:06 AM EST

Hmmm. Yes. Let's tell the police to apply more subjective factors.

Of course, our taxes will go up to cover all the lawsuits that result from people who think the subjective factors are discriminatory.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

Premiums don't directly create profits. (4.00 / 1) (#209)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:27:48 AM EST

I know, it's a stretch - but technically it's true; premiums only indirectly finance the insurance business - most of the profits come from investing those premiums.

The insurance companies can make a lot more profit by limiting the amount of claims they have to pay - and punishing bad drivers enough to either change their habits or find a different insurance company helps. Things that reduce the costs of accidents (such as air bag research) and the number of accidents (speed limits, supposedly) help improve profits, too.

--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
Ouch (5.00 / 1) (#218)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:33:40 AM EST

    I know, it's a stretch - but technically it's true; premiums only indirectly finance the insurance business - most of the profits come from investing those premiums.

Ouch. I've actually got a headache down one side from reading this. By this argument, insurers should get out of the insurance business, sack all of their staff except the board, and just play the markets.

By "most" you mean "some". If it wasn't worth their while collecting premiums, why would they do it? Because they want to keep people employed out of the goodness of their corporate hearts?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Actually, sometimes they do that. (4.00 / 1) (#226)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:40:21 AM EST

If they actually derived significant profit from my premiums, I wouldn't have gotten a 33% discount when I opted for the "I promise not to sue" version of my car insurance.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
Anyway, (4.00 / 1) (#229)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:41:36 AM EST

I mean - I know they need the premium money to finance the investments, it's just that a $1 of premium does not equal a $1 of additional revenue.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
insurance is a wacky business. (4.00 / 1) (#300)
by Work on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:01:40 PM EST

all built on assessment of risk factors. If you are too risky, the company will gladly drop you - and all the money you might have given them in the future.

In fact I was reading the other day many insurance companies have dropped nearly half of nevada's medical malpractice insurance policies because its gotten simply too expensive for them. That is millions upon millions of dollars in premiums.

Then there is the simply business reasons - higher premiums will lead to less business or people going elsewhere.

[ Parent ]

I know I know!!! (none / 0) (#616)
by dadragon on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:07:53 PM EST

Great, so you know of an insurance company that doesn't buy into this "silly" scheme and that won't raise my premium because of a speeding ticket? Care to tell us who that is? Yep, might not really count but still... SGI: www.sgi.sk.ca does not raise insurance premiums for speeding tickets. They charge a flat fee which varies depending on your car (and not its colour or displacement or shit like that), +- 7% depending on accidents. Go 7 years without an accident, 7% off. Get into an accident, -6% each accident to a total of -7%

[ Parent ]
What, is insurance run by charities? (none / 0) (#331)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:48:09 PM EST

You've got to be joking.
insurance companies dont WANT to raise your premiums.
Insurance companies are profit-making enterprises. They are out to make money. They raise money by charging premiums. Obviously they want to raise premiums, that makes their stockholders happy.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
that's what he was saying (4.00 / 1) (#379)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:34:23 PM EST

Of course they'd like to maximize profits. This may mean raising premiums, and it may mean lowering premiums (since you won't make any money charging $0 or $1000000000000 premiums).

What they really want to do is to be able to predict which of their customers will get in accidents, and raise their premiums in order to cover their costs or get them to go elsewhere. Therefore, they utilize the speeding heuristic.

[ Parent ]

True, to some extent. (none / 0) (#421)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:44:25 PM EST

However, if I was an insurance company executive, and somebody suggested to me that I could double my rates and not lose any customers, I know what my stockholders would want me to do. :)

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
Red cars (none / 0) (#557)
by ReverendX on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:32:01 AM EST

As far as I know, being charged more for a "red car" is a urban legend. I've never even been asked the color of my car when getting an insurance quote.

Being able to piss in an allyway is however, a very poor substitute for a warm bed and a hot cup of super-premium coffee. - homelessweek.com
[ Parent ]

I've never been charged more (none / 0) (#581)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:05:10 AM EST

Most of my cars have been red - but my agent did tell me that Nationwide Ins. had noticed a correlation between colors and accident rates.

What's really scary is what the insurance companies are using for setting premiums: your credit report. They firmly believe that bad credit == bad driver.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

misleading, also (4.50 / 8) (#39)
by Work on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:33:05 AM EST

You mention the Cato study as to suggest that it said the reason for the drop in fatalities was because higher speed limits were allowed. This is untrue.

First of all, the numbers the study cites show a very small drop. Less than 100 per 100 million miles travelled in fact.

Second, the study itself has many reasons for why there has been virtually no change. Mainly: everyone ignored the speed limit already, cars are safer now than ever.

At no time does the Cato study suggest that higher speed limits lead to less deaths or less violations. It's whole point was to say 'hey, higher speed limits dont cause any noticable change in accident rate, but do improve economics'.

Though I must wonder about that as well... if everyone ignored the limit already (as it seems to suggest), then what exactly were the economic gains?

Here are some different ones (4.50 / 2) (#99)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:31:23 AM EST

Brought to you buy the same government setting the stupidly low speed limits. They don't listen to their own research if it doesn't meet their political ends. Here's a page.

[ Parent ]
OECD Study (4.60 / 5) (#112)
by ckm on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:17:36 AM EST

There was also an OECD study a few years back that highlighted the fact that the US has the LOWEST speed limit of any industrialized country and the HIGHEST death rate.

By comparaison, Germany had one of the LOWEST death rates even though it has the HIGHEST speed limits.  IMHO, it's mostly due to the fact that anyone can get a driver's license in the US and there's almost zero training.

In Europe, it costs a lot of money and time to get a license, and the exams are very hard to pass.  This makes for better drivers, in general.

Chris.

[ Parent ]

I've heard about that... (3.50 / 2) (#215)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:30:13 AM EST

There's a lot of nearly-urban-myth talk in the USA about how hard it is for an American to get a German driver's license, often having to pay for lots of expensive training to get upgraded to German standards.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
That's because Germans are faster (3.50 / 2) (#247)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:59:04 AM EST

By comparaison, Germany had one of the LOWEST death rates even though it has the HIGHEST speed limits. IMHO, it's mostly due to the fact that anyone can get a driver's license in the US and there's almost zero training.
In case of acciden, the average time to get an ambulance in Germany is about a third of the time in France.

Speed saves lifes...

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

Recomendation: fuck 'em (3.57 / 7) (#40)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:34:34 AM EST

Fuck em. I have never in my life driven the speed limit, and never received a ticket. First thing I found usefull as my radar detector. It's a Whistler model. When I'm doing 85-95 it will warn me in just enough time to switch to the middle lane and hit the brakes or downshift to get to 70 or so mph, which in California won't earn me a ticket. Police almost exclusively use KA bands, so interference from power lines and door openers is rarely a problem. The radar detector also picks up red light cameras. I wouldn't live with out a radar detector. If you also have money, I suggest getting a valentine 1 detector. (http://www.valentine1.com), it will be well worth it. Especially if you drive a lot in the tripple digits, or drive a flash car. This is a must!

Second, is to know where the cops hide out. Use your friends for that, and here's a very helpfull site: http://www.speedtrap.org/, which includes a detailed list of popular speed traps accross the freeways in your city. Also don't stand out. Drive a car that fits in with what majority of the people drive: it's not too beat down, and it isn't too flashy.

Also, don't try to out smart the cop, obviously. Be courteous, but don't 'sir' him too much. Sign the ticket, or you may be arrested. If it's significant you can try getting a court date, and often changes are that the cop who gave you a ticket won't show up and charges will be thrown out (consult the local community if the given cop has such tendency). In many states, traffic school can also be done over the internet.

Of course, I would much rather see speed limits repealled, but as the control-freaks are now waging even more wars on our individual rights and against individual responsibility (war on tobbaco, war on fast food besides the usual war on drugs), I don't think that's going to happen. So here's my suggestion, fuck-em. It's not only your right to disobey and immoral right, it may as well be your duty. Now you can do something that Thoreau approves of, as a part of your daily routine.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

s/changes/chances/ (none / 0) (#41)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:35:17 AM EST



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Car type (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by hershmire on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:21:16 AM EST

Also don't stand out. Drive a car that fits in with what majority of the people drive: it's not too beat down, and it isn't too flashy.

I couldn't agree more. I drive a 1995 green Volvo. Sure the car isn't powerful, but I've never been ticketed, even when blatantly ignoring the speed limit (83 in 55). I have no hard evidence that my car type has helped me not be caught, but I certainly have noticed a reduction since my last car, an older Mercedes.

Having a red corvette would be nice, but I'd never be able to 10 over the limit in my state.
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
I dunno (none / 0) (#336)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:59:19 PM EST

My wife drives a '99 Transport SE. Not a speedmobile either, but she got warned for doing 80 in a 50 (Orangeville, ON has a nasty town-to-highway transition). I drive a '94 Grand Cherokee. Vehicle type helps but it won't keep you from ever getting ticketed. :-)



[ Parent ]
Actually Volvos (none / 0) (#411)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:33:07 PM EST

Volvos make excellent speeding cars, partly because they're not slow at all (5-cylinder turbo charged volvos, and 6-cylinder turbo volvos get under 7 seconds 0-60, which is well into the sports car range; many flashier cars are quite slower), because they're reliable, and because they have a soccer mom image. Other good speeding cars are older Nissan Maximas (newer ones are too flashy and too advertised), and any Volkswagen with a VR6 or 1.8T engine. All these cars are usually driven by latte-sipping yuppies and soccer moms. Oh and you can also pick up the weapon your enemy uses: a crown victoria. While it too is fast (sharing its engine with rustang.. err mustang) and not very noticeable (soccer mom / old people -style American sedan), you may notice that others around will be doing 5 mph below the speed limit and you'll never get cut off (partly because these are cars are the police intercepts in most of the US).

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
How old is "older maxima?" (none / 0) (#418)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:42:34 PM EST

My only speeding ticket was driving a 93 Maxima.  Actually, it was a reckless driving ticket, thanks to Virginia's automatic 80mph is reckless law (83 in a 65).  Not that I'm still bitter or anything, but at least it's now old enough that insurance doesn't care.  

I got pulled over in my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T (Yeah, I'm a yuppie) but didn't get a ticket.  Not sure if that corroborates your theory or not.

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

When did they change bodystyle? (none / 0) (#462)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:24:00 PM EST

I mean the older boxy ones, which look like 80's generic japanese ones. The point is not the one that's being advertised as 'god's chariot' on TV. Again, driving a less visible car won't make you un-catcheable, it will simply lessen the chances. Driving a red corvette with 2000 watts worth of stereo, and four glass pack muffler, however, will greatly increase the chances.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
somewhat boxy (none / 0) (#474)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:56:10 PM EST

This is what the 93 maxima looks like:

http://www.sandysansingusedcars.com/2002_images/imports/pp3784%2093%20nissan.jpg

It's not as boxy as the late 80's, but significantly moreso than the new ones.  They changed the body is 93, 95, 97, and 2000 I believe.

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Agreement and Addendums (5.00 / 1) (#348)
by jforan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:33:26 PM EST

I live in Massachusetts.  I was told to fight all my tickets about five years ago, and when I got one, I went to court.  Unfortunately, in Mass, this requires either a lawyer or going to court twice.  The first time is just you, a representative from the court, and a representative police officer (not necessarily the one that pulled you over) trying to plead you down.  Don't take it.  The second time they actually have the courtroom, judge, and the police officer who stopped.  He has to be there for them to give you a ticket.

Because driving is a right, you are not innocent until proven guilty (in Mass); whoever makes the best argument wins.  This seemed to mean that any sort of detective work (pictures, other people) helps a lot, as the cop only has his honor (which will beat you and your lack of evidence every time).

But the crazy thing is, of the 30 or 40 traffic fines that were called that morning, about 10 to 15 of the officers showed up.  They do get overtime for this stuff, but I think in Mass they get plenty of overtime opportunities, plus better-than-time-and-a-half private jobs they can take (they can wear uniforms in off duty jobs, I think.)

Anyway, I got off, along with a lot of other people.  About half of the people who brought evidence or corroboration got off, and zero of the people who didn't.

As for driving, I haven't gotten a ticket in about 5 years, and two thirds of the time, I am in the top 1% of all speeders.  The other third of the time, I am driving less than 8 miles an hour over the limit.

Here are some of my rules:

If you are in front or in the same lane as a bunch of cars, speed.  The cop gunning you from the front can never really tell it was you or someone in the pack of cars behind you.

Keep an eye out for large Ford and Chevy cars with lots of antennae and equipment on the inside, or, if you cant see the equipment, with one or two mid 40s, buzz-cut people in the front seat.  (Younger cops don't get cars, let alone undercover ones.)  Let someone else speed pass these cars before you do it.

Dont speed if you are the only one on the road, unless you can see the entire road (and side areas) ahead and behind you.

Most speed guns (as far as I know) do not triangulate.  This means that you should check around the corners of things and don't give up if you see a cop.  Slam the breaks (if there is no one behind you), or hit them as hard as is safe.

Okay, I lied.  I have gotten tickets in other states.  In Mass, tickets from other states don't come back to haunt you on your insurance, unless you are speeding in Virginia (some agreement between Commonwealths, I guess.)  Don't worry so much about them, $150 ain't nearly as bad as 10% of your insurance for six years (or a perfectly clean driving record (plus 10%) for 3).  For me, out of state tickets are therefore about $1200 less expensive than in state ones (Boston car insurance is expensive.)  In NH as of 5 years ago, 27 over was a $102 ticket.  Live free or die! **

Always know where all the cars around you are.  Not just the ones to your sides, front and back, but all of them on the whole road (within reason.)  Check them often.  A major mechanism for cops to pull people over in Mass is for the cops to drive in the left lane at 90 or 100.  Catch up to the people going 80, and follow for a half mile.  They have to follow you for at least that long to give you a speeding ticket based on their speedometer.  If you pull over, they will fly by and grab the next non-paying attention dolt.

Guns (as far as I know) do not work while the cop is moving.

If you are talking to your passengers, or on the cell, or doing something wierd, drive in the right lane and do not pass.  When you are done talking/eating/whatever, then you can focus.  Until then, drive behind that granny and be safe to other drivers.  You don't have the time to pay attention to speeding if you are distracted.

Don't bother to speed at 10 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on the highway, risking a speeding ticket, when you can be doing 8 miles per hour over, not bugging serious speeders, and not really saving much time.  Calculate it out - 15 mph over instead of 8 over at 60 mph saves 8 minutes 14 seconds over 100 miles.  100 miles!  How far do you commute to work?  How far do you travel on vacation?  Plus, you don't have to clog up the left lanes then either.

If you are going to pass, pass at least five miles per hour above the speed of the person you are passing.  <b>Do not forget to move back into your lane when you are done.</b>  Many police officers (and several states) believe that it is more of an offense to not drive in the rightmost available lane than it is to speed (Vermont comes to mind).

#1 way of getting out of tickets:  join the force.
#2 way: be a relative or friend.

Jeff

**Although New Hampshire's motto is 'Live Free or Die', ironically, they do not have the death penalty.
I hops to be barley workin'.
[ Parent ]

New Hampshire and your footnote (none / 0) (#555)
by bryaninnh on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:18:13 AM EST

New Hampshire does and has had a death penalty for a long time. they just don't use it very much. ( last time was in 1939 ) a vote to repeal the death penalty in NH was vetoed by the 'governess' in 2000. the 'Live Free or Die' has less meaning than it used to, however if you read our laws more thoroughly, especially our gun laws for example, you will see that it's definately still valid, especially in comparison to Massachusetts.

[ Parent ]
Illegal in PA (none / 0) (#613)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 01:49:38 PM EST

Many police officers (and several states) believe that it is more of an offense to not drive in the rightmost available lane than it is to speed (Vermont comes to mind).  Not only is it illegal in PA, but the staties are making noise about enforcing it as strictly as they can.  Just FYI.

[ Parent ]
more on detectors (none / 0) (#609)
by shrubbery on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 01:31:44 PM EST

After receiving my first speeding ticket (my *only* violation of any kind for 7 years), I decided to arm myself with the best money can buy. I was going faster than the limit but was in the front of a pack of cars going the same speed in the left lane. Bad bad idea....

You figure the price of a $200-$400 unit versus the price of a ticket + insurance hikes.. well that unit doesn't seem so pricey anymore. As of today, the rundown of best detectors is easy:

1st: Valentine One
2nd: Escort 8500
3rd: Bel 9800

These are the creme de la creme folks. For $400, I bought myself a spanky new V1 with direction arrow detectors, bogey threat counter, rear attenna; the whole works. Nothing is more sensative than the V1 period. Its also comes with a hardware upgradeability plan where you can send in your unit and for a fraction of the price, get your unit updated to the newest hardware/software. For about $275 on the street, you can pick up the Escort which is also a very good detector. No rear antenna or directional arrows but very sensative nontheless and also has a superior bogey counter system than the V1.

Both the Escort and the V1 had 30 day money back garentees, so I tested both of them myself. They are close, but the V1's arrow system is a godsend for knowing where your threat axis is and for detecting falses. And if you have any questions, they really email you back quick with a response. You can get older V1's off Ebay usually around the $300 and up range. They have wonderful resaleability. Otherwise, they only sell directly and its about $400 off valentineone.com. Sorry, don't know alot about the Bels but you can get them for $200 street price. However, Bel did get bought up by Escort recently so this detector maybe on the way out.

Sad state it is when we have to resort to a machine that tracks the police on a "bogey threat counter" isn't it?

[ Parent ]

More anti-cop armaments (3.75 / 4) (#44)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:02:31 AM EST

Another idea is a police scanner. They're readily available, and if you have a HAM radio license, you can legaly mount inside your car. Or if you don't, you can just conceal it, and then use an RF modulator to integrate into the car's AM stereo.

If you live in a fascist place which bans radar detectors (some parts of Canada, VA, and DC), you may want to check out conceal mounting the radar detector as well. Valentine-1 may actually be mounted inside the mirror, and many detectors are also invulnerable to detection by radar (including the whistler I use and the valentine-1). Radar detectors also frequently feature laser detection as well. And while a radar detector won't prevent 100% of traffic stops, it will do a great favor by reducing the the amount of tickets, received.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

Even more (3.50 / 2) (#98)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:28:04 AM EST

In addition to your scanner, get a CHiPS detector. It listens on the radio frequency of the transponder in the car for the cop's hand-held to talk to the station. You'll know if there's a cop within four miles. This reminds me of the guy who made the "stealth Corvette." It was painted laser-absorbant matte black, with front and rear radar detectors hooked to an automatic instant-response jammer, scanner, CHiPS detector, etc.

[ Parent ]
I think Abraham Lincoln said it best (4.25 / 4) (#48)
by dipierro on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:37:56 AM EST

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly."

In any case, the town right next to mine seems to disprove that rule. They absolutely live off traffic tickets. I managed to receive three of them in the span of about a month, and you know what, it worked. I don't speed any more from the beginning of the town border to the end, and in fact when there's someone behind me who might be from the town I make sure to go 5 miles per hour under the limit just in the hopes that they'll put some pressure on their government to stop being such sticklers. You'd be amazed at how slow 25 (or 20) miles per hour is.



Safety Tips (4.46 / 15) (#53)
by Bad Harmony on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:04:00 AM EST

  • You are not an above average driver.
  • Stop means a complete stop.
  • If you are a passenger, shut up.
  • The interstate is not the autobahn.
  • Turn signals are not deceptive countermeasures.
  • Leave your ego at home.
  • Points are not the man's way of keeping you down.
  • Don't surprise other drivers.
  • Have an escape plan.
  • If it is raining or snowing, you are going too fast.

54º40' or Fight!

Interstate vs. autobahn (3.33 / 3) (#54)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:20:57 AM EST

The interstate is not the autobahn.

Can you please tell me why not, other than due the law? I complete see no reason that a car equipped with V or Z rated tired, in dry weather, well repaired pavement, can't drive safely at 100 mph. I admit I haven't visited Germany, but I don't really believe the autobahn would be that different from certain wide interstate freeways, at least here in the bay area. Just for your knowledge I frequently drive in the triple digits at night hours, or whenever else the freeway is empty, and never experience any problem with my car's suspension, braking, or aerodynamics.

Otherwise many of your points are right on mark. Turn signals is something many individuals haven't yet learned how to fucking use. Wet pavement makes the equation a lot more complex. Another point you may want to add is "slower traffic keep right" <-- don't create a road hazard by making it impossible to use the left lane to pass a slow vehicle, or by driving way below the speed of traffic in another lane. Oh and I am an above average driver, eat me :-) </p>

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

100 mph, reaction times, autobahn (4.00 / 4) (#62)
by Obsequious Rat on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:58:44 AM EST

While it's probably true that such a car would be perfectly safe, I'm not convinced about the driver behind the wheel. 100 mph equates to 146.667 feet per second, or roughly ten car-lengths per second. Compare that to 65 mph (the former Interstate speed limit) at 95.333 feet per second: that's a better-than-50% increase in velocity. If I recall the example in my physics class correctly, stopping distance varies with the square of the velocity; hence, 1.5 times the mph results in 2.25 times the stopping distance. Now, if you're a really, really good driver, and very carefully keep sufficient distance between your car and the next, then maybe it would be acceptable. But most people I see speeding down the freeway every day are weaving in and out of lanes and more often than not end up riding some poor schmuck's bumper until a break appears and the speeder can cut someone else off. It's important to pay attention to the parent comment's first point: you are not an above-average driver. (In fact, half of all drivers are at or below average!)

My impression of the Autobahn was very low-key. I find the freeways in and around Los Angeles (outside of "rush" hours) to be much more exciting in terms of speed than anything I saw in Germany. It's true that there is no established speed limit, but I heard (from residents) that people can and do get pulled over for driving at unsafe speeds. See, now there's a conspiracy for you: without a posted speed limit, how are you supposed to know what is considered unsafe? It turns out that most people I saw on the Autobahn kept it between 100 and 120 kph. Why? Because apparently that's a safer speed at which to drive. Over the course of several days on the Autobahn, I can only recall seeing one car that was travelling at a noticeably higher speed, and that was a sleek little Porche in a lane with no other traffic as far as I could see in either direction...

I've only known one person with whom I felt comfortable speeding, and that was only because he had been a professional race-car driver for several years and had gone through extensive training on how to speed safely. Even with that knowledge and experience, he was very careful about not speeding unless he was just about the only vehicle in sight.



"No doubt about it... the chimps gave 110%."
[ Parent ]
in fact (none / 0) (#390)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:55:25 PM EST

(In fact, half of all drivers are at or below average!)
In fact, there need be only one driver below average. It is possible for nearly everybody to be above average. This is the promise of capitalism.

[ Parent ]
Conspiracy Theories (none / 0) (#483)
by wnight on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:13:51 PM EST

Yeah, the conspiracy theory angle is a real problem. Police can pretty safely ticket people for speeding because radar guns (at least good ones) make it hard to manufacture a fake number. They will lock a high speed, but they time-stamp it, preventing police from recording a speeder and using it to ticket a minority driver. But when you let them pull people over for leaving insufficient stopping distance it's harder to document.

Perhaps we simply need to record everything the police see, with a helmet cam. If they make an arrest they can save the last period of time and use the video as evidence in court.

But really, that's a stopgap. As long as people look down on a minority, police (who are people) will do so, and people (thus police as well) will continue to treat them unfairly. Perhaps education will help, or perhaps we need interbreeding to the point that everyone is a nice (healthy) mix indistinguishable from everyone else.


[ Parent ]

Interstate vs. autobahn (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by jismay on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:59:14 AM EST

"slower traffic keep right" don't create a road hazard by making it impossible to use the left lane to pass a slow vehicle, or by driving way below the speed of traffic in another lane.

I drive regularly between LA and Sacramento, and the biggest annoyance is drivers going significantly slower than traffic in the left lane. As to speed, I drive a 1966 Mustang, and have no problem cruising significantly higher than the limit.


"How do you fight such a savage?" "With heart, faith, and steel. There can be only one." -MacLeod and Ramirez, "Highlander"
[ Parent ]
yes! (4.00 / 2) (#65)
by strlen on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:02:06 AM EST

that's a really big problem, a nd a true road hazard. often times it would be families, thinking that the 'carpool lane' rule applies to outside carpool hours. not just an annoying, but also, again a danger. making it hard to pass traffic. by the way, great car. i love 60's and early 70's muscle cars, though you don't need a fast for speeding. my first encounters with speeding was with a 4-banger honda accord with an automatic transmission, 14" steelies with hubcaps, and timing belt which was about to go. no matter what you drive, there's no excuse for you to be going a significantly low speed in the passing lane.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Left Exit (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:37:28 AM EST

Around here, DC area, there are several exits on the left side of the road. I often find myself going slower than the flow while I'm getting into that exit.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Not much different (4.83 / 6) (#93)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:09:03 AM EST

I admit I haven't visited Germany, but I don't really believe the autobahn would be that different from certain wide interstate freeways,

I've lived in Germany for years and have driven untold thousands of miles on the Autobahnen. They range from slightly twisty two-lane with horrible pavement to three- and four-lanes with quality pavement just like the nicer freeways in the U.S. There is one truly cool section by Kassel with 3-4 lanes, perfect pavement, with fairly tight curves (well, they feel tight at 120), but banked and several others you could land a 747 on. I average 90-100mph on the way into work when traffic's free on an average-good two-lane.

The main differences with the US freeways, and some comments, are:

  • There is a minimum speed limit. No pedestrians or anything that can't keep that speed allowed (there are exceptions, and require lead and follow vehicles with warning lights)
  • Controlled entrances and exits
  • No stopping allowed except for mechanical breakdown (well, and traffic jams), and wide shoulders are provided. Running out of gas is illegal, as it is stopping without a breakdown.
  • No passing on the right, no hogging the left
  • If you're going over 80, there is a presumption that you are at fault in an accident, and you must show otherwise.
  • In a sudden traffic slowdown (yes, there are many traffic jams on the Autobahnen), the people at the end turn on their emergency flashers and don't turn them off until the car behind has slowed down and pulled in behind them.
  • Speed limits range from 100 (congestion zone or for noise pollution), 120-130 in areas of slight congestion or poor road, and unlimited.
  • Minimum speed limit of (IIRC) 37mph is raised in leftmost lanes on high speed roads to 55 (often, the 2nd to left lane is then min 50), especially on long uphills.
  • Accident rates on the Autobahnen are far lower than on the 1-2 lane federal highways ("B" roads) with standard 62mph limit (sometimes raised to 75 on long straight stretches with two lanes).
  • City speed limits are pretty much what you're used to.
  • Licensing requirements are much stricter here, as is the safety inspection for cars.
  • Any two witnesses to an illegal or unsafe (or even uncurteous) act can go to the police and the person will get ticketed. Just get the violator's plate #, and that of someone else you know saw it too.
  • Sometimes it only takes one witness. I asked a Polizei about turning in speeders through the local 18mph kiddie zone road that separates a neighborhood and the local playground.
And, yes, when I'm going fast I still have at least three seconds to the next car, which translates into a huge gap at that speed. Many clueless people seem to think your perception and reaction time decrease at speed. No, they remain the same. Unless you're drunk or tired, you always have the same reaction time. What changes with speed is the safe following distance you need so that your reaction time is fast enough to deal with events on the road.

In America, I always want to yell "I met your requirements for a license, so stop treating me like an imcompetent kid!"

[ Parent ]

Reporting bad driving... (none / 0) (#479)
by wnight on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:06:00 PM EST

Wow, I wish it was easy to report people for unsafe (or as you mention, rude) driving here in Canada.

Even as a passanger I want to smack around drivers that I see cutting in between someone who left a safe stopping distance between them and the car ahead. If you don't want people passing on the right just to get ahead of you by a single car length (no oportunity to pass further, or legitimate reason because they're already at or above the limit) you can't leave a safe distance between you and other cars.

It's a tough decision. The "smart" thing to do is simply drop back another few car lengths and give yourself the room, but then someone else will cut into it. In the end, everyone passing just to cut into a tight spot is probably a larger risk (especially if you watch more than one car ahead) than simply dealing with less stopping room.

I've been tempted to rig up an old computer in the trunk for recording a few video streams from around the car on a 10-minute loop, unless I press a button which would tell it to archive that with the date and time (and perhaps GPS info) so I could report people to the police.

I feel that speed is only one (and often the least) of the dangerous driving practices. I'd like to encourage any cops out there to start ticketing people for *all* unsafe driving.


[ Parent ]

There's even a fine (none / 0) (#567)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:20:16 AM EST

to flip someone else off. It's not that we're lacking in dickheads here, but at least there's a remedy. The police I talked to about reporting seemed to be encouraging me to report.

[ Parent ]
Road Design (4.00 / 2) (#137)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:39:03 AM EST

Interstates in the US are not designed for 100MPH driving. IIRC, they're designed for speeds around 70 to 75 mph.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
In other words (4.25 / 4) (#78)
by cooldev on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:55:39 AM EST

Driving is cooperative venture, not a competitive sport.



[ Parent ]
Or perhaps... (4.66 / 3) (#212)
by Josh A on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:28:40 AM EST

...driving is a "casual exercise in solipsism"... this certainly seems to be the attitude of the majority of people not cooperating around where I live.

If driving was a cooperative venture, these people would:

  • Not stop when there's no stop sign or traffic.
  • Not slow down to below the limit after moving heaven and earth to get in front of me.
  • Not ride in the left lane.
  • Not drive even on two lane roads. (Colorado!)
  • Not drive SUVs if they are not capable of handling them effectively.
Of course this is by no means an exhaustive list. Suffice to to say that plenty of people on the road aren't speeding and still manage to cause problems.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Tips response (4.66 / 3) (#97)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:23:39 AM EST

You are not an above average driver.

Yes I am, and I have an above-average car in maneuverability and acceleration too. I've been to specific training, and plan to take even more.

Stop means a complete stop.

Yep.

If you are a passenger, shut up.

I can't hear them over the road noise anyway. :) But I'm sure a lot of accidents happen that way.

The interstate is not the autobahn.

Um, it is for me. And road-quality wise, many of the Autobahnen are the same as in the U.S.

Turn signals are not deceptive countermeasures.

I see you've driven in L.A.

Leave your ego at home.

You don't know how many times some boy-racer just HAD to race around me and it was very difficult not to "show him who's boss."

Points are not the man's way of keeping you down.

Actually, I don't have any points.

Don't surprise other drivers.

I do use my extra agility to get around other drivers I deem unsafe (you've seen them, not paying attention, weaving, etc.) before they know I'm there. I pick a path where I know they couldn't block me if they tried and go for it. But I know what you mean. Even in fast lane changes, I always use my turn signal.

Have an escape plan.

Always. I'm paranoid about trucks running me over from behind in a traffic jam, so I always leave room to dart out of the way. Okay, this means the next person in line gets it, but at least it won't be me.

If it is raining or snowing, you are going too fast.

You should see me barely creep along. Got a good laugh at the BMW that blew by me in the snow up a curvy hill road. I saw her a mile later, car wrecked (she was okay).

[ Parent ]

Whatcha driving? (none / 0) (#362)
by DigitalRover on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:02:35 PM EST

You are not an above average driver.

Yes I am, and I have an above-average car in maneuverability and acceleration too. I've been to specific training, and plan to take even more.


Which above-average car are you driving?

[ Parent ]
It ain't in America (none / 0) (#572)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:54:15 AM EST

Lotus Elise. Total driver involvement in what's happening with the road combined with instant and effective steering, throttle and braking response.

I still rarely speed (and never in the city), and if so not more than 5-10mph when it's safe.

[ Parent ]

You bastard! (none / 0) (#628)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:17:57 PM EST

I'm waiting for the American release in 03. I'll decide them whether to trade in my Spyder. Color me jealous.

[ Parent ]
Keep dreaming (none / 0) (#639)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:04:54 AM EST

An American release has been promised for some time and it's never arrived. But if you don't mind paying approximately $25,000 over the European price, you can go to Sun International. All that money to just get around U.S. regs, when the car does fine with the strict European regs. But you do end up with a great Honda engine instead of the stock Rover.

[ Parent ]
This tip sheet's for you (5.00 / 1) (#583)
by a on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:10:56 AM EST

Sounds like you're exactly the kind of person the tip sheet is intended for. The "this doesn't apply to me" guy.

You are not an above average driver.

Yes I am, and I have an above-average car in maneuverability and acceleration too. I've been to specific training, and plan to take even more.

I doubt the author meant it literally. The statement's intended to remind you that you don't have any advantage over the idiot in the other car. If he does something unpredictably stupid because he thinks he's an above average driver, you're dead.

I see a lot of people work their way through traffic like they're playing a video game. In video games, the computer is generally going to do the same thing, or the same predictable pattern, all the time. And even if it surprises you, the worst you'll lose is your quarter. In the real world, you don't know anything about that guy who just appears to be driving along. Maybe he's having a great day and feels like he can take on the world, and when you try to pass him he decides at the last second that he's not going to allow you. Maybe he's just lost his job and the road is the last thing on his mind. Or maybe, while you're "slipping past before they notice," he decides he's going to make an impulsive lane change.

The point is this: in traffic, you are only as good as the worst driver on the road, and your precious car isn't worth any more than his POS if you assume that you can outsmart his stupidity. This will be all too apparent when your twisted piece of metal is sitting on the side of the road next to his.

Signalling during "fast lane changes" sounds to me like a cop out. In theory, you are supposed to signal to let the people around you know what you are going to do, and give them ample time to take notice and necessary action. Then you change lanes. But your description sounds like the person who begins changing lanes and then hits the signal so no one can say he didn't signal. It defeats the purpose, and in some ways is more dangerous than not signalling.

Traffic laws are not designed to make money off you, nor are they guidelines for newbies and people with shitty cars. They're designed to give everyone on the road the same frame of reference: "This is the speed limit, this is the appropriate behavior I can expect on the road, and this is the appropriate behavior everyone else expects from me on the road." When everyone (this includes you) conforms to the same standards, you end up with the fewest accidents (mostly limited to accidents caused by elements outside the driver's control) and everyone gets where they want to go as quickly as possible.

Conformity is the reality of the road, not those commercials of cars zigzagging their way up the mountains. If you don't like it, take public transportation to work and drive your car on a track. But you have no right to risk someone else's life and property in the pursuit of your daily thrill.

[ Parent ]

On signalling... (none / 0) (#615)
by DanTheCat on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:07:38 PM EST

'Round here in the bay area, if you signal your intentions like you are supposed to, you won't be changing lanes anytime soon, because the driver that saw your signal sped up to cut you off.

I make it a point to always use my signal, but frequently I wind up doing the 'fast lane change' as well. The signal is more of a token to let the driver know that yes, I really did mean to change lanes. And even a late signal is better than no signal, which is what most people seen to do.

Dan :)

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

Last time I was in huoston (3.83 / 6) (#55)
by simonfish on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:32:30 AM EST

they local government had come up with a 'brilliant' way to help reduce pollution: they were lowering the speed limit by 10 MPH. Just what they need, drivers on the road for longer. More traphic jams. More people with idling engines.

Yeah, that's pretty funny. (3.60 / 5) (#61)
by valeko on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:52:45 AM EST

I am additionally puzzled by the lower national speed limits that were instituted in the US during the Arab oil embargo that started in 1973. AFAIK that's when the 55 MPH thing came to be, but feel free to correct me.

If you want to reduce fuel consumption, you let people go faster so that they spend less time driving and get more bang per given unit of fuel. Even if cars utilise fuel less effeciently beyond a certain speed limit (I don't know anything about cars, particularly in the 0s), there's still the time factor which can be pretty significant in some cases.

As far as reducing pollution, there are numerous strategies for it related to automobiles, but again, I don't understand how lowering speed limits fits into the picture. I am thoroughly boggled. I guess if I wanted to look into the extremes, I'd say that lowering speed limits causes more traffic pileups that are more dense, perhaps discouraging people from driving at all, but I don't think that this is anything more than a negligible outcome, and it's certain not to be a part of strategy for reducing pollution by city government.

I personally like what Mexico City has done. They have a system where, depending on the last number of the numerical portion of your license plate, you cannot use your car for one day per week. On weekends, all cars may be used, but on working days not. I don't know how much this reduces pollution, but I understand that it's pretty strictly enforced. But then again, Mexico City also has excellent public transportation, as do all cities in Mexico really, to the extent that it's definitely more usable, practical, and reliable than what you find in the US.

That is invariably a strategy aimed at pollution. Speed limits? Um, no.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

dear pos (1.07 / 14) (#122)
by parasite on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:52:05 AM EST

Oh Yeah asshole???

So why not move your stupid fucking ass to the nearest totalitaian dictatorship where the ruler will set all sorts of arbitrary random rules like don't drive your bicycle (if you're lucky) on Tuesday. Hell an asswipe like yourself might even like some of these arbitrary decrees-- but the catch is you don't get to be ruler, so most of the decrees you won't like at all.

Piece of shit.

[ Parent ]

What the hell? [n/t] (none / 0) (#204)
by valeko on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:21:48 AM EST


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Are you serious? (5.00 / 5) (#129)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:09:28 AM EST

    If you want to reduce fuel consumption, you let people go faster so that they spend less time driving and get more bang per given unit of fuel. Even if cars utilise fuel less effeciently beyond a certain speed limit (I don't know anything about cars, particularly in the 0s), there's still the time factor which can be pretty significant in some cases.

Breathtakingly incorrect. The "time factor" has nothing to do with it, unless you're using Star Trek physics. You don't multiply "miles per gallon" by time to get the fuel used for a trip. It's just miles per gallon.

As to the speed, fuel economy drops sharply with increased speed. Here's how stuff works. Follow the links to find out the sweet spot for your vehicle.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Interesting. (4.00 / 2) (#227)
by valeko on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:40:22 AM EST

I figured that it worked somehow like that, but didn't realise that the time factor is so insignificant.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Sorry (4.66 / 3) (#263)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:15:49 AM EST

Sorry, I was a little twitchy. I forgot that until you've looked at this, it's actually not obvious, and it really can feel as though getting somewhere faster should be more efficient.

What's even less obvious is that in congested or potentially congested situations, speed is even more counterproductive. Theoretically, a higher speed would make for less time on the road, which would make for fewer cars on the road at any given time. However, in practice, the act of trying to travel faster actually makes it worse. There's an interesting, if rather rambling discussion of that here, and several other sources that show that having steady flow at lower speeds results in higher throughput then burst of high speed. The basic problem is that high speed vehicles reach congested spots more quickly than they can clear, which leads to sharp braking and stationary tail backs, which shifts the problem up the road and across lanes, leads to frustration, inefficient road usage, bad decision making and ultimately a lot of avoidable crashes.

Road use is a fascinating subject, and you can see why it causes planners a lot of headaches.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Fuel consumption (4.66 / 3) (#146)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:04:33 AM EST

Try this experiment:
Fill up the tank. Drive on an interstate for 150 to 200 miles at 55. Fill up the tank and calculate mpg. Repeat several times to get an average mpg. Do the same at 65, then at 75.

I did this when I lived in Utah. The cars I did it in were a 73 Olds Cutlass with a 350 V-8, a Honda Prelude, a Toyota pickup, and a Mitsubishi Mirage (still driving that one). There was always a signifigant improvement in mpg.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

clarify? (4.00 / 1) (#158)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:26:47 AM EST

Always a significant improvement in mpg when you slowed down or sped up?  Either wouldn't surprise me... there's an ideal speed for each car, determined by its aerodynamic and engine properties.  I haven't done this experiement, but I've read that for my VW jetta it's around 70mph with windows closed and no AC.  For a boxy minivan, you can be sure it's a lot lower.  In a ferrari, it's probably higher.  

That said, a far larger factor is how much you have to speed up and slow down... if you can maintain 55mph in my jetta without altering speed, you will probably do better than someone who has to constantly waver between 75 and 65 mph (yeah, I'm pulling numbers out of my ass right now, but the basic principle is there).  

I actually managed to top the EPA highway speed significantly on my car this weekend on the way back from New York. 32mpg by pretty much holding 70 the whole way.  That was cool.  Of course, I just trashed that average by driving my boyfriend to Dulles this morning, but oh well.

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Slowed down (4.00 / 1) (#166)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:35:26 AM EST

55 mph always got much better mileage than 75. Even at 65 I get better mileage. In my Mitsu I get around 40 mpg at 65 mph and 37 mpg at 75mph. Which is only significant on long trips, but still.

70mph with windows closed and no AC
Were you doing that yesterday? ;-)

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

Windows/AC (4.00 / 1) (#171)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:39:10 AM EST

No way... on the way up I didn't use much AC, but it was so humid and warm yesterday that I would have died.  

Of course, the windows and AC thing work in opposite directions - if you have the windows open, you are better at a lower speed, if you have the AC on, you are better at a higher speed (modulo the other factors, engine, aerodynamics, etc).  

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

rule of thumb (5.00 / 1) (#397)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:03:10 PM EST

I heard on Car Talk that in most cars the optimal mpg is achieved just past where you (or your auto transmission) would shift into the car's highest gear. I usually don't drive that slow, but try to strike a balance between my impatience and my cheapness.

[ Parent ]
Makes sense. (none / 0) (#447)
by Count Zero on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:11:29 PM EST

Higher RPMs in a given gear mean the engine is working harder. Holds with what I was taught about driving a manual, where if you are driving for fuel economy, you should shift somewhat earlier than normal, thus maximizing the time that the engine is operating at low RPMs.




[ Parent ]
yup (none / 0) (#454)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:15:54 PM EST

It makes sense to me, too. You sacrifice torque for fuel economy. It kind of fudges the effects of wind resistence, but I guess that's why it's just a rule of thumb and not a Universal Law of Nature or something. :)

[ Parent ]
maintaining speed (4.50 / 2) (#163)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:33:02 AM EST

Traffic engineering is funny, and it gets into higher order differential equations.  But essentially, if you lower the speed limit to a point (or especially if you can encourage people to increase following times) you will reduce snarls, and greatly reduce the effect that an accident has on traffic.  This translates to less idling and a higher average speed of traffic during a "rush hour" type of flow.

I drove from DC to NY and back this weekend, and it really made me wish we had computers control people's driving.  People did all kinds of dumb things that really just made traffic worse for everyone and moved them up by a couple cars.  There was one person I watched weaving and generally screwing up traffic for everyone for about 10 miles until I passed him by maintaining the speed limit in the right lane which was mostly empty.  

But no... increasing the speed limit generally does not improve rush hour traffic in any way.

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

yes, computers! (5.00 / 1) (#401)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:09:23 PM EST

I read a cool article in Discover probably a couple years ago dealing with this issue. Some German (IIRC) scientists performed simulations of traffic and found that very slight manipulations to the traffic could have enormous effects on the average speed of all drivers. They put together a system that regulated on-ramps to maintain the optimal flow of traffic.

Traffic is an interesting situation in that the most efficient result is not achieved through each individual behaving selfishly. Or rather, it perhaps would be, if each individual was nearly omniscient regarding the surrounding traffic situation. Information is so limited in heavy traffic (especially for those of us driving little cars), that it is all but impossible to make informed decisions.

[ Parent ]

Re: maintaining speed (5.00 / 1) (#502)
by jazman_777 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:17:43 PM EST

Traffic engineering is funny, and it gets into higher order differential equations. But essentially, if you lower the speed limit to a point (or especially if you can encourage people to increase following times) you will reduce snarls, and greatly reduce the effect that an accident has on traffic. This translates to less idling and a higher average speed of traffic during a "rush hour" type of flow.

I worked in a lab where there was another project going on, some traffic engineering. Found out that for maximum steady state throughput in congestion, the engineers have figured out that 35 mph is optimal. That higher speeds don't work as well is due to how drivers react to perturbations; there's a distribution of "how drivers react to perturbations". The ones who overreact are the real problem, because they mess up the flow completely. You then can't get back to that 35. Well, the ones who don't react at all could be a problem, too (crash!). But at 35, the flow is maximized despite driver under/overreations. This is for congested traffic, mind you.

[ Parent ]

Interesting number (5.00 / 1) (#528)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:49:55 PM EST

I don't doubt it, but different definitions of congestion and different types of drivers will probably shift that number around a little bit. The traffic models are interesting, but I'm kinda sorry I brought them up now, because it's bad to cling to them.  They are based on massaging numbers collected and have a lot of psychology built into them.  Change the average type of driver (say, make it holiday traffic rather than commuters) and you will have a different type of reaction.  

That said, in congestion I generally try to drive in a way that most buffers the congestion ahead for those behind.  That means if I'm in stop-and-go traffic, I won't jackrabbit to 25 and stop back to 0, I'll try to coast at 10-15 until I must gradually stop.  Likewise in less congested traffic, if I see brakelights ahead, I'll slow down early and gradually, hopefully only losing about 5mph, rather than dipping down to 35 and back to 55 (or whatever).  Unfortunately, the gaps I must leave to pull this off frequently get filled by people wanting to beat the traffic flow, but sometimes it helps some.  

Of course, drivers like me screw with the models, but at least it's in a positive way.  

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Didn't work (5.00 / 1) (#573)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:58:38 AM EST

US during the Arab oil embargo that started in 1973. AFAIK that's when the 55 MPH thing came to be, but feel free to correct me.

And, IIRC, it was completely ineffective at any of its goals.

[ Parent ]

Ineficiency of good solution (5.00 / 1) (#634)
by linca on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:37:23 PM EST

The "alternate driving" concept is a bad Idea. Instead of having one good car, people rich enough try to have two, one for even days and another for odd days. Since that requires more car, they use older ones, that are more polluting - and thus you get nearly as many cars, that pollute much more.

[ Parent ]
Houston - and how I nearly killed someone (5.00 / 5) (#75)
by greenshift on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:41:45 AM EST

Gotta love Houston.  I take TX-6 South to US-290 East going into Houston.  All the way from Hempstead to Houston, about 50 miles of PURE NOTHINGNESS, the speed limit is 55 mph.  Then you get into the city limits of Houston, and if you actually go only 55 mph you will get killed.  No one drives below 75 mph.  Pure insanity.  In this intance, the speed limits will CAUSE more accidents than they will prevent.

While driving on 290 in Houston , I was in the right center lane out of the four lanes.  It was around 10pm on a Thursday night, so there was no other traffic.  I was going 61 mph, knowing that in some cities they will only cite you for going more than 6 over.  A car was behind me in the same lane.  The car had to be going close to 80 mph.  I refused to speed up or move out of the way.  You pick one of the other three lanes, asshole.  I was here first, plus it is on the right side of the road.  Suddenly, the car is about 1 and a half car lengths behind me.  What do I do?  I SLAMMED on my brakes like a deer jumped in front of my car.  The guy in the car behind me shit himself something fierce.  He slammed on his brakes at the same time as jerking the wheel, causing him to start to fishtail momentarily.  I sped up to 61 again, and he regained control.  Then he got in one of the TWO open lanes to my left and continued on his way.  I doubt he will tail anyone like that for a while.  Pretty stupid of me to do that, he very easily could've been killed.

BTW, if you drive in Texas, and you tail people when there are multiple open lanes, fuck you.

[ Parent ]

Tried that and it backfired (none / 0) (#345)
by drewbie on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:17:53 PM EST

I did that one morning as I was pulling out of a gas station. I look and see an appropriate opening in the traffic. But this guy comes flying (and he was DEFINITELY speeding) out of nowhere and is a few feet from my bumper. So I gave my brakes a good tap to warn him off. Not super hard, but enough to make the nose of my car move a bit. He slams on his brakes, and after a moment to recover from nearly eating my bumper, comes back with a vengeance. Now he's REALLY pissed. I can't hear him, but he's obviously yelling and waving his fist out the window. I think "What a freaking idiot!" and continue driving. He continues honking & tailgating.

I'm on a 2 lane city street, with no breakdown lane. When the road widens for a business, he tries to pull up beside me. I, of course, move over & don't let him. In a half mile or so the road widens up to 4 lanes as I near my turn to get onto the interstate. He's zooming up to get beside me as I turn right while he goes straight. So he slams on his brakes and keeps follows me! Now I'm getting a bit worried as this guy is obviously a freak and just a bit unstable.

We're now on a 2 lane road with little traffic and he starts to pull up beside me in the wrong lane. I let him pull ahead, and then duck into the office park parking lot that happened to be nearby. He (of course) follows me in, but I lost him in the under-building parking area. I continue on to work with quite a story to tell to my co-workers, and a little wiser about warning tailgaters via the brakes.

Oh, and I've never told my wife this story either. ;-)

[ Parent ]

Ha, now I've got you (5.00 / 1) (#389)
by Dephex Twin on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:49:00 PM EST

I'm the guy who you cut off in traffic.  You didn't think I would just let it go, did you?

Your attempted escape in the office parking lot was quite clever indeed.

Mwahahahahaha!  I've been waiting for this day.

I'll be "tailgating" you in cyberspace now!  You will pay for your slowness crimes!


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Sounds like... (none / 0) (#658)
by beergut on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:20:25 PM EST

You need a pistol! :-)

I should probably have one, too. I tend to "educate" stupid drivers when they display their colors.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Sure... (none / 0) (#659)
by drewbie on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:54:21 PM EST

if you can convince my wife to let me have one, and then pay for the 9mm I'd probably buy. ;-) Geez, it's been a long time since I shot a real gun...

[ Parent ]
nice move (none / 0) (#402)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:15:12 PM EST

So you put someone else and yourself at risk so as not to look like a wuss (in front of whom?) for getting out of the way of some moron? I'd say, you proved to be more moronic than he. The really ironic part is that that probably just enforced your own opinion of yourself as an excellent driver. Guys who drive trying to demonstrate the size of their peas scare me almost as much as women putting on makeup while talking on the phone.

[ Parent ]
You sir, are a moron. (none / 0) (#561)
by greenshift on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:01:59 AM EST

I did say that it was stupid.  I had had it with fuckers tailgating me when EVERY OTHER LANE IS CLEAR OF TRAFFIC, and when I'm in the right lane.

I do not consider myself to be an excellent driver, but I get along just fine.  

What I did had nothing to do with not "looking like a wuss."  I was driving by myself at the end of a two hour drive.  This was my 4th four hour round trip drive in just over a week, all of which were aggravated by jerks who want to go 90mph in a 55mph zone in the right lane.  

The person behind me who chose my lane rather than the other three empty lanes around us was the one showing the "size of their peas" as you so eloquently put it.  I lost my temper, and essentially told the guy to "BACK THE FUCK OFF" if you will.  Granted, light brake taps would have been much more appropriate.  If the person behind me did hit me and have an accident when I braked, it is still HIS fault.

Anyway, if you had actually read my comment, you would have seen that I did admit that it was a stupid thing to do provoked by frustration.  Please learn to comprehend the words you read next time you comment.

[ Parent ]

Indeed... (none / 0) (#430)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:52:15 PM EST

Being tailgated pisses me off something fierce, although for sanity and safety's sake, I prefer to tap the brakes a few times and coast until they back off.  I've had people refuse to stop tailgating until I was down to 45, even though there was an open lane on either side.  I've found that a few taps is enough to get most people to back off to a reasonable distance.

Mathias

[ Parent ]

The 55 (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:30:07 AM EST

That was the one of the reasons behind the "55" campaign. It didn't work then either.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 0) (#424)
by Count Zero on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:47:35 PM EST

There are certain pollution measurements that increase more with speed than with the number of cars and time they are on the road. I don't have a link, (wish I did) but it's something a friend of mine (who is a transporation engineer for VA) told me. He said that often projects they have will be rejected by the EPA because they'll result in cars driving too *fast*, which causes an increase in a particular pollutant.

I thought it sounded pretty silly and unintutive too, but I trust the source.




[ Parent ]
My perspective (4.70 / 10) (#56)
by driptray on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:36:41 AM EST

You focus on over-enforcement on the law, but as a regular road user I'm far more concerned with under-enforcement. The offences that bug me are dangerous driving and menacing driving.

I'm a cyclist. Speeding and red light offences don't overly concern me. Drivers who assume that cyclists don't belong on the road are my concern, and its common knowledge amongst cyclists that many police share the same attitude as those dangerous drivers. The police response to cyclists' complaints about negligent or dangerous driving is often to say something to the effect of "well, what do you expect, you're on a bike", or to simply tell you to get off the road and on to the footpath.

The conclusion from a cycling perspective is that road rules are selectively enforced for the benefit of car users, despite your complaints about speeding and red light tickets. Frankly I don't have a lot of sympathy for car-users who get such tickets.

As for the 85th percentile speed limit theory, I agree that it is useless to lower speed limits below the speed that drivers like to go. Slow speed limits on fast roads are a bad fit and cause frustration all round.

If you're really interested in safety rather than revenue, then the answer is to make all those fast roads slower by the use of traffic calming, wide bike lanes/narrow car lanes, etc. This way you can reduce speed limits down to about 30-50 kmh which are far safer for pedestrians and those on bikes, as well as for those in cars.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating

Cyclists. (3.75 / 4) (#66)
by valeko on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:02:08 AM EST

I am a cyclist as well, and would like to say that I completely agree with your view on the hostility of automobiles to us and that I know exactly what you're talking about personally.

That said, I do think that there's more bicyclists could do to meet drivers half-way, too. I have no sympathy for drivers who do not even take into account the possibility that someone could be riding a bicycle, as the case often is in suburban America where I live. Everyone rides in car. Everyone. Except some students around the university area where it is plausible, very, very few people get around town practically on their bikes. This is not to say that it's impossible, but it doesn't occur to them that this is so.

But I think that it is awfully presumptuous of cyclists to think that they should be on the road, nevertheless. I never understood the fascination that ordinary cyclists have with riding in the same lanes as cars on busy, fast roads when there's a perfectly good sidewalk. Sure, sure, you get whined to about riding on sidewalks too, and you do have to be careful, but given the small amount of pedestrians, it's mostly trivial. Well, here it is. Unless you're some kind of Tour de France-grade professional, I don't think it is that necessary for you to ride in the middle of the highway when there's a sidewalk. There's nothing wrong with riding on the sidewalk.

Bike lanes are excellent, but the few we have down here are not built in such a way as to be practical. That is, they are disconnected from each other - there's no usable network of them. Often they are omitted in the most narrow and dangerous areas of a particular road, and present in places where they're not particularly necessary.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Bicycles are vehicles (5.00 / 4) (#70)
by driptray on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:27:35 AM EST

But I think that it is awfully presumptuous of cyclists to think that they should be on the road, nevertheless. I never understood the fascination that ordinary cyclists have with riding in the same lanes as cars on busy, fast roads when there's a perfectly good sidewalk.

In Australia (my home country), riding on the sidewalk is illegal. You must ride on the road.

In addition, riding on the road is far safer than on the sidewalk, despite the traffic. Drivers coming out of driveways and side streets are not expecting bikes to be tooling along the sidewalk - their eyes are focused on the road, not on the sidewalk. Experienced cyclists always recommend avoiding the sidewalk due to safety reasons.

Also, the speed differential between pedestrians and cyclists is often higher than the speed differential between cyclists and cars. In my experience, bicycles fit far better on the road with cars than they do on the sidewalk with people.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Riding on the sidewalk is usually illegal. (5.00 / 2) (#325)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:35:14 PM EST

I live in Ontario, Canada. Here, bicycles are legally not supposed to be on the sidewalk.

Of course, they ride on the sidewalk anyway, and the reason is obvious: the majority of drivers in this town consider them to be amusing targets. I don't ride a bike, but I feel enough sympathy for the poor bastards that I try to give them space on the sidewalk.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

There's a reason for that (3.00 / 1) (#340)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:07:15 PM EST

I live in Ontario, Canada. Here, bicycles are legally not supposed to be on the sidewalk.

The reason for that is that as motorists are to cyclists, cyclists are to pedestrians. They weave all over the place on and off lawns, between people and generally make a nuisance and danger out of themselves.

Not so much "adult" cyclists, but many teen and young adult (14-25yo) ones in particular.



[ Parent ]
Not a problem here. (5.00 / 1) (#352)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:36:30 PM EST

The cyclists on the sidewalks here (London, Ontario) are mostly just ordinary cyclists. They usually use significantly more care.

Most of them are undergraduate-age. London has a large university.

But I've seen cars swerve to try to hit them on the road. IE, attempted murder.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

You respect my car, I'll respect your bike (4.50 / 2) (#354)
by hatshepsut on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:49:44 PM EST

I used to ride to work when I was in university, now I have to drive. I say this to indicate that I have been on the giving and receiving end of bike/car interactions.

In Ontario, bikes are considered vehicles and therefore have to obey the rules of the road. So, cyclists need to start signaling their turns and stops, actually obeying stop signs and lights, use lights at night, etc. As for car drivers, they need to start respecting the cyclists' road space (yes, bike riders need more than 6 inches space), looking where they are going (don't turn right, if there is a bike coming up behind you on the right), and behaving like human beings (trying to nail a cyclist by opening your car door in their face is not acceptable behaviour). Yes, I have seen all of the above.

Can we all agree on a combination of the rules of the road and some basic consideration and get along?

[ Parent ]

Getting along with drivers. (none / 0) (#681)
by gromm on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 08:23:04 PM EST

Where I live, it seems to be mostly true that motorists are courteous to cyclists, although unfortunately I'd say that about 1/3 of the "cyclists" are total ignorant gits. These types are typically very poor, very out of shape, and very dumb. Although they usually ride on the sidewalk, they don't pose much of a threat to pedestrians because they're only riding maybe twice as fast as someone who's slowly strolling along. They're completely unaware that they're supposed to be following the same rules as drivers. Fortunately, their biggest risk is when they suddenly turn into a crosswalk to cross the street, usually unexpectedly, and often by swerving in between cars (by riding with traffic) and then completely failing to use either the left turn lane or the crosswalk properly.

This is fortunate because they pose a risk only to themselves and not to other people. Although fewer, there are also plenty of people who fit the same description of being totally ignorant gits, but with somewhat more money - (barely) enough to buy a car. When these people are behind the wheel they have a ton of steel and glass behind their dumbass mistakes and as a result pose a threat to the public.
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]

He's really talking about highways (5.00 / 3) (#67)
by Perianwyr on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:04:02 AM EST

I hear what you're saying about bike-riding- but it's a questionable matter at best to ride a bike on anything approaching a major highway.

I agree with very low speed limits in residential areas, strongly enforced (in fact, I think cars ought to be totally disallowed from all city centers, which is another story...) but that isn't what this article's about.

I understand the problem, though. Your problems sound very American- note that the US doesn't have or seem to understand bike lanes in general. That's the real problem. This is mainly because most people here don't ride bikes. In China, you get a third of the road in most city centers dedicated to bicyclists (generally separated from the main traffic flow by dividers.) The bikes cross roads and turn at intersections, with their own lights, timed with the standard traffic lights. It's a pretty safe system, and is completely necessary given the predominance of bicycles as transportation, and the utterly terrible standard of driving in China. In the US, bikes are left to integrate with traffic flows traveling many multiples of their speed. Cyclists often have to cross highway onramps and offramps, and share bridges with fast moving traffic without the benefit of a shoulder. Pedestrian and cyclist crossover bridges are generally far rarer than they should be.

This irritating design issue, though, is generally independent of the idea of very high speed limits on high capacity car carrying roads. Bicycles generally have the worst problems when these car carriers are strongly connected to residential roads to the exclusion of all else.

[ Parent ]

Cycling and speed limits (5.00 / 4) (#92)
by kmself on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:07:29 AM EST

I picked up a ticket in NY State last summer, very similar situation -- rolling with traffic, crested a hill, cruiser was sitting there....

I also bike considerably -- communting to work when possible, and hitting a 35-55 mile training ride when I can. One favorite route takes me down a downhill where I can break the double nickle -- record to date is 57.5 MPH ;-)

That said, speed itself isn't the major concern with bikes and cars on the road. Courtesy and safety conciousness are, and that cuts both ways. I've certainly encountered drivers who were oblivious -- or outright hostile, to cyclists. But I've also seen far too many cyclists acting inconsiderately to traffic around them, or simply riding where it's not safe (eg: busy street, wrong way, after dark, no lights....).

When I'm driving, I try to keep a eye out for bikes, and kids, and other cars, around me. Yes, I like to move when I'm on open road, but slow for neighborhood streets or heavy traffic on the freeway. Passing bikes on the country roads out here, I'll give them a wide bearth.

When I'm on a bike, I also keep an eye out for what's around me. I've got a halogen headlamp and high-output LED flashers for night riding. Where I can avoid high-traffic areas, I do. And if I'm slowing traffic an a curving uphill, I'll signal whether or not it's safe to pass, if I can see and hear oncoming traffic ahead.

The real problem with traffic enforcement is that we've evolved to a regime where that which is readily measured -- speed, intoxication, red-light running -- is enforced, when other factors are equally or more hazardous: sleep-deprived drivers, tailgating, reckless driving, or aggressive behavior.

In my decade and a half of driving, I've only once witnessed a fatal accident. The driver was not speeding, driving wrecklessly, intoxicated, or tailgating. A tree blew down on top of her car (I was seconds behind her). Fat lot of good the laws did.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Cyclists not so innocent IME.... (4.00 / 4) (#130)
by datamodel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:11:15 AM EST

In my experience (central London mainly) 90+% of cyclists have no idea about red lights and will generally just sail through them, regardless of whether it causes cars to have to brake.

There's also a lots of fairly slow moving traffic, through which cyclist weave very dangerously, and often cause cars to have to brake by wobbling across the lane three feet in front of the cars front bumper.

It comes across as annoying hypocrisy to me when I hear cyclists complaining about car users being inconsiderate to them, when I see so many inconsiderate and dangerous cyclists all the time.

I'd be in favour of greatly increased cycle lanes, and enforced penalties for cyclists going through red lights, and/or weaving dangerously. Hard to enforce automatically though, so it won't happen...

Cheers,

M.

[ Parent ]

Cyclists not so innocent (none / 0) (#445)
by smcdonald on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:09:43 PM EST

I was just commenting to a friend the other day that I don't think I've ever seen a cyclist make a legal stop at a stop sign, they just sail through and expect the cars to wait for them.

I'm sure there are a few out there that obey the law, but as far as I can tell the majority don't.

[ Parent ]

People drive the same, regardless of the vehicle (4.00 / 2) (#240)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:52:55 AM EST

I live in the city of Toronto, where driving is a sort of thrilling death-sport.

I can say with the authority of experience that the ratio of good:bad drivers is not significantly different than the number of good:bad cyclists, despite whatever delusions of persecution the cyclists may experience.

Cyclists who complain that they are being singled out with special disregard are fooling themselves -- that kind of dangerous ignorance is extended to everyone on the road. If anything, cyclists get more leeway since most drivers are terrified of hitting them (granted, that assumes that the driver is aware enough to have noticed them in the first place...), and in fact are a danger to other drivers because of the sporadic brake-hitting and inter-lane swerving they're likely to do to give the cyclist ample space.

Despite the fact that many car drivers conduct themselves very aggressively on the road, only a slim majority are brazen enough to out-right break a major rule like speeding through a clearly red light. In contrast, it seems like more than half of all bikers are perfectly willing to pick and choose which traffic laws apply to them, and which don't -- this makes them difficult to predict, and therefore dangerous.

Cyclists -- feh! The folks with the really tough time on the road are the pogo-stick riders like me.


This is an excellent example of a fairly dull but decently spelled signature.

[ Parent ]
Pfagh! (3.00 / 1) (#480)
by CodeWright on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:12:14 PM EST

The people with a really really tough time are the log-rollers like me! Especially on left turns through an intersection... those logs just don't have much cornering performance... (unless you sand 'em down on the ends).

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Poor cyclists/poor drivers (none / 0) (#503)
by driptray on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:19:31 PM EST

I'll happily concede that the ratio of poor cyclists is the same as the ratio of poor drivers. In fact there may even be a higher proportion of poor cyclists.

However a poor cyclist generally only endangers themself. A poor driver endangers everybody else. That's why I consider poor drivers a bigger menace, and the fuss over poor riders to be overblown. It's also why the fuss about cyclists running red lights is a non-issue, although I have to say I've never seen a cyclist "run" a red light in my life. I've seen cyclists slow down sufficiently to check that there's no cross-traffic, and then pass through the red light, but to simply blow through a red light would be a death wish.

However when cyclists are on the sidewalk they do endanger others, just as cars do on the roads.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Cyclists (none / 0) (#525)
by mlc on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:26:31 PM EST

Ah, but the problem is that, in general, roads and laws are designed with motorists in mind. These laws are generally designed to allow cars (and trucks and busses and, to a lesser extent, motorcycles) to move as quickly as possible without hitting each other. Thus we have here in New York "timed" traffic lights, so that the green lights progress along the street at some speed. Thus, when driving along a one-way avenue, a motorist might never hit a red light if ey travels at the "correct" speed.

Now, this is all well and good, in a car-centric model. But, for cyclists who generally move slower than cars, one is liable to hit a red light very very often. Now, stopping and starting on a bicycle (particularly starting) is not as easy as in a car: you actually have to work, rather than just pushing a button and emitting pollutants into the face of the bicycle behind you.

So, it is hardly surprising that most bicyclists frequently run red lights. If lawmakers rode more bicycles, perhaps the laws would be designed differently. Bicycle collisions are easier to avoid and in general less painful than automobile collisions, so maybe we wouldn't need so many traffic lights at all, if people stopped driving around so much. I don't know what the solution is, but to blame bicyclists entirely (as some do) is totally absurd.

And, I don't know how it is in the rest of the world, but here, the *police cars* always, always run red lights. If they don't behave, how do they expect the rest of us to?

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star
[ Parent ]

Well. (3.37 / 8) (#58)
by mindstrm on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:47:49 AM EST

I thought you were on to something, but then just realized, if you were going 85 in a 55 zone, who's fault is that?

Oh right. It's the cops, for setting unreasonably low limits.
Of course, you have done extensive studies, looked at all the statistics, and decided what the safe speed limit is for that area, right?

And of course, you are SURE you are an above average driver who doesn't really need those limits anyway, because you can drive well, right?

Context is everything... (4.00 / 2) (#72)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:31:20 AM EST

If you're the only car on the highway doing 85 in 55 is speeding.

But if the average speed of traffic on the road is 85...  You can't stay at 55, because then you're a danger to the traffic coming up at you (you may as well be stopped while they're doing 30 mph...)

But I'd rather the cops pull that guy over that was tailgating me, or switching from the far left lane to the far right lane and then back again so he could do 90.  But those guys never seem to be the ones to get caught.

[ Parent ]

Depends on the state (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by NaCh0 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:14:05 AM EST

Some states have laws that consider going with the flow okay. Others have no such laws. And in the latter, the going with the flow excuse doesn't get you anywhere. I'm not saying its right, but thats how it works.
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
Know our history (4.50 / 2) (#83)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:28:32 AM EST

Knowing the history of speed limits in America, especially that atrociously ineffective and idiotic failure that was the 55 limit, I'd actually give the driver the benefit of the doubt over the politicians who set the speed limits. They listen to politics, not the scientists and engineers who actually know about safety.

Digging around in the links in the story should find you examples of raising the artificially low speed limit lowering accident rates, and lowering from the 85% to one of these politically-set speed limits raising accident rates.

[ Parent ]

Statistics (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:53:03 AM EST

Of course, you have done extensive studies, looked at all the statistics, and decided what the safe speed limit is for that area, right?

Well.. sort of, but I'm not alone in my beliefs. According to WA state DOT, traffic engineers (not cops, BTW) should set speed limits at the rate that 85 of 100 drivers travel at. On that specific road, that would be around 80 MPH. Yes, that IS the safe speed limit for that area.

And of course, you are SURE you are an above average driver who doesn't really need those limits anyway, because you can drive well, right?

Putting words in my mouth. I drive at what I, and many others, consider a safe and reasonable speed. If speed limits were set to sane levels, I wouldn't have any reason to exceed them.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

WTF? (4.00 / 2) (#161)
by Bad Mojo on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:29:31 AM EST

"According to WA state DOT, traffic engineers (not cops, BTW) should set speed limits at the rate that 85 of 100 drivers travel at."

WTF? This has to be the dumbest idea I've heard in a while. Traffic safety by majority rules. The majority of people driving have NO CLUE how much risk they face at the speeds they drive. They don't realize how long it would take them to stop. They over-inflate their reaction times. They aren't good judges of a safe driving speed, period.

The WA state DOT needs some serious help if they think the speed limit should be determined by the people who drive on the roads and not by people who can make educated decisions about the risks involved with how people drive. Even a good driver can be 4 car lengths behind someone traveling at 90 mph and still rationalize that they can stop in time and not hit the car in front of them if it stops suddenly.

-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

Actually (4.50 / 2) (#175)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:43:00 AM EST

Actually, speed limits don't influence the speed that most drivers travel at. There is a lot of research supporting that, and I'm pretty sure it trumps your common sense argument. The idea that most people do not know what's best for them is a dangerous one, that leads to a lot of government hand-holding, regulation, and a loss of the sense of personal responsibility.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
A delightful argument! (4.00 / 1) (#188)
by Bad Mojo on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:01:13 AM EST

I'm all for haivng ZERO laws on the roads. That's right, NONE. Because then I'de at least feel that the morons who want to drive at 120mph can do it and quickly remove themselves from the gene pool.

But, roads are not the frontier of freedom you make them out to be. Every accident that occurs on a government owned road is a burden to society as a whole. Roads are a shared resource, and no matter how much freedom you want to use them, you have to play nice or not play at all. That means consenting to rules and regulations that benefit everyone at a penalization to your own freedom. That's the general premise of SOCIETY. If everyone drove the speed limit and obeyed the traffic laws in majority, what would happen? The fact is, no one knows. All we can tell is that raising speed limits and changing laws to suit people's current driving habits does NOTHING except eleminate some overhead.  Wow, less tickets written, how does that help society deal with its high automobile accident rate? I can see that you clearly just want more freedom at the expense of safety for others. Next you'll be wanting to shoot a gun at people in public as long as you don't actually hit them. Sounds like a plan for freedom!

The ultimate point is that your attitude about driving is what is killing people, not which laws your break. The concept that the road is yours and you should be able to do what you want is the very same attitude that causes accidents daily and gets people killed. Maybe if you, and others like you, would relax, just do the speed limit and FUCKING RELAX, you'de get where you're going safely, sans tickets, and everyone would be happier.

Hell, I even wonder if you would have written all this out had you not gotten a ticket. Being in court and wrestling the man out of his `blood money' must have really helped to get your moral high ground cod-piece on.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

I fully agree, but... (4.00 / 1) (#243)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:54:49 AM EST

That means consenting to rules and regulations that benefit everyone at a penalization to your own freedom.
Does that mean I don't have to consent to rules and regulations that do not benefit anyone?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

*shrug* (4.00 / 1) (#307)
by Bad Mojo on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:11:51 PM EST

Well, there's two ways to get a law off the books that's unfair or not being used anymore. 1) Get it repealed and/or ammended. 2) Have a judge find you innocent when you violate it.

I think that in this case, it's going to be really hard to prove that a speed limit doesn't make a difference. Why? Because no one follows them, so we'll never know if they work.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

Shooting guns (4.00 / 1) (#310)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:16:50 PM EST

Please don't jump to extremes.. I don't want to shoot guns at anyone in public. Now, if it's in the privacy of my own home that's another story :)

j/k

Chill out.. I'm reading comments on this article and it seems that most of the drivers who agree with me are presenting rational arguments. As opposed to those who disagree with me, many of whom are telling me I should be removed from the gene pool. I look at which group is angrier, and I think, "Now who's responsible for road rage? The calm, rational drivers, or the flame warriors telling me I should die for my driving habits?"

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Figures (none / 0) (#335)
by Bad Mojo on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:56:09 PM EST

When you don't have any real response, just drop back to the old `the angrier sounding man is the loser' argument.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]
If you're really concerned about safety... (none / 0) (#347)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:21:01 PM EST

Then there should be no individual cars.  All transportation above bicycles should be public transportation.  Or there should be governors placed in cars to not allow them to go over 55 mph...ever.

We force airbags in cars, which decapitate children and small adults... but we don't take the obvious step of making the roads "safer" by not allowing cars to do more than 55.

Why is *that*?!

[ Parent ]

then again, maybe not (none / 0) (#440)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:02:15 PM EST

Even a good driver can be 4 car lengths behind someone traveling at 90 mph and still rationalize that they can stop in time and not hit the car in front of them if it stops suddenly.

I'd argue that a tailgater is, by definition, a terrible driver and partly responsible for the impending downfall of western civilization.  After all, opinion can't trump physics, and brakes can only stop a car so fast.  Now a nifty widget that would cost hardly anything would be a laser rangefinder in the nose of the car, hooked up to an idiot light on the dashboard that lights up red if you have less than 2 seconds between yourself and the object in front of you.  I'd love to have said widget.

[ Parent ]

Funny. (none / 0) (#471)
by Count Zero on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:55:08 PM EST

The WA state DOT needs some serious help if they think the speed limit should be determined by the people who drive on the roads and not by people who can make educated decisions about the risks involved with how people drive.

You don't realize how funny this is. The fact is, those "who can made educated decisions about the risks involved with how people drive" (read: transportation engineers) *are* the ones that came up with the 85% rule. It's hardly just WA. I know both Indiana and Virginia have the same policy, here's something from the state of Arizona saying the same thing, and this is also they way speed limits were taught in tranporation engineering courses at Purdue University, which has one of the best Civil Engineering programs in the country.

Want more? How about this, from which I'll quote:

Lowering of the speed limit is often requested by citizens in an effort to slow traffic. Before and after studies have shown that there is no significant change in prevailing speeds when the speed limit is changed. Drivers will continue to travel at speeds they feel are safe and prudent despite the posted limit. The posting of the appropriate speed limit simplifies the job of law enforcement officers, since most of the traffic is voluntarily moving at the posted speed. Blatant speeders are easily spotted, safe drivers are not penalized, and patrol officers aren't asked to enforce unrealistic and arbitrary speed limits. [emphasis mine]

Unrealistic speed limits can also present a safety hazard. Some drivers will obey the lower posted speed limit while others will feel it's unreasonable and simply ignore it. This disrupts the uniform traffic flow and increases crash potential between the faster and the slower traffic. Traffic flowing at a uniform speed results in increased safety and fewer accidents. Drivers are less impatient, pass less often, and tailgate less, which reduces both head- on and rear-end collisions. [emphasis also mine]

The speed limit is normally set near the speed at which 85% of the surveyed vehicles do not exceed.

Hmm.. Looks like California agrees too. Most accidents occur when someone is passing. If you can encourage people to travel at around the same speed, you minimize passing, and minimize accidents as well. This is a well-known, established principle of setting speed limits in transporation engineering. Unfortunately, "safety nuts" (ironic, since by decreasing speed limits, they increase accidents) with a political following can result in politicians setting speed limits, not experts. I could continue citing forever if I wanted too.




[ Parent ]
UK speed cameras (4.40 / 5) (#60)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:50:30 AM EST

In the UK, speed cameras are springing up at an alarming rate.  They are usually set for "10 percent plus 2" - that is, 79mph for motorway with a 70mph limit, and so on.  They are basically there to make money.

They are supposed to be placed near accident black spots, and clearly signposted.  However, this is usually far from the case.  Until recently, they were painted grey and hidden behind signs and things.  There is one stretch of road with 26 cameras in 40 miles - and all the cameras are on the straight bits.  It's a fairly winding road, but it's one of the main roads between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, and it's often used as an alternative to the M1 motorway.  Of course, having cameras on the straight bits means that people try to overtake slow vehicles in more dangerous parts of the road.  You can tell where the cameras are by all the bits of debris beside the roads...

Speed limits need to be raised, to reduce pollution and traffic congestion.  I don't know what the speed limits are in the US, but in the UK motorways have a 70mph speed limit, "A" roads have a 60 limit, and built up areas have a 30 or 40mph limit.  The lower limits are fine - in fact, some places have introduced 20mph limits near schools and other accident-risk areas.  However, the 70mph speed limit, set in 1965, is now ridiculously outdated.  It was set when very few cars could go that fast, and even fewer cars could handle being driven safely at that speed.  Modern cars are faster and safer than even the best mid-sixties cars.  Normal road cars have tyres and brakes that were barely available for racing cars in the 1970's.  Even the small engines fitted to modern cars are more powerful and have cleaner emissions than 35 years ago.  Even relatively old cars are perfectly acceptable - my 1988 Volvo 340 1.7 sits happily at around 95mph, and behaves perfectly well at around 110mph although it's a bit noisy.  It's still 40mph over the limit though, and you could lose your licence or even end up in jail for going that fast.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


I agree with this post. (4.50 / 4) (#89)
by Herring on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:47:14 AM EST

I live just off a dual carriageway which has a 40 limit and cameras. The cameras are all placed on the long straights away from juntctions. My road is just over a rise and is not signposted. Unless you know it's there, you wouldn't see it until you were about 50 feet away. There is no camera on the stretch leading up to this so people regularly go past at 70-80mph. Just to make it even better, U turns are allowed in both directions as well as the right turn (remember we drive on the left here) into and out of the road. If you're trying to turn right into my road and somebody coming the other way is trying to U-turn, you cannot see (especially as it's normally some arsehole in an SUV who's been dropping their kids off at the private school down the road). Dangerous.

The council have been approached, but apparently since nobody's been killed yet (although there are lots of accidents), it's not a priority. I was tempted to nick a "no U-turns" sign from elsewhere and put it up, but that would probably just land me in trouble (BTW you can legally and safely U-turn at the traffic lights 200 yards further on).

Also, since why cameras up on a nice wide dual carriageway but not in residential areas where the (pedestrain) fatalities occur.

I think 90+ would be OK for an empty motorway, but 30 is far too fast for a residential road. I wouldn't do 20 down my road (kids playing etc.) but many people do 30+.


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
A *really* good one... (4.00 / 2) (#91)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:07:17 AM EST

... is just north of Glasgow on the A80.  Heading south, there's a 500 metre stretch of 30mph road, where there's houses close to a road.  It's just had cameras added.

So you've got a 70mph dual carriageway, then a 30mph limit (only recently well signposted), and a set of traffic lights...  In the past couple of months, a 100m long 50mph limit has been added.  It's fscking stupid.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Excellent (4.00 / 2) (#105)
by Herring on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:50:25 AM EST

It would be so tempting to cover up the 30 sign to see what happened. I would've thought that they'd run out of film quite quickly.

You can have fun with speed cameras though. I was being followed by a Lexus the other day who had no intention of doing 40. I stayed in the right hand lane, getting him up to 55-60 or so, then just pulled over and mashed the brake as he accelerated through the camera zone. He, he.

It's true though that the stats say that motorways are the safest roads. Why are all the cameras on the damn motorways then? If you're really bored, check out the M25 between junctions 10 and (about) 17. It's rare that you can get up over 70 there so they are fairly pointless. They also have the variable speed limit there which shows you a nice 50 when you're at zero mph.


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
... which is why I don't live in London (n/t) (none / 0) (#106)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:53:12 AM EST


Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
If only ... (5.00 / 2) (#110)
by Herring on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:05:55 AM EST

... I could get a decent paying job somewhere else (except Bracknell). I could sell my 3 bed semi and buy Derbyshire ... dreams ...

Sooner or later, someone has got to realise that there is no reason to have your company based in the South East. Give it 10 years and the M25 and all roads inside it will have stopped. No cars able to move at all. People will starve to death when their last Ginsters pasty is gone - lorries unable to get through to re-stock the garages.


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
Ah, Ginsters - food of the barely mobile... (4.75 / 4) (#117)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:36:03 AM EST

I usually stop at a petrol station about half-way through my frequent trips up north so I can fill the tanks at sensible prices, and grab some munchies.  The end result is you can often see me piloting an elderly Volvo at obscene speeds out of Fort William, up through the twisties towards Spean Bridge, juggling a cup of coffee, a fscking *red* *hot* Ginsters' Pepper Steak Pastie and a bag of fruit gums.

Nothing quite like hitting that sharp right-hander that tightens when you've just spilt boiling hot gravy on your crotch and burnt your mouth, then knocked the coffee over into the stereo...  If you're on the A82, and you see a silver Volvo 340 coming out of a bend sideways with the driver covered in food and swearing incoherently, wave!

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Woah (4.00 / 1) (#191)
by jonathan_ingram on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:13:07 AM EST

You have a 3-bed semi inside the M25? What's the valuation - £400,000 or so? I recently bought a perfectly adequate 3-bed end-of-terrace ex-council house in an acceptable part of Coventry for £60,000. I imagine in London that'd get me a time-share on a lock-up.

Sell your house, and move somewhere with semi-decent prices. You'll have at least 5 years before you have find another job, purely from the sale proceeds.
-- Jon
[ Parent ]

Don't think so. (4.00 / 1) (#198)
by Herring on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:17:36 AM EST

Bought 3 years ago for £170K. Property ads seem to indicate £240K now. Well, for the next couple of weeks anyway ....


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
Ah yes... (none / 0) (#574)
by katie on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:45:49 AM EST


I think I know the one you mean - I spent nine months commuting through that monstrosity, the terrifying thing is the way that most of the traffic DOESN'T SLOW DOWN.

It's all very well having a 30 limit, and me wanting to obey it, but there are some BIG trucks on that road, and if I'm trying to do 30 through the lights and they're trying to 60, nasty situations occur. Yes, they're the ones breaking the law, but being right is not a very effective painkiller if anything goes wrong, and more than once the whole road was closed by a truck vs something incident.

Eventually, after I got to know the area better, I took to using the back roads rather than go near that particular bit of road madness.

[ Parent ]

Up through Kirkintilloch? (none / 0) (#579)
by gordonjcp on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:55:06 AM EST

That's a nice bit of road.  Good twisty bits.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
70mph (none / 0) (#496)
by OAB on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:36:35 PM EST

However, the 70mph speed limit, set in 1965, is now ridiculously outdated. It was set when very few cars could go that fast, and even fewer cars could handle being driven safely at that speed.

However we are still stuck with the 1965 model human, who is fucking useless at more than about 20mph.

[ Parent ]
Again, you don't actually drive, do you? (n/t) (none / 0) (#529)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:00:43 PM EST


Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 0) (#611)
by OAB on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 01:47:31 PM EST

Been driving for (on the road) for over 18 years, and I do have the scars to prove it.

[ Parent ]
Well, you must be doing something wrong. (none / 0) (#626)
by gordonjcp on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:22:07 PM EST

Had your eyes and reaction times checked?

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Yep (none / 0) (#656)
by OAB on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:53:28 PM EST

Got the glasses for that.
By the way, just how old are you, you really do come across as about 17.....

[ Parent ]
28, clean licence for 11 years... (none / 0) (#657)
by gordonjcp on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:56:40 PM EST

However, I've been driving farm machinery since I was about 12.  I drive everything from mopeds up to 7.5 ton trucks, and buses.  

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
"Only" looking out for the revenue strea (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:01:14 AM EST

Why must we always focus on the bad cops, instead of the 65 percent of police officers who would never do anything like this?
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

Cops only enforce... (4.00 / 3) (#74)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:37:40 AM EST

It's not their fault, they're being told to do the speed traps.  The cop who pulled me over actually knocked the speed down so I could get into a lower ticket bracket because a> he was nice, and b> he probably knew I was only going with the flow of traffic.

The problem is the city governments and politicos who are only trying to line their own pockets and push ahead with their political agendas.

[ Parent ]

Nice cop? Nah. (4.50 / 2) (#87)
by Osty on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:44:02 AM EST

The cop who pulled me over actually knocked the speed down so I could get into a lower ticket bracket because a> he was nice, and b> he probably knew I was only going with the flow of traffic.

You're right, he was being nice by misquoting the speed you were driving (btw, bad idea on his part -- if you took the ticket to court and were agile enough (or hired a good enough lawyer) to catch him in a lie without admitting you were actually going faster, then you have leverage. but because he was nice, you're not going to fight the ticket in court, right? that's what he was thinking when he did that ...). However, wouldn't it have been nicer of him to ignore the people that are "speeding" but obviously going with traffic, maybe a few mph faster than traffic to pass somebody? Why not hold off and wait for those one or two people that are going much faster than speed of traffic? IMHO, that would deserve the description "nice", not knocking a couple mph off your clocked speed to keep you out of a higher ticket bracket (hey, he's still going to get money from the ticket, what does he care if you pay $75 or $100?).


--

NoPopIE, Internet Explorer popup killer (win2k/xp only, for now).


[ Parent ]
Well... yeah... (4.00 / 1) (#309)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:15:49 PM EST

But I'm just trying to find the good in people. ;>

If he was really nice, he would've given me a warning and told me to slow down.  But nooo he had to make his quota...

He didn't ask me to sign the ticket either...  I'm considering that too...

[ Parent ]

The Onion (5.00 / 2) (#86)
by driptray on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:43:09 AM EST

You should quote your sources.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Serendipity... (4.12 / 8) (#68)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:13:16 AM EST

Oddly enough I just got my first ticket in over 10 years a few days ago.  I was doing 70 in a 55 during rush hour on the main interstate artery of the city.  That sounds like alot unless you realize that I was going with the flow of traffic. (Average traffic speed is 75)  And had just moved into the passing lane to take an exit... As I was the only one in the lane, I got tagged by an officer underneath a bridge at the end of a curve.

What ticks me off is that, while I was over the limit, I wasn't "speeding", or going faster than the flow of traffic.  I wasn't passing the line of 5 cars to my right at all.

So I investigated fighting the ticket.  First off, there's 0 information on the web about what to do.  According to the county web site, I can pay the ticket in the mail, or I can pay the ticket at the court and plead guilty, or pay the ticket at the court and plead no contest, or I can contest the ticket.  If I contest the ticket, I will be issued a NEW court date and the county officers WILL show up.  The website also informs me that  it doesn't matter if the speed reported by the officer was wrong, they only need to show that I was going above the limit.  On top of THAT, they've just reworked the fine system.  Speeding 0-15 mph over the limit is a $25 fine, AND an $87 mandatory court fee!  But that's only for the night court.  If I contest the ticket I have to pay MORE court fees if I lose.

So what I want to know is why they even keep up the pretense of having a trial!?  And what defense can I possibly have?  I was driving WITH the flow of traffic, in a safe manner.  But that's not a legal defense because SPEEDING is anything over the posted limit.  So I'm going to get docked $100, get punished by my insurance company for being an "unsafe" driver, and I'll be forced to do 55 on this section of road and make myself a danger to the surrounding traffic which continues to drive at  65+ in the slow lane!

Fight the ticket (4.66 / 3) (#82)
by Osty on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:27:39 AM EST

So I investigated fighting the ticket. First off, there's 0 information on the web about what to do.

I stumbled across this site a month or so ago. It's relatively "old" (as in, it hasn't been updated in a year or two), but the information is still relevant minus a few of the links that no longer work. That said, I've personally found that, when dealing with traffic tickets (especially the ones where they get you going 20mph or more over the limit, even if you are going the speed of traffic, that tend to be more expensive), it pays to hire a layer. You'll generally pay anywhere from $200 to $700 or so (depending on the lawyer, and whether or not the lawyer has to travel to defend the ticket, and not so much on the severity of the ticket), and there's no guarantee they'll get you off, but the simple act of fighting the ticket generally makes courts uncomfortable. It costs them money to have to go through a court trial for a traffic ticket, and will often be willing to give up (there are plenty of other people out there that will just up and pay the fine, and they'd rather spend their time making pure profit). Sure, you're still out about the same amount of money had you not contested the ticket, but you're not going to have a ticket on your record anymore if you win, and if you lose a good lawyer can almost always talk the court down to a simple fine (no points), and in most states you can even specify that your fine be paid directly to a charity of your chosing, so you can F' the government out of that money even if they do find you guilty.

If everyone would fight their traffic tickets, then traffic tickets would no longer make money for the police and courts, and there would be less incentive for cops to give them out. Oh, yeah, sure, cops don't have quotas anymore, but ask a cop how their performance is reviewed. Unless they're a detective, or a special officer like a SWAT officer, chances are they get reviewed on the number of traffic tickets they write. More traffic tickets == better review (because they're being "productive"), better review == more likely to get a raise/bonus/promotion, more money == more incentive to write traffic tickets.


--

NoPopIE, Internet Explorer popup killer (win2k/xp only, for now).


[ Parent ]
Fighting Tickets... (4.33 / 3) (#107)
by ckm on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:02:55 AM EST

Try http://www.motorists.org

They have a kit ( https://secure.motorists.org/secure/ldk.asp ) you can order to fight tickets.  It has all kinds of docs that help you find technicalities to fight tickets.

Highly recommended.  Never used it myself, but several friends have.

Chris.

[ Parent ]

You are a commodity. (3.00 / 2) (#108)
by Shren on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:04:51 AM EST

Sold by the government to the insurance companies. Shut the fuck up and pay your ticket.

[ Parent ]

aint that the truth... (4.00 / 1) (#308)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:12:13 PM EST

I'm just pissed that I'm being told that my only defense can be that I wasn't speeding (doing 55 or lower), which is impossible to defend against... even if I had been doing 55.  Because the court says that any speed, even one mile over the limit, is still considered speeding, even if the officer's calculated wrong.  Because the officer can say that I was going faster than the flow of traffic.

So I say again, why bother with the court?

[ Parent ]

I was trying to make you angry, not apathetic. (none / 0) (#326)
by Shren on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:37:59 PM EST

After all, if I convince someone else to fight the man, then I've done my part.

[ Parent ]

It's working... (none / 0) (#338)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:03:59 PM EST

But you're/I'm fighting against 18 years of mandatory indoctrination of "right and wrong".

[ Parent ]
Speed kills . . . or does it (3.50 / 4) (#71)
by smallstepforman on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:28:56 AM EST

Here in Australia, we have a public awarness campaign called "Speed Kills". Hundreds of very graphic commercials show the effect of high speed collisions. The vivid imagery of people getting crushed by a tonne of speeding metal isn't pretty. These commercials are designed to 'shock' people into submission. Speed doesn't kill people . . . stopping does.

Or as a friend of mine said.. (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by henrik on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:09:03 AM EST

..it's the delta-v that hurts.

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]
Having fun in the sun (4.00 / 1) (#222)
by moosh on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:35:17 AM EST

The most ineffective of these adverts was the one of the little kids riding around on their training bikes. There was a song played in the background that went something like, "Having fun in the sun with my new dirt racer...", and so on. The child rides out onto the road and gets cleaned up by a car unexpectedly. Now I don't know about you, but my friends and I found this humerous. I even remember hearing people humming, whistling or singing the "dirt racer" song to themselves. It was a clever ad, but it was more of a "humour shock" than a "horror shock".

Oh yeah, the child in question was riding around on his dirt racer unsupervised out the front of his house. He decides to ride out across a road blindly (from behind a car IIRC) and without looking both ways first. Speed kills.

We had a similar incident here at around the time this advert was been shown. A young girl ran out blindly from behind a bus, across a main road of heavy traffic and was killed. There were traffic lights not 50 metres up the road from where she was that could have used to cross the road safely. So, guess what happens? This main road is now cut down from 2 lanes to 1 lane in either direction, and the speed limit is dropped. Speed kills.


[ Parent ]

OT: Australian Traffic Story (none / 0) (#391)
by Mzilikazi on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:56:13 PM EST

I don't have the link handy, but I heard that a city in Australia has decided to start painting road-killed koalas bright red and leaving them on the side of the road for a few days to help get the message across to watch out for the koalas. I don't know which job is worse... The guy that gets stuck having to paint and drag the dead koalas, or the guy that has to drag off the dead one after it's been sitting beside the road for a few days.

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

[ Parent ]

Speed Traps Do Good (3.83 / 6) (#73)
by ekips on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:37:13 AM EST

Photo radar is also not profitable if speed limits are set to a reasonable speed, that most drivers operate at. Units end up being placed in the most heavily traveled roads where limits are under-posted. They end up being counter-productive: given the choice, a community will continue to receive revenue from a machine rather than fix the actual problem, under-posting of speed limits.

They had a line of drivers pulled over, and were ticketing them one by one. It was like a slaughterhouse.

I live on a residential street; the speed limit along the street I live on is posted clearly at 25 miles per hour. There is a speed sign ever one to two blocks, with many of them having reflective orange flags on either side of them. In addition, we have several hand-crafted signs with catchy slogans (such as "Caesar would have decreed it -- 25 MPH"). However, despite all these initiatives, you wouldn't be able to tell I lived on a 25 MPH street just by looking at it. In fact, some people are convinced they're on the freeway, and take our formerly quiet street at a mind-boggling 60 MPH.

This used to be a quiet street, with dogs, and small children (the latter two we still posess; the calm is obviously gone). In addition to our rampant speeding problem, the drivers along my stretch of road also seem to have selective blindness -- that is, the stop signs leave their sight entirely. The stop signs are clearly posted, and visibility from the stop is also very clear. However, in an 8 month time-span there were three moderate (as in moderate damage to the car, no real injuries) accidents on my corner.

The cross-street I also happen to live on (I'm on a corner lot) is often used as a spot for police officers to set up their speed traps. And, I must say, I applaud them for being there. They may be irrelevant on other streets, but in a residential neighbourhood, on a residential street, I have absolutely no problem with seeing a row of cars being lined up, pulled over and ticketed en masse.

-----------------

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
I think... (4.33 / 3) (#77)
by Skywise on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:48:06 AM EST

He's referring to speed traps on highways.  No one should be doing 60 on a residential side street.

On the flip side, they just widened a main street out here to 4 lanes (2 on each side with ample shoulder space), and the speed limit is set at 30.   It's a north-south street.  One mile South has housing communities on either side and it's 45mph and one mile North there's housing communities on either side and it's 45 there too, but for 2 miles... without houses on either side, it's 30.

Now, where do you think the speed traps are at?
North, 45mph with houses?  South 45mph with houses?  Or at the 4 lane 30 mph 2 mile stretch?  (I got a warning at 3 in the morning for doing 38mph there just after leaving the 45 mph boundary because I was "driving like a bat out of hell".)

[ Parent ]

Those people would get tickets (4.00 / 2) (#80)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:07:08 AM EST

Under a sensible system, these speeders would be ticketed too. They are way above the 85th percentile. The 85% rule applies when there are no other special limiting factors, such as construction, school, or children playing, but even without the exception, these people would probably be way above 85%.

BTW, I have the same problem too, living at the edge of a town with a long-straight road going into it.

[ Parent ]

Not if you're living on a popular shortcut. (5.00 / 1) (#388)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:48:37 PM EST

If you happen to be inbetween two major highways, this can be a real problem. I do know people who've lived in that kind of environment, where most of the traffic in the area is (a) going much too fast and (b) is not local.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
RIght now I live in a spot (4.00 / 1) (#439)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:01:28 PM EST

Where the closest thing to a "major" east-west road is the two-lane country road that goes through the middle of Valley Forge national park. Speed limit is 35 mph all the way. Between the deer and the tourists that's a very generous limit - the road curves and you can't see people pulling out very far ahead, let alone the deer.

Heh. One day Mr. Ranger caught me "hunting deer without a license". I was doing 50 through the park right around sunset - which is when the deer are most active. He gave me the most polite reaming I've ever gotten - but cut me loose with just a warning, since I promised to be good. I've been trying hard to stick to the limit - but it's hard when I'm late for work.....)


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
limited application (none / 0) (#568)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:26:12 AM EST

Unfortunately, the 85% rule only applies if there are no other safety considerations, and you just named a few.

[ Parent ]
Speed bumps. (3.80 / 5) (#189)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:07:44 AM EST

I knew a neighborhood that installed impromptu speed bumps (apparently one of the neighbors had access to asphalt equipment).

The city would dig the bumps out, but the "mystery man" would put them back. Amazing how traffic slowed down.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
That or the town pothole committee (none / 0) (#459)
by rantweasel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:21:29 PM EST

The town my parents lived in was on the verge of starting a town pothole committee (picks and shovels paid for out of the town budget) when the state agreed to help with traffic calming measures.  Of course, the state's big addition was a set of rumble strips that actually gets people to speed up, so the pothole committee might still get some work...

[ Parent ]
Houston's (TX, USA) 55 mph limit (4.40 / 5) (#76)
by aechols on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:42:52 AM EST

Around May, the speed limits all around Houston and a few neighboring counties dropped the speed limit to 55. Nobody goes 55. It's rather unfortunate because even if you do try to go the speed limit, you nearly get run over. Same thing on low roads, even without a speed limit drop. Most people go around 45, and the limit's 35. It's always been that way, but that doesn't make a difference. Having a billion cars swerving around you if you try going the limit probably isn't much safer.

---
Are you pondering what I'm pondering?
Houston's new speed limit (none / 0) (#358)
by emad on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:58:27 PM EST

Houston's latest descrease of the speed limit to 55 is actually quite interesting.  It was done solely to decrease air pollution. What's interesting about this is that the traffic laws in Texas involve giving tickets for "unsafe" driving.  
Commonly, exceeding the posted speed limit is considered unsafe driving. But, since the city of Houston admits that, yeah 65 is a safe speed, but we need to decrease it to 55 for reasons other than safety, you could probably successfully argue that you doing 65 in that 55 zone that used to be 65 is not unsafe driving.

[ Parent ]
Other dangerous drivers (4.00 / 5) (#85)
by mtpa on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:33:40 AM EST

The thing that annoyes me most (at least here in Finnland) is when people drive too close behind you. This is sadly wery rearly controlled by the police. It's simply stupid and stressfull for evryone. Just a few weeks ago I was travelling with a friend who drove only a few meters behind the other cars, I can't uderstand this behaviour. If the one before you has to brake it is physically impossible to stop in time, making this a much bigger traffic safety problem than speeding currently is. It's allso more fuel consuming, since you must brake evrytime the front car slows eaven a little.

Maybe economical (4.00 / 1) (#119)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:45:14 AM EST

If you get real close to the car ahead, you could draft him, cutting the wind resistance for both of you and save gas. Not that I'd suggest doing this outside of a race setting.

[ Parent ]
Actually not (4.50 / 2) (#343)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:16:38 PM EST

If you get real close to the car ahead, you could draft him, cutting the wind resistance for both of you and save gas. Not that I'd suggest doing this outside of a race setting.

It works wonders for the rear car but the lead car actually has increased drag. This was from an Electronics Now article on "smart car" clusters from several years ago.



[ Parent ]
Must Research (none / 0) (#566)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:53:46 AM EST

I thought that drag for two combined was less than drag for two separate. If you're right, I'm betting the car behind disrupting the trailing airflow keep the front car from using it's aerodynamics properly, resulting in slightly increased drag for the front one. I wonder what the effect is for a line of cars such as in NASCAR races.

I'd like to read that article.

[ Parent ]

This is easy to prevent (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by YesNoCancel on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:25:25 AM EST

Just let your brake lights flash. This works wonders, especially at 240 km/h on a German highway on the left lane.

[ Parent ]
Another way, but NOT recommended (4.33 / 3) (#140)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:44:47 AM EST

Most camera flash units (the ones that mount on a hot shoe) have a test button. Charge it, point it to the rear, hit the button. Watch the tailgater back off.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Why bother... (4.66 / 3) (#185)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:58:27 AM EST

...touching the brakes when you have fog lights that work just as well...

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
You have foglights (4.00 / 1) (#202)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:19:57 AM EST

On the *back* of your car? Why?


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
It's the same all over the EU (4.00 / 1) (#219)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:34:03 AM EST

All cars are fitted with red fog lights in the back that allows your car to be seen in the fog.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Oh! (4.00 / 1) (#224)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:38:31 AM EST

Are they brighter than the regular "running lights"? (I.e., US cars typically have dual intensity red lights in the back - low brightness is normal running, bright for braking.)


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
Yes (4.00 / 1) (#250)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:01:25 AM EST

They actually are brighter than the braking lights.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
what happens when you brake? (none / 0) (#414)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:36:32 PM EST

Do the lights dim when you brake? Or are there multiple sets of lights?

[ Parent ]
Usually, different sets of lights (none / 0) (#442)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:04:45 PM EST

But the driver behind you doesn't care: s/he sees red lights getting brighter -- s/he brakes.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Might work but.... (4.50 / 2) (#236)
by mtpa on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:51:35 AM EST

I've seen this done once (not at 240km/h tough). The guy behind paniced hit the brakes, and nearly went off the road. And this only because of flashing the brake lights... This was probably more of an exception , but i dont want to be (partly) responsible for a accident or even an chain accident.

[ Parent ]
Accident? (none / 0) (#575)
by YesNoCancel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:15:08 AM EST

As long as I'm not involved in the ensuing accident, why should I care? I just let my brake lights flash; if someone panics and causes an accident, it's not my fault.

[ Parent ]
Dead Man Driving (4.33 / 6) (#88)
by chbm on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:45:15 AM EST

Increasing the time that a yellow light is displayed. When Fairfax County, Virginia increased yellow light time by 1.5 seconds at an intersection with a camera, violations were reduced by 96%.
Why are you defending rewarding stupid people with poor grasp of physics who shouldn't be driving in the first place ? Guess what, if you stuck the light at yellow even those 4% of idiots who are a km away, think "i can i can i can" and slam the gas won't get a ticket!
You always have residual honest mistakes and crimes , the snapshots catch those. Otherwise drivers should be able to judge the safe braking distance. Also note you fail to argue the timing is wrong for the allowed speed in that area, you just said extending yellow light lowers incidents.
The difference is that the officer has been trained to operate the radar gun, is able to use common sense, and is able to respond to more pressing violations than a speeder.
Yes it is, but it's not its job is it ? Are they really replacing human police with radars over there ?
Also note, there are a lot of funny stuff you can do with the radar data. You can ticket only the top 10% offenders, that gets a nice psychologic pressure on drivers to drive a bit slower than the other guy.
A 1995 Connecticut emphasis on roadblocks and enforcement was a success. There was a 33% increase in speeding tickets, a 51% increase in seat belt tickets, and a 22% increase in DWI arrests.
How exactly can preventing drunk people from driving be bad ?
I also noted your reference six is mostly dedicated on "how to handle being stoped by police as if they were going to rob you" and motorist.org has a whole section dedicated to fighting tickets. Pardon me if I don't take that 66% number without another source.
The triangle of law enforcement, insurance, and local government has convinced us that they are operating in the best interests of safety for too long.
While you go on about fighting the Man and going to court you totally neglect to ask yourself "why does my insurance company have access to my tickets". Isn't that a far greater violation of your constitutional rights than roadblocks ?

I am a motorist. I drive nearly everyday. Last time someone said "oh the poor guy died under a large truck running a stop sign like he did usually" I replied "oh so it all turned out for the best". That's the kind of evil person I am.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --

Answers (4.66 / 3) (#118)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:41:56 AM EST

Why are you defending rewarding stupid people with poor grasp of physics who shouldn't be driving in the first place ?

From the article about the changing distances

Historically, amber times have been set between three and six seconds, depending on a host of variables from the posted speed at an intersection to the grade of its approach. ... according to 1976 practices, an 80-foot-wide intersection with a 35 mph approach on a 2.6 percent downhill grade would warrant a five-second yellow light interval. ... But according to 1999 formulas, it is considered acceptable to allot the same intersection a 4 second interval. ... of drivers classified as "red light runners," 80 percent enter an intersection less than a second after a yellow signal has turned red.
Hmm, the interval has shortened 20%, quadrupling the number of violators regardless of speed. And about motives (what, you really thought the politicans cared for your safety rather than lining their coffers?):
In San Diego, where even the police chief was caught admitting that at many red-light-camera intersections, accidents have increased, ... found the city planting a red-light camera at an intersection where no accidents had occurred for years. But that didn't stop the camera from generating 2,000 citations per month, until engineers realized the yellow light was more than a second too short. When they increased it, the number of citations dropped to fewer than 300 per month. ... [about D.C.] cities are typically coached by contractors to place cameras at heavy-volume intersections (generating more tickets), statistics from the same office reveal a noticeable shortage of red-light cameras at the city's most dangerous intersections. [Charlotte]Lockheed Martin IMS had sought out intersections with high traffic volume, short yellow cycles, and downhill approaches ... didn't find was any evidence supporting officials' claims that their program ... was "about safety." Not a single one of the city's 19 cameras was operating at one of its highest-accident sites.
And we know the NHTSA shows that speeding is involved in sooo many accidents, right?
NHTSA, it should be noted, has endorsed automated traffic enforcement. And the data it collects have some inherent flaws, since the agency often lists several factors in an accident that, when pigeon-holed in a database, can skew some categories. For instance, if a motorist wrecks his car while drinking a tumbler-full of bourbon, making fondue, and driving 10 miles over the speed limit, that could very well get classified as a speed-related accident. ... Car and Driver has noted that according to NHTSA's data, only 3.1 percent of fatal crashes list speed as the only related factor.
And the last little bit, an appeal to authority:
Dr. Samuel Tignor, who just retired as the FHWA's technical director for safety and research development--found that "current speed limits are set too low to be accepted as reasonable by the vast majority of drivers. Only about 1 in 10 speed zones has better than 50 percent compliance. The posted speeds make technical violators out of motorists driving at reasonable and safe speeds."


[ Parent ]
More questions (4.00 / 1) (#272)
by chbm on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:21:53 AM EST

Hmm, the interval has shortened 20%
You fail to correlate that to the increase in cars performance. Without that data it's just a fallacy.
80 percent enter an intersection less than a second after a yellow signal has turned red.
Did those 80% reduce, maintain or increase speed after the light turning yellow ? Were they within braking distance when the light turned yellow ?

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
Getting off the point (4.00 / 1) (#284)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:36:26 AM EST

The point is the lights were shortened from the researched scientifically based model intended to have people stopping at red lights to keep the roads safe, to one meant to trap 80% more people with fines to the detriment of safety (more red-light runners in general reasonably suggests more accidents). Of course, to offset the danger of the early red light, cities can delay the green on the other side, but that would just be admitting they prefer to profit from drivers. If it was working fine, why change it? The only logical reason can be to increase traffic offenses to increase profit.

While the optimal time probably does include the car's braking abilities which mave gone up a bit, it's mainly dealing with the reaction and decision making speed of the drivers ("ohmygodshouldIstoporgo?!").

[ Parent ]

Performance? (none / 0) (#494)
by dachshund on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:28:26 PM EST

You fail to correlate that to the increase in cars performance. Without that data it's just a fallacy

I think it's fascinating that while local governments and insurance companies frequently fail to take performance improvements into account when setting speed limits and traffic offenses, you consider those same performance improvements as a possible justification for shortening yellow light times.

[ Parent ]

What I'd like to see (none / 0) (#346)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:18:59 PM EST

Why are you defending rewarding stupid people with poor grasp of physics who shouldn't be driving in the first place ? Guess what, if you stuck the light at yellow even those 4% of idiots who are a km away, think "i can i can i can" and slam the gas won't get a ticket!

what I'd like to see is "gunning yellow" cameras -- when the lights go yellow the lead cars in each lane are monitored for an increase in their speed. Speed goes up 25-50%, click.



[ Parent ]
interesting case (5.00 / 1) (#360)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:59:59 PM EST

"Gunning yellows" is a practice that is not always bad.  Often I will find myself close enough to an intersection that I won't be able to stop, but far enough away that I have to speed up to be sure to make it through before the light turns red.  

For example, there is an intersection between my home and my work that is so wide (10 lanes) that depending on your speed, you can enter on green and leave on red.  On my way back from lunch today I actually was in this situation, I was going about 25 as I went through the intersection (speed limit is 50, but even if I hadn't been previously stopped at the light, 50 is a ludicrous speed to go through that intersection).  

Now, someone who would have been able to stop but chooses to gun it instead deserves to get a ticket, but that's much harder to judge... you have to look at distance, speed, length of the light, stopping distances for that type of car, etc.

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Bad example (none / 0) (#507)
by tzanger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:02:46 PM EST

If the yellow is long enough there should never be a reason to exit an intersection with the light being red.

As for gunning it -- I don't think you should ever gun a yellow. If you don't have enough time to stop, you proceed normally, not speed up. Again, if the yellows are long enough this should not be a problem except in the rarest of cases.



[ Parent ]
true (none / 0) (#527)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:43:26 PM EST

But yellows aren't always long enough.  This one is 4 seconds, the minimum in my area, when it takes 5 seconds at 25mph to cross the intersection.  This means there is a whole second where you enter on green and exit on red.  You have to quickly speed up to about 35 to make sure you make it across in time.

Even at 50 mph (the speed limit) the stopping distance for the average car is 228 feet, which means any car closer than 228 to the intersection cannot stop.  However, travelling at 50mph, in the 4 seconds of yellow your car will only traverse 288 feet - which will barely get you halfway into the intersection.  Accelerating to 55mph quickly will get you through the intersection on yellow.

You are absolutely right that this situation should not exist, but there are places where it does and that's why people who know they cannot stop before the intersection will "gun it" on yellow.

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Sure fire solution !! (4.09 / 11) (#95)
by myyth on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:10:52 AM EST

I have this sure fire solution to "beating" all of those speed cameras, police with radars and highway patrol vehicles. Whenever I see a sign that says 50 kph I DRIVE AT 50 KPH !!! If it says 60, I drive a 60 ... and so on.

What a concept !!

In my late teens and early twenties I got my share of speeding tickets. I was also involved in a few minor accidents, some of which were clearly my fault (thank goodness no one was hurt). To all those who have posted whining complaints about speeding tickets and how they have fancy radar detectors to avoid getting caught I say this ... If you speed, eventually you'll get caught. If you drive recklessly, eventually you'll crash. You may think you're better, have faster reactions, can see more clearly, have better insight to traffic conditions than the next guy ... but guess what ... you don't.

I'm 38 now, and haven't had an accident or had any kind of traffic infringement for almost 15 years. My abilities, insight, reactions, etc didnt improve over that time ... I just woke up to myself and slowed down.

CaptainSuperboy complains about getting caught driving at 83mph in a 55mph zone. My question is why did feel the need to speed at all? Was there some medical emergency ? Some life or death situation ?? My guess is his decision to speed was not because of some urgent need to be somewhere at a certain time, but simply because its fun ... its more fun to drive a car at 83mph, than it is to drive at 55mph. My suggestion is this, next Captinsuperboy has a wish to participate in some high risk activity for his own personal pleasure he should try sky-diving or rock climbing - at least that way, when he makes a mistake, the only person he'll kill will be himself.

Awake helps (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:19:27 AM EST

but simply because its fun ... its more fun to drive a car at 83mph

It also helps keep you awake. After years of living in Germany, the idea of driving so slowly would bore the hell out of me. I used to be almost asleep at the wheel after an hour on a straight, empty desert interstate at 55. 80 on those roads is much safer, except for using half your attention to look out for cops. Now I could have done 80 without looking out for cops -- there's a safe idea.

[ Parent ]

Awake ?? (4.00 / 1) (#167)
by myyth on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:36:09 AM EST

Oh yes .. I can see how that works. Driving down a boring road that will put you to sleep is much safer at 80 mph than it is at 50 mph. I mean when you succumb to the boredom and have that 5 second micro sleep you travel about 50 yards (a guess) at 50mph but about 80 yards at 80mph .. hang on a minute ... whats the tree doing in the middle of the roa..........

[ Parent ]
Funny (3.00 / 1) (#233)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:48:10 AM EST

Not awake as in not tired, but awake as in not bored.

[ Parent ]
Response (4.50 / 2) (#121)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:48:46 AM EST

If you speed, eventually you'll get caught. If you drive recklessly, eventually you'll crash.

If you speed, you SHOULDN'T get caught. My goal is to raise awareness of the fact that speed limits are set far below safe and reasonable levels.

If you drive recklessly, well.. you're an idiot. Of course I don't advocate that.

My guess is his decision to speed was not because of some urgent need to be somewhere at a certain time, but simply because its fun

In a freedom-loving society, my INTENT for doing anything should not be a factor in its legality. On that specific highway, pretty much everyone drives 80-85 MPH. The 85th percentile rule, a well-known and trusted standard in traffic engineering, should be used to set the speed limit at around 80 MPH on that specific road.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

If you drive recklessly, well.. you're an idiot. (4.00 / 1) (#210)
by br284 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:27:51 AM EST

That sentence sums up why speed limits are what they are -- people are idiots. Now, in libertarian nirvana, everyone is enlightened, and the liberals and other types are in their respective nirvanas. However, in the real world, we're thrown in here with everyone -- idiots, libertarians, and every other type of person.

What does the speed limit do? It lessens the impact of the idiots when the inevitibly decide to do something stupid. A gullible idiot at 55 MPH is much less dangerous than a freedom-loving idiot going 85 MPH as a myyth has pointed out above.

Speed limits have nothing to do with limiting your freedom, but they do have much to do with protecting the rest of us from the inevitible accidents that idiots will be involved in.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

My belief (4.00 / 1) (#285)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:37:22 AM EST

My belief: Given the choice, most people will choose the responsible option. I trust people - why don't you? I refuse to believe that most people are idiots. More likely, they are products of a system that rewards conformity and punishes individual decision-making.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
People are idiots (5.00 / 1) (#332)
by br284 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:50:19 PM EST

Most people may choose the responsible option. However, those falling outside of the set of "most" will choose the irresponsible option. Those are the ones that I'm worried about. Those are the ones who may choose to go down a neighborhood road doing 50 MPH and hit a kid. Those are the ones who race down curved roads, oblivious to the people coming the other way. Those are the ones that I'm looking at. And given that there is not a test in place to weed out the responsible people from the irresponsible, I feel that driving 55 MPH or whatever the speed limit is a tradeoff I'm willing to make.

Do you think that your proposal encourages wise decision making? By eliminating a speed limit, you are implictly condoning that idiots are free to be idiots to the nth degree. If you think that the elimination of a speed limit will stop some idiot or new driver from going much faster than they can handle, and maybe killing someone -- you live in some sort of idealistic la-la land. Where I am, people will go faster and faster, and ultimately more people's saftey will suffer because of it.

You picked a bad issue to rail against if you're trying to make a point about individual decision making.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Freedom and responsibility (none / 0) (#366)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:06:25 PM EST

You may have misunderstood. I do not want to eliminate speed limits, I just want them to be set reasonably.

Those are the ones who may choose to go down a neighborhood road doing 50 MPH and hit a kid.

Most people drive 25 MPH down that residential street - so that's what the limit should be set at. Nowhere am I suggesting that reckless driving be allowed.

given that there is not a test in place to weed out the responsible people from the irresponsible

Perhaps I'm being a little too idealistic, but my goal is a society where everyone is assumed to be a responsible person, rather than a society where everyone is protected from themselves.

By eliminating a speed limit, you are implictly condoning that idiots are free to be idiots to the nth degree.

Well.. I never suggested we eliminate the speed limit. Anyway, research clearly shows that people don't obey the speed limit. It's not a deterrent to reckless driving, it's merely a way for cops to make money.

You picked a bad issue to rail against if you're trying to make a point about individual decision making

I'm trying to make a point about unfair and unrealistic laws. I don't choose my battles based on how easy the arguments are to make, and I try not to push a libertarian agenda TOO much. I feel this is a public policy issue that needs to be scrutinized and changed.


--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Reasonable? (none / 0) (#436)
by br284 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:59:54 PM EST

I guess my question is what and who constitutes "reasonable"? I guess I'm of the opinion that 55 MPH is a perfectly reasonable limit, so I don't have a problem with the status quo. Cyclists may think that something lower is "reasonable". I guess your article is trying to make the case that the status quo is not reasonable. I disagree.

If you're going to assume that everyone in society is a responsible person (dubious assumption at best), I guess the balance that must be struck is that the punishments for irresponsible must be high enough as to keep the borderline cases responsible. This may not be a bad thing in itself. (Personally, I think things like DUI/DWI should be punished much more severely than they are now.)

I guess the question I have now is that what do you do in a few years when 85 MPH speed limits are in place and another calls for "reasonable" limits of 125 MPH? Do you agree, or disagree is you are in a position to decide? If you agree, where does it stop and the limits start to become unreasonable?

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Answers (none / 0) (#495)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:35:09 PM EST

I guess your article is trying to make the case that the status quo is not reasonable. I disagree.

The status quo for speed limits is not reasonable.. however, the status quo for speeds that people actually drive IS reasonable, and should be the basis for most speed limits. The problem is artificially low speed limits for the purpose of revenue. On many roads, the majority of drivers are over the speed limit - because limits are set SO low. 55 MPH on 6 lane interstates, 45 MPH on 4 lane parkways.. 25 MPH in some sparse, non-residential suburbs.

If you're going to assume that everyone in society is a responsible person (dubious assumption at best), I guess the balance that must be struck is that the punishments for irresponsible must be high enough as to keep the borderline cases responsible.

Agree 100%. Your freedom ends when your irresponsibility affects my life, and the punishment should be swift and severe. You are free, however, to be irresponsible with your own life.

I guess the question I have now is that what do you do in a few years when 85 MPH speed limits are in place and another calls for "reasonable" limits of 125 MPH? Do you agree, or disagree is you are in a position to decide? If you agree, where does it stop and the limits start to become unreasonable?

I think it stops there, because I estimate the 85th percentile speed on most multilane highways is around 80-85 MPH. Of course, cars may continue to grow safer and more stable (as they have done in the past). We may feel a need to raise the speed limit even further, at that time.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Limit are okay, if they're reasonable (none / 0) (#468)
by wnight on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:50:03 PM EST

If speed limits reflected reasonable speeds they might be followed by more people. There'd also be less justification for speeding and less backlash to speed traps.

If you set an unreasonable limit people will break it and they'll start picking which laws they feel are worth obeying. This is where many young drivers start out, they see a limit in the city and nearly the same limit out of the city where the road is straight, doesn't merge with anything, and doesn't have pedestrians. It's not hard to see that one of those limits doesn't reflect true safety concerns.

Then, toss in a speed trap and don't mark it, conveniently in the straightest, flatest, easiest to drive piece of the road (the section most people will speed on). This is what leads people to believe that it's a cash grab.

And in the end, not everyone will obey even reasonable speed limits, but it's easier to catch the nuts when they're alone, the only ones going more than 10% over the limit.


[ Parent ]

100% True (none / 0) (#559)
by Katt on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:39:35 AM EST

That basically sums up the good driver's motto: "Everyone else on the road is an idiot. Beware of them at all times."

Oh sure, not everyone driving out there is an idiot... Occasionally I'll see one, but they're very scarce on Portland's I-5 freeway.

[ Parent ]

Re: Response (none / 0) (#466)
by jazman_777 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:43:36 PM EST

In a freedom-loving society, my INTENT for doing anything should not be a factor in its legality.

Killing someone in self defense. Murdering in cold blood. Difference? Intent...

Your vision leads to Zero-Tolerance zones for <whatever>. We've heard anecdotes about _those_ which chill the blood of all freedom lovers.

[ Parent ]

You're right (none / 0) (#497)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:36:49 PM EST

That's an example that hadn't crossed my mind, I'll have to give that one some thought.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
busybodies (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by Bill Godfrey on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:55:41 AM EST

CaptainSuperboy complains about getting caught driving at 83mph in a 55mph zone. My question is why did feel the need to speed at all?

Perhaps you should answer why he shouldn't?

[ Parent ]

Why not you ask ?? (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by myyth on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:11:14 AM EST

Sheesh ... why dont you ask me a hard one !?!

I could spend all night listing evidence as to why travelling at more than 25 mph over the speed limit is generally considered to be a bad idea - but, you dont have to take my word for it, why dont you have a look here at a page from the Australian academy of Science titled "The physics of speeding cars".

Just to save you the effort, I'll point out the highlights from their page ...

  1. Reaction Time : the faster you are going, the less time you have to react in an emergency.
  2. Braking distance : The braking distance is proportional to the square of the speed. The faster you go, the further you will go before you can stop - lots further ...
  3. Intertia : When it comes time to go around a corner, the car's inertia will try to keep it going in a straight line. The force applied to a car going around a corner increases at a rate which is the square of the speed. Drive too fast into a corner and you're likely to wind up wrapped around a tree (or worse running over a pedestrian).
  4. Impact : Hit something and the faster you are going, the more it will hurt either you, or the poor bastard you run over

Now, as I mentioned earlier, I believe people have every right to participate in high risk activities. If they want to jump out of aeroplanes or off the side of cliffs, or inject themselves with mind altering drugs, I say go for it - its their life they are risking. However, speeding involves everyone on the road who travels with you (and that includes all the people you pass going the other way). I dont think they should involve anyone else in their risk taking behaviour. We have speed limits because we beleive that travelling at a certain speed on a certain piece of road is an acceptable risk. How dare they take it upon themselves to increase the risk to everyone around them, just because they feel the need to go a little faster.

So, to answer your question, why shouldn't captainsuperboy travel more than 25 mph over the speed limit - because he is increasing the risk of a death and injury to everyone who has the misfortune to share the road with him. What's worse, he is likely doing this simply because its "fun" to drive fast ... I say he should go and buy himself playstation.

[ Parent ]

driving... (4.00 / 1) (#172)
by Bill Godfrey on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:39:54 AM EST

In the case of a road which is straight, deserted, no children playing on the road. So long as the driver is awake, alert, and generally not behaving like a moron, even 100 mph is fine.

The M45 and the M69 in the English midlands are like this.

For such a long straight deserted road, the physics you quote are less significant. You can see hazards from a distance and take steps as appropriate with time to spare.

Driving quicker get you to your destination earlier. If it's just as safe, why not?

[ Parent ]

Argument of Point (none / 0) (#368)
by virg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:07:19 PM EST

> For such a long straight deserted road, the physics you quote are less significant. You can see hazards from a distance and take steps as appropriate with time to spare. Driving quicker get you to your destination earlier. If it's just as safe, why not?

Indeed, but it's a tough sell to tell me it's just as safe. I've driven the stretch of 684 that he describes numerous times, and it's neither straight nor deserted, and the sight lines in some places are startlingly short (like right after the Saw Mill Parkway going south, before the rest area). At night it's possible to come up on a stopped car on the shoulder or a construction barrier and get inside your stopping distance (at 55 mph) before you can even see the object in your headlights (even with high beams, since most of the curves are blind at that speed). Add to that the fact that the road is often populated with deer, broken down cars, construction traffic and drunk drivers, and if he drives that stretch regularly at 83 mph he's lucky to be alive. This is the main problem I have with people who speed. I'm certain that he's absolutely sure he can control his vehicle at that speed, and having seen both the accidents themselves and the numbers on paper, I'm just as certain that a lot of dead people thought the same thing about that area. I'm all for raising speed limits where it's warranted, but too many people see badly-considered speed limits and assume that means that all speed limits can be ignored safely, and as this example illustrates, that's simply not the case.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
How long does it take? (4.00 / 1) (#142)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:54:31 AM EST

If you speed, eventually you'll get caught.
In 1992, I was living in Belgium and went to France every week-end. Left Brussels at 5 p.m., was in Paris 85 minutes later on average. Distance, door-to-door: 340 km. Average speed, including border stop: 225 km/h.

In 1995/1996, I was working in Germany, Heidelberg, and living in Paris. I drove to Germany on Monday morning, and back on Friday evening. Distance, door-to-door: 620 km. Average time over 18 months: 3 hours, 15 minutes. Average speed, including refuelling and border stop: 190 km/h.

July and August 2000: left the office in Paris every Friday at 6 p.m. and drove all the way to Stirling, Scotland. Arrived between 5 am and 5.30 am -- yeah, crossing the Channel is a bitch. I'll let you check the distance.

I never used a radar detector, and I haven't had a single speeding ticket in my 24 years of driving.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

How long does it take ?? (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by myyth on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:27:46 AM EST

Really ??

My brother (this is a true story) during the seventies had an old VW beatle (one of the ones with the "flickers" on the side instead of turning indicators). Anyway, he parked the car at the local shops and when he returned, he found it wouldnt start. He pushed it to get it rolling down a hill and jumped in. When he reached the bottom of the hill the police stopped him and gave him a ticket for speeding !! He was about 500 metres from home, total trip was less than 1 km.

He was obviously very very unlucky, and Im guessing you are very very very lucky.

[ Parent ]

Nah... just careful (4.00 / 1) (#176)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:43:12 AM EST

In France and in Belgium, you usually don't get stopped for speeding, and never at night: they get a photo (from the front) and send it to you. A bike in France and Belgium has only once license plate -- in the back. Helps a lot.

When going to Germany, I left on Monday morning at 4 a.m. I did not pass one single car in 18 months while in France. No traffic. No cops. No tickets.

In the UK... yeah, guess I was lucky :)

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

You don't? (3.33 / 3) (#96)
by LocalH on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:16:50 AM EST

How about, if you're going 5mph or less faster than the speed limit, which is tolerated in many places, and the light turns JUST RIGHT to where by the time your brain kicks in and says, 'Hey, it's yellow!', if you attempt to stop for the light you will slide right through it. I have been in this situation many times, where the light turns when I'm directly below it.

Velocity is amoral. (4.33 / 6) (#100)
by OzJuggler on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:31:55 AM EST

[I was going to post this as a reply to this comment, but I i figured the scope was wide enough that it could stand on its own.]

I also live in Australia.
Background for those not familiar with the .au situation:
The default speed limit in built-up areas (even if the road doesn't have speed limit signs) used to be 60 km/h prior to 1996. I had already learned to drive by this time. I think it was about `96 or `97 when the federal government made all the state governments lower the standard limit from 60 down to 50. For those who insist on the imperial system 50km/h is about 31 MPH. Other heavier roads still have limits that go up to 100 kmph in steps of ten. Ostensibly the reason for the reduction was for increased safety. About the same time, the Speed Kills campaign was launched to discourage speeding. They use several catchphrases such as "Speed Kills", "Speeding wrecks lives", and "Every K over is a killer". Also since that time the number of mobile speed camera units have been hugely increased, providing greater revenue for the police and instilling fear into formerly lax drivers. For the record, the cops claim that fatalities have decreased since the introduction of the lower limit and the ad campaigne.

Now, what do I think about all of this?

Emotional level: This whole affair really gets up my nose. I hate the very idea that a speed limit is legally binding, and the idea of reducing speed limits for any reason seems ludicrous. I hate people telling me what to do. I like to do things for the right reasons. I prefer to travel at my own pace depending on time constraints, local conditions, and capability of my car etc. I certainly don't what to hurt anyone.

Intellectual Level: I understand that there is a high correlation between speed and danger. I understand that with a contant reaction time, stopping distance is shorter at a lower speed. I did pass grade 6 math at primary school. Furthemore I know that literally speed does not kill, it's the collision that kills. These simple facts about speeding are irrefutable.

I reconcile these different viewpoints about speeding, with varying degrees of success, as follows.
I am not able to prevent myself feeling insulted every time a Speed Kills advertisement appears on the TV, or on a roadside billboard. The emotion wins on that one.
I was flashed and fined by a speed camera once in 1997 and I haven't been caught since, because the ordeal has instilled so much fear in me that I now regularly check my speed and try not to go too far over... in fact I travel right on the limit most of the time. This is basically an exercise in risk management, fuelled by fear. The intellect wins on this one.

Rant:
The speed cameras are seen as akin to random breath testing - both are promoted as proactive approaches to prevent accidents and punish people who drive dangerously. Where is the sense in punishing people who MIGHT do something wrong in the future? The cops do not have a precrime division! My car is not inherently a weapon.

Ultimately I would prefer to see speed limits be advisory only (non legally binding). Let people take responsibility for their actions. If you drive too fast and end up killing someone, the crime is murder and weapon is your car. If you drive faster than everyone else and no-one is worse off because of it, there should be no crime. No harm, no foul. Velocity is amoral.

What shits me is that millions of soldiers throughout history have given their lives to save their people from having to live in fear... and yet here we are supposed to lie back and spread `em while the government punishes us for doing something that itself cannot possibly be wrong... travelling faster than the posted limit. I travel the road fearing that a speed camera could be around the next turn...ready to catch anyone foolish enough to do 90 in an 80 zone even in a sparsely populated bushland area where the only houses belong to farmers with driveways 100m long. When speed cameras are set up in such locations (as it was in my incident), the money-making motive behind the cameras becomes obvious, and the nonsensical advertising campaigns become an insult to my intelligence.
I don't speed any more - but for all the wrong reasons.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.

But there is an attempted murder charge... (5.00 / 1) (#465)
by wnight on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:33:04 PM EST

We have charges for reckless endangerment and attempted murder for the cases where someone risks killing someone else yet through luck, doesn't.

We also have manslaughter charges for the other end, when you kill someone not entirely by random luck, and don't deserve one of the other charges.

I think you should be charged with reckless endangerment for shooting a gun in a public place (as you currently are, plus other firearm charges). I also think that you should be charged for driving in such a way that you are causing a dangerous situation (or would have been unable to avoid causing one had something happened, such as someone having been coming over a blind hill).

But, I don't think that speeding (above the posted limits) is always dangerous. In fact, as mentioned above, it's often safer.

So I'd support a combination of realistic speed limits and "unreasonable speed for the conditions" tickets. The fact that a highway curving through a city, with many onramps, has the same speed limit as it does out of town on a straight stretch, means that either it's unsafe in the city or unreasonable outside. This should be corrected.

As for the "unreasonable" tickets, they should be handed out by police officers (not machines) on a case-by-case basis if they feel someone is driving in a dangerous way. This shouldn't be limited to speed though, they should ticket tailgaters, unsafe lane changers, and so on.

Perhaps tickets could also start at $10 or so and double with each ticket in that class (speeding would be one class, tailgating/lane-changing another, etc) in every n years. If people took tickets to heart they'd only get small fines, but the repeat offenders would get fined more and more until they were unable to pay.


[ Parent ]

One nasty side effect of all those cameras .. (4.00 / 4) (#109)
by DeHans on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:04:52 AM EST

is that a lot of people are afraid to get a ticket, and so, to be safe, they drive some 10-20% below the speed limit.

I.s.o. getting a safer road, we now actually have a more dangerous road as the speed differences do *increase* because of the cameras. (Not to mention the idiotic passing maneuvres because of the turtles).

a look at Europe (4.64 / 14) (#114)
by Chakotay on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:22:23 AM EST

First of all let me say that I agree fully with the article. It explains very well the problems of traffic law inforcement in the US. In this posting, I would like to shed a light on the way these problems are tackled in Europe, notably in the Netherlands (where I lived all my life until about a year ago) and in France (where I live now).

In the Netherlands, the automatic radar detectors have gone through a whole evolution since their introduction. When they were introduced, they were used candidly, but soon the realisation came that the candid camera method didn't change much. People speeded, and continued speeding, then, a week later, when they got the ticket, they scowled, and simply continued speeding. This problem is obviously caused because there is no real way to prevent getting the ticket, and you only notice it many days after the fact.

And so the philosophy shifted. Most speed checks in the Netherlands are now announced. There are fixed ones, always in the same location, with signs well ahead indicating that an automated radar speed detector is coming up ahead. There are semi-fixed ones, involving planting boxes at regular intervals on a certain stretch of road, but at any one time only one or two of them contain the radar equipment. That method effectively reduces the average traffic speed over that whole stretch of road. And then there are the loose ones, mounted temporarily, whose positions usually announced by radio and TV during the morning traffic info.

Type one, the single fixed radar boxes, work very well. As an example, at one road leading into the city of Enschede, there are three signs 'radar speed check ahead', followed by a sign 'you're driving too fast' that lights up when you're driving too fast, followed, at some 200 yards, by the actual 'flasher' (the Dutch nickname for these devices is 'flitspaal' which means 'flash pole'). The result is that the 'flasher' is sitting there doing nothing most of the time since almost everybody has, by the time they reach it, already reduced their speed to the allowed 50 km/h. I mean, how can you miss four signs, of which one big flashy thingy? So it does not rake in much money, but it DOES greatly improve safety. Though there is only one 'flasher' at the point where the road enters the 50 km/h zone, there is hardly ever anybody speeding on the rest of that road either.

Most 'flashers' in the Netherlands are like that. Well announced, and clearly there not to rake in cash, but to reduce speeding and thus increase safety. 'Flashers' have become very common, and are still becoming more and more common. Around the town where my parents live three new fixed and announced 'flashers' have been installed in the time since I came to France, to improve safety on a few 80 km/h roads where speeding is extremely dangerous due to all sorts of curves, trees and channels in and around the road, and they do their work well, though obviously again, they do not rake in a lot of money.

Though hatred of those flash poles is general among Dutch drivers, most of them do see reason and realise that they're there for a very good reason. I too have only problems with unannounced invisible flashers, for all the reasons mentioned in the article.

Then, let us zap to France. Whereas on the Dutch roads, at least generally, law and order rules, the French roads seem plunged into anarchy. On most roads speeding checks are rare, so there is little or no regard for the speed limit. At a dangerours curve in the Netherlands, one would put a 'advised speed 50km/h' sign, and virtually everybody would take that curve at about that speed. To even approach such a result in France, you would need to place a sign 'speed limit 30km/h'. In general, the French drive like maniacs. Often at least one brake light or indicator is not functional, and I have even seen cars without any brake lights whatsoever - they would just come to a complete stop in front of you without a single flash of red. The only things that are pretty sacred are traffic lights, because burning a red is severely punished, and red light cams are pretty common, and zebra crossings. With all that anarchy, you would be really surprised how easily French drivers go out of their way to respect the priority of pedestrians even in situations where pedestrians don't actually have priority.

The general condition of traffic in France being sketched, it is clear that something must be done. And plans are being made to do something about it. And it looks like they're going to go about it pretty much the same way as in the US. Which is Not Good. They're even thinking of clocking a car's entry and exit from toll roads where you take a ticket when you enter, and pay when you exit. With the time and place of entry stamped on the ticket, it is pretty easy to spot a speeding violation at the exit, though this method (that is still only being discussed) is already ruffling a lot of feathers on a lot of people because it smells a little too much like Orwell's 1984...

Oh well, if the French gouvernment doesn't look at their neighbours and takes rash actions to try and reduce speeding etcetera, it wouldn't be the first time they repeated a mistake that the US had already made before...

P.S.: I didn't have the time to extensively work out this posting, as I post from work. Otherwise it would have been a lot better...

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

In Germany (4.33 / 3) (#131)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:11:36 AM EST

The city of Mannheim has several poles with camera boxes on top of them. However, they only have a few cameras they rotate around among them. You never know when a camera will be in that box. The effect: people keep to the 50kph city speed limit. It's not for revenues, or they'd have a camera in each box.

[ Parent ]
That's indeed a good system (4.00 / 1) (#135)
by Chakotay on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:37:37 AM EST

It's used in the Netherlands too, but usually on stretches of highway. For example, on a stretch of 20km there are ten of those boxes, of which only one at a time contains the radar equipment. And usually they flash you in the back, so radar detectors (which are, btw, illegal in NL - don't know about DE) are much less effective.

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]
Another thing: (4.00 / 1) (#260)
by MKalus on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:14:31 AM EST

The installed cameras have warning signs posted ahead of them as well, so if you are not sleeping at the wheel you know that you are coming up to a speed trap next.

-- Michael
[ Parent ]
German / Dutch Border (4.00 / 2) (#258)
by MKalus on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:13:02 AM EST

What I find very interresting though is that around 2 km behind the border the cops are usually standing and zapping people.

No wonder, the Autobahn on the german side doesn't have a speed limit, while the Dutch side has a 130km/h speed limit.

THAT is definetly a money making operation.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Slight correction (4.00 / 1) (#556)
by Chakotay on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:25:34 AM EST

The speed limit on the Dutch autosnelweg is 120km/h. But hey, who needs to drive fast in a country that's only about 200km wide? Even on the longest distance you can go, from Pieterburen in the far north to Sintpietersberg in the far south, a mere 480km, a higher speed limit wouldn't give you more than a few minutes of advantage...

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]
True enough (none / 0) (#619)
by MKalus on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 02:30:46 PM EST

I just found it funny, much more so when you went the other way and all of the sudden you saw the people gunning it once they were across the border.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]
You're all wrong! (4.37 / 8) (#115)
by Rainy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:32:18 AM EST

How does this explain the existence of the speed trap, though? The speed trap, entrenched in our driving culture and the daily lives of police officers, is a practice designed for one purpose: Catching people who are exceeding the speed limit. There is something wrong with this goal. Shouldn't the goal of highway police be to catch unsafe drivers, not speeders? At some point speeders have been equated with unsafe drivers, and we are all suffering for it.

Hm, this should be obvious: the faster you go, the more powerful will the accident be, if any. So, high speed vehicles are more dangerous in two ways: first, it's more likely to be in an accident because you have less time to react, and when accident does happen, it'll more likely be a fatal accident.

Homer said it best, I think: "Sure, we may save a few lives, but *MILLIONS* will be late!!

The IIHS will tell you that "Speed is a factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, killing an average of 1,000 Americans every month."1 If you didn't look carefully, you might think they were declaring a causal relationship between speed and fatal crashes - they're not.

What else could that mean? How can it be a factor without causing anything? Do you mean they imply it's a factor that decreases likelyhood of a fatal crash?

Incidentally, doesn't this statistic mean that 70 percent of fatal crashes don't involve speeding?

Yes it certainly does. I can't imagine what you're trying to say here, though. 30 percent of fatal incidents is insignificant to you?

Another thing I think you mention somewhere in the story but I can't find it: You say that red light cameras can't prevent an accident. They can prevent future ones! That's the whole damn point. You get caught and you says "oh it'd suck to be caught again.. I better not run red lights anymore!". IOW it's a preventive measure.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

Ban big cars (4.80 / 5) (#125)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:59:11 AM EST

the faster you go, the more powerful will the accident be, if any. So, high speed vehicles are more dangerous in two ways: first, it's more likely to be in an accident because you have less time to react, and when accident does happen, it'll more likely be a fatal accident.

First, I'll ignore the "reaction time" stuff. Do you increase your distance when you go from 10 to 50? Well, I do too in going from 50 to 90.

About severity, in other words, you want to ticket everyone faster than you. Okay, I propose to ticket SUVs and trucks. You see, you want to ticket based on the kinetic energy (=severity) in an accident. While it goes up logarithmically by speed, it still goes up linearly by mass. My car weighs-in at 1500lb. A 4,500lb SUV has 3x the kinetic energy at the same speed. This is the equivalent increase in kinetic energy as if he'd come close to doubling my speed.

So, if I'm going 50, I demand he only go about 30 (too lazy to get out the calculator and remember the physics equations) to lessen the dangerous contribution of his mass to the severity of accidents. Conversely, if he's going 50, I should be allowed to go 80 since we have the same kinetic energy.

You have to accept this idiotic proposal if you want to regulate speed limits by accident severity, since that's what I'm doing here.

[ Parent ]

Wow! (3.00 / 1) (#147)
by pattern on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:08:44 AM EST

Idiotic! It's brilliant! I hate SUVs on urban roads anyway.

[ Parent ]
re: big cars (5.00 / 1) (#149)
by Rainy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:14:44 AM EST

First, I'll ignore the "reaction time" stuff. Do you increase your distance when you go from 10 to 50? Well, I do too in going from 50 to 90.

You're not the lone driver on streets of america. You may increase the distance sufficiently, others may not; besides, it dont' matter if it's a head-on or side crash. Or losing control and crashing into a wall.

About severity, in other words, you want to ticket everyone faster than you.

No, if say I'm driving at 47, limit is 55, and you're driving at 53, I don't propose that you should be fined. When you go over the limit, then yeah.

A 4,500lb SUV has 3x the kinetic energy at the same speed. This is the equivalent increase in kinetic energy as if he'd come close to doubling my speed.

But we can't have them going slower than the rest of traffic. Unless you have a jumpy car and can jump over them. If not for this little hurdle ;-), your proposal has merit.

You have to accept this idiotic proposal if you want to regulate speed limits by accident severity, since that's what I'm doing here.

No, I don't have to accept it because I don't want to ticket based on kinetic energy. I want to ticket in a manner that is practical (i.e. that allows all cars to drive at the same speed), and at the same time lower likelihood and severity of accidents by lowering speed limit.

The real problem is that speed limit does not get enforced often enough. It ought to be like this: you drive around all day under speed limit, and at one point you go over it for one second, and you get nabbed reliably. Then everybody would just drive under speed limit because they'd have no other choice. Then we could talk about what the limit should be exactly. Right now if I understand right, the biggest problem is that you could be moving along with the traffic, and you have two wrong choices: slow down and cause and accident or speed and get a ticket.

I think automated robot lasers will do that in a matter of decades.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Reply (4.00 / 1) (#255)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:08:08 AM EST

You may increase the distance sufficiently, others may not; besides,

As soon as we inject driving ability and attentiveness, or performing other dangerous/stupid maneuvers, we're changing the argument. Speed doesn't necessarily equal unsafe driving (although it obviously is in various scenarios), and unsafe driving such as not keeping distance happens at any speed.

No, if say I'm driving at 47, limit is 55, and you're driving at 53, I don't propose that you should be fined. When you go over the limit, then yeah.

What if the limit is set artifically low at 55? What if everyone is driving at the 85% while you're still driving 55 and it's you who are the danger? (acutally, the government created the danger with the artificially low limit)

But we can't have them going slower than the rest of traffic.

In Germany, various types of large vehicles have maximum speed limits, and various types are prohibited from passing in many places. Still, I feel threatened by your bigger cars and demand we either make all cars small, or make the bigger ones slow down.

I want to ticket in a manner that is practical (i.e. that allows all cars to drive at the same speed), and at the same time lower likelihood and severity of accidents by lowering speed limit.

Well-meant, but contradictory. Having all cars close to the same speed is the basis of the 85% rule, and lowering the speed limit below that rule to what we have now in most places has resulted in an increase in accidents in tests.

think automated robot lasers will do that in a matter of decades.

I prefer to leave Big Brother out of this. "But it's for your own safety" has a very nasty and distrustful ring to it.

[ Parent ]

Reply to a reply (none / 0) (#552)
by Rainy on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 01:48:34 AM EST

As soon as we inject driving ability and attentiveness, or performing other dangerous/stupid maneuvers, we're changing the argument. Speed doesn't necessarily equal unsafe driving (although it obviously is in various scenarios), and unsafe driving such as not keeping distance happens at any speed.

Speed is much easier to judge accurately than safeness of relative speed/distance. I mean, ideally speaking, I agree with you, if each cop could perform this analysis accurately in his mind, yeah, but that's not the case. We are living in an imperfect world where we have to simplify for the sake of practicality, I'm sorry, maybe the kingdom of jesus or something will have more accurate traffic rules that'll suit you.

What if the limit is set artifically low at 55? What if everyone is driving at the 85% while you're still driving 55 and it's you who are the danger? (acutally, the government created the danger with the artificially low limit)

The car you're driving in is artificial, road is artificial, all traffic rules are artificial. If more than half drivers are driving over the limit, I'd rather see them all fined than the limit changed. What if more than half of population starts robbing stores and pissing on sidewalks? Should we change them rules or fine them?

In Germany, various types of large vehicles have maximum speed limits, and various types are prohibited from passing in many places. Still, I feel threatened by your bigger cars and demand we either make all cars small, or make the bigger ones slow down.

I don't quite understand how that system works; say you're driving at an autobanh and you're legally going at 85mph, and there's a big truck in front of you that's legally going at max of 55mph.. how could this possibly work? As for them being banned from some roads, yeah, same thing here in NY, but that's not the same as having different speed limits on the same road, ehh?

Well-meant, but contradictory. Having all cars close to the same speed is the basis of the 85% rule, and lowering the speed limit below that rule to what we have now in most places has resulted in an increase in accidents in tests.

That's cause not everybody gets nabbed. You have most people disobeying the limit and some obeying it, that leads to accidents. If everyone who disobeyed was fined *IMMEDIATELY*, everyone would start obeying and accidents would decrease.

I prefer to leave Big Brother out of this. "But it's for your own safety" has a very nasty and distrustful ring to it.

Doh, we really let the Big Brother thing apply *way* out of its original meaning. Let's recall: in 1984, you could be arrested and never seen again for something like your eye twitching. There were cameras in every appartment and you were watched all the time. Losungs read "War is Peace" and "Slavery is freedom".

Now, what's this got to do with full enforcement of traffic laws that can be changed by voting for a different guy for president? (or local gov't?)

As a guy who used to live in USSR, I find it highly amusing how people in the west will find the most innocent safety-spirited things to be the impending signs of Orwellian nightmare. You oughta all go to North Korea and see the real thing while you still can!
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

ad infinitum (none / 0) (#564)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:49:38 AM EST

I'm sorry, maybe the kingdom of jesus or something will have more accurate traffic rules that'll suit you.

Or Germany. While there are some minor irritants, Germany's traffic laws altogether have a general sense of "this is the safest way to get the people where they want to go in an efficient and orderly manner." While in the U.S., in general they feel like "these rules are purely political decisions, often designed to extract the most cash from drivers."

The car you're driving in is artificial, road is artificial, all traffic rules are artificial. If more than half drivers are driving over the limit, I'd rather see them all fined than the limit changed

That's an extreme answer. There are various human laws, various ways in which things "just are" due to human nature and the way we're built. For example, when you try to subvert the laws of economics, you always lose. The 85% rule is based on human nature, and trying to subvert it (limits below 85%) will always cause adverse results. It's not that I want to raise highway speed limits above what they should be, I only want to bring them back up to what they should be.

I don't quite understand how that system works; say you're driving at an autobanh and you're legally going at 85mph, and there's a big truck in front of you that's legally going at max of 55mph.. how could this possibly work?

For one, you are required to stay in the right lane unless passing. So the only time that truck will be in front of you is when passing. In congested or steep uphill areas they are not allowed to pass, therefore keeping the slow traffic out of the passing lanes. I drive it every day, and it works perfectly. After going back into their right lane after holding you up, many trucks even flash the left turn signal once as a "thank you for your patience." I don't think I've ever heard of anyone ramming a truck from behind. The biggest problem here is truck drivers falling asleep.

If everyone who disobeyed was fined *IMMEDIATELY*, everyone would start obeying and accidents would decrease

Or there would be open rebellion.

About Big Brother, we have a problem in that solutions such as yours are merely one more step towards the situation in the old USSR. Now they know where all our cars are because of these devices, now they will be used to track us, now the Gestappo^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Deparment of Homeland Security will start correlating the traffic data on all cars to see who's meeting whom. You have an Arab friend who has an acquaintance who's suspect? Be prepared to welcome the FBI at your door. You drive to a city at the same time there's a militia gathering? You're under watch now too. The Patriot Act and various established Presidential powers can easily put us in a situation where people "disappear." After all, the Japanese in California didn't have much recourse in WWII.

We already know the data from airline flights is being correlated with other data in the name of security, and your financial transactions are being correlated in the name of the War on Drugs. I'd hate to see what they do when they have the data for all the driving in the U.S. It is a fact that supposedly innocent Census data was used to round up the aforementioned Japanese.

[ Parent ]

reply (none / 0) (#676)
by Rainy on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 04:36:38 PM EST

That's an extreme answer. There are various human laws, various ways in which things "just are" due to human nature and the way we're built. For example, when you try to subvert the laws of economics, you always lose. The 85% rule is based on human nature, and trying to subvert it (limits below 85%) will always cause adverse results.

I think it's human nature to go faster than it is safe in this case, because many people are under pressure to get faster to work, or faster home, and accidents are rare; and who don't like a fast ride?

Any law is "subverting human nature". It is human nature to roam wild, just as we did in the days of yore. If you put any limit, on anything anywhere, you're subverting human nature. What we have here is collective human nature in quiet, paced, distant and cool consideration subverting individual unruly human nature in the heat of the moment. That's how any law works, pretty much.

Good point about different speed for trucks; does this not however raise the differential between speeds and thus make things more dangerous, as well?

About Big Brother, we have a problem in that solutions such as yours are merely one more step towards the situation in the old USSR. Now they know where all our cars are because of these devices, now they will be used to track us, now the Gestappo^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Deparment of Homeland Security will start correlating the traffic data on all cars to see who's meeting whom. You have an Arab friend who has an acquaintance who's suspect? Be prepared to welcome the FBI at your door. You drive to a city at the same time there's a militia gathering?

Any number of things can be seen as a "step" in that direction. Take small cameras.. people may use them to secure their residence, but also for surveillance of someone else - should we have made the law that forbids R&D in this field because these cams may be used by future supposed big brother gov't? And the computers? Most people now use AOL and instant messages and e-mail, this opens an opportunity for the gov't to quietly spy on people; so let's pass a law that forbids to use computers!

Same exact thing we got here: I say these tracking devices will likely save many lives; you say they *may* *someday* be abused, well where do you draw the line? There's a whole gazillion of things that are useful or helpful or lifesaving but they all *may* be abused, and I have a nagging suspicion you picked this precise thing to object to on big brother grounds because consciously or sub-, you merely don't like to get tickets for speeding.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

and onward (none / 0) (#682)
by Quila on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:02:40 AM EST

I think it's human nature to go faster than it is safe in this case, because many people are under pressure to get faster to work, or faster home, and accidents are rare; and who don't like a fast ride?

Very true. Even with the 85% rule, speeders will still get tickets and people driving recklessly will cause accidents. But statistically, there should be fewer.

What we have here is collective human nature in quiet, paced, distant and cool consideration subverting individual unruly human nature in the heat of the moment. That's how any law works, pretty much.

You are correct that there should always be considered limits, but those limits should take into account the safety of the people and human nature. Sometimes the law you pass is contrary to human nature and in the end does more harm than good.

For example, I have not seen one good case for the War on Drugs as a success, and many good cases for it as a failure. I haven't seen any good cases for communism being a success, but many showing it to be a failure. Both of those examples are laws and systems that operate contrary to human nature, and are therefore a failure. 85% sets speed limits with consideration for human nature in mind, and therefore produces better and safer results than "55".

Any number of things can be seen as a "step" in that direction.

But none of your examples. Those are the people using things. This would be the government mandating things. For email, people can use encryption, and on the other side, the government discouraging encryption, outlawing it, or requiring back doors could be seen as a step in that direction. Of course, they've already tried all that (Clipper chip anyone?)

I have a nagging suspicion you picked this precise thing to object to on big brother grounds because consciously or sub-, you merely don't like to get tickets for speeding.

I can't remember when I got my last speeding ticket. Definitely not in the last several years.

[ Parent ]

reply (none / 0) (#685)
by Rainy on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:08:12 AM EST

For example, I have not seen one good case for the War on Drugs as a success, and many good cases for it as a failure. I haven't seen any good cases for communism being a success, but many showing it to be a failure. Both of those examples are laws and systems that operate contrary to human nature, and are therefore a failure. 85% sets speed limits with consideration for human nature in mind, and therefore produces better and safer results than "55".

You do realize that there hasn't been a single country that built communism, right? USSR, Cuba and China *claimed* to be in the *process* of building such BUT 1. they were lying and 2. they never even *claimed* to have already built the thing. So, whether or not communism is contrary to human nature (I think not), it could fail no more than dragons fail to fly, being as it is non-existant and imaginary in nature.

I realize that you think 85% rule is better than 55 rule, even if it were stringently enforced. However, I still haven't seen any proof from you other than wishful thinking and idle musings on "human nature" (whatever that is). I could just as easily claim that human nature, having a limitation of a) slow reaction and b) powerful instinct for self-preservation is better helped by an even lower limit than your despised 55.

But none of your examples. Those are the people using things. This would be the government mandating things.

No, that's wide availability of cameras. I don't say "cameras being there is okay, but John B. Stupid using it in his backyard is a step to Big Brother scenario". No. You miss my point completely. I am saying that having these cams available and in mass production makes it easier for Big Brother scenario to set in. Anything that makes it easier is a step in such direction. In fact, tiny cameras are a *larger* step because if you have a bunch of speed detectors in all intersections, they can easily be tested by anybody for their capabilities; if you know how the things work, you can crack one up and see that it's by design only activated when someone speeds and *only* then it sends signal to central office. With tons of cameras available, you don't know where gov't may want to stick it. Let's say you get a job in postal office and cia has a cam installed in the ceiling, and you never know about it. There's your Big Brother potentiality and it's much harder to find out about it than street lights tracking you; and what enabled that? Oh, merely the availability of tiny cams. Not, as you say, "people using things". (which is a generic excuse if I ever saw one.)

For email, there's a very small percentage of people using encryption, and if you send an encrypted message without first ascertaining that the other guy knows how to decode, you're out of luck. What's more, if you do use encryption, gov't already has a strong suspicion you're hiding something, and it can up the surveillance. Contrast this with the Internet and email never being allowed to evolve: people'd be using phones and letters that are much much harder to keep track on in bulk. Big brother 0, The People 1. Down with the 'net!

I can't remember when I got my last speeding ticket. Definitely not in the last several years.

I guess then you don't like to do what it takes not to get 'em ;-).
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Science vs. Emotions (none / 0) (#687)
by Quila on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:38:45 AM EST

Mine's based on science (Google for about 1,400 more), by people with Ph.D.s in engineering specializing in traffic safety. Yours is based on your hunch and your personal driving habits. I think I know which one I will trust.

There's your Big Brother potentiality and it's much harder to find out about it than street lights tracking you; and what enabled that? Oh, merely the availability of tiny cams.

In other words, they're okay if they're not available. In which case, that means only the government (the Big Brother wannabe) has them. I see no effect of public availability on a trend towards Big Brother.

For email, there's a very small percentage of people using encryption,

The point was that you said get rid of email because the government can snoop. I said that wasn't a sign of BB, because it's just interpersonal communications with no government involvement. However, restrictions on email or its shielding from the government is a sign of BB. Let's not get rid of private technologies simply because the government can use them to establish BB -- just stop them from establishing it.

I guess then you don't like to do what it takes not to get 'em ;-).

Speed limits are, for the most part, set rationally where I live. I drive like I like to drive, and I don't get tickets. What a concept.

The only political speed limit attempts in Germany have been from the Greens who are doing it "for the environment." They've been largely unsuccessful. It looks like they will be completely out in the next electon, and that's good.

[ Parent ]

science application (none / 0) (#689)
by Rainy on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:44:44 PM EST

Science is great when you know how to apply it right. Garbage in, garbage out. You point to the paper that says it's dangerous to drive at a speed different from what others are using - and this is not science, this is merely common sense. If you thought for a bit before hitting reply you'd realize I never even dreamed of disputing that. What I am saying is that if everyone drives at the same speed and that same speed is say 25mph, things are safer than at 55mph. Duh. No need for Ph.D., even!

In other words, they're okay if they're not available. In which case, that means only the government (the Big Brother wannabe) has them. I see no effect of public availability on a trend towards Big Brother.

No, I obviously meant unavailability to both public AND gov't. THat's the whole point. You know, this should be pretty obvious. Did you think I'm arguing that if cameras weren't available to uncle joe, but only to CIA, we'd be farther from Big Brother government? I mean, does this make any sense to you? I'm just trying to figure out your thought processes and frankly, I'm confounded.. The best working theory I have so far is that you don't think before you type your replies, and I'd like to ask that you do - as a common courtesy.

The point was that you said get rid of email because the government can snoop. I said that wasn't a sign of BB, because it's just interpersonal communications with no government involvement. However, restrictions on email or its shielding from the government is a sign of BB. Let's not get rid of private technologies simply because the government can use them to establish BB -- just stop them from establishing it.

Let's not, indeed! Let us also not shy away from useful safety measures like auto speed measuring cams *merely* because gov't may abuse them; let us instead have these safety measure AND keep gov't from abusing them.

My point is that there are things in our society that are useful to us, but also carry a danger with them. As a general policy, we have two possibilities: either disallow these things on basis of danger they carry OR allow them, but make certain that they are not abused in a way that unleashes that potential danger.

All of these technologies, like cams, speed radars and email, are not bad in themselves but all have *POTENTIAL* for abuse. You argue that auto speed radars ought to be disallowed because of this potential, and I counter that your position is inconsistent - we should either disallow all of this because of potential for abuse OR (as I would prefer) allow all of them but watch out for signs of abuse and when such are detected, step in and punish those responsible.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

And back atcha (none / 0) (#691)
by Quila on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 05:11:26 AM EST

at the same speed and that same speed is say 25mph, things are safer than at 55mph.

... and if everyone rode bicycles as you do we'd all be safer. Welcome to China! Don't forget to have your family pay for the bullet if you speak out of line.

Traffic engineering is a balance between safety and efficiency. Your solution is extremely lopsided. I hate extremists; I prefer those who seek balance in things.

No, I obviously meant unavailability to both public AND gov't.

You're from Russia, so you should know that's not possible. Even if something is outlawed, it will be outlawed for public use and then be used exclusively by the government. Even Congress itself doesn't obey most of the laws it makes.

let us instead have these safety measure AND keep gov't from abusing them.

Here we agree in theory, although I've never seen a government getting a toy that it didn't use to its own ends. U.S. social security numbers were to be used only for that purpose. Now the government is cross-referencing them with tax rolls and many other things. They are essentially a national ID number to keep track of people. Nice, safe idea in the beginning though.

The Department of Homeland Security is where this power will now be concentrated in the U.S. It is probably harmless in its current form, but the potential for abuse is quite clear (one example is requests for blanket exemption from the FOIA). I believe you know of examples of its full potential: the Geheime Staatspolizei and the Second Chief Directorate of the KGB.

I don't mind the cameras where I am. The speed limits are set reasonably and I have no reason to go the speeds necessary to get hit by them. To do full-time monitoring with the amount of tickets that would be produced with your rediculously low speed limits, it'd have to be video instead of film or it would be cost prohibitive. Now we have video monitoring of public areas. Match that with character recognition of license plates and ta-da, we know where you've been driving.

And another thing I don't think you noticed is that most tickets are given on highways because that's where most of the speeders are -- despite the fact that those highways already have lower accident rates than the cities. If you truly want to reduce accidents, you put the cameras in the city where speeding is much more dangerous, although less common, and the 85% rule is usually overriden by other safety considerations anyway.

[ Parent ]

re: back at cha (none / 0) (#693)
by Rainy on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 10:50:19 AM EST

Yes, I give more weight to safety than to efficiency. But then again, I'm not sure, perhaps a slow bike ride is more efficient - you dont' get there as quickly but you can relax and think about what you're gonna do when you do; I often think about coding and graphic design Im' working on while cycling. If I were driving I'd have to pay all my attention to the road and other drivers.

So, sometimes we may *feel* like we're winning something or "saving" some time, but we really are not. We're losing time and we're losing our lives for the phantom of "efficiency".

If we all rode bikes, we'd be safer. We got what, 50k people diying in US alone in car crashes? Imagine that, every year there'd be 50 thousand people who didn't die! Even one life is a miracle, there you'd have 50 thousand miracles a year, wholesale. All only at the cost of efficiency.

You make a mistake here of linking China's bikes to their woeful state of personal freedom and poverty. There's no reason why a modern healthy western country can't use bikes for transport. Or slow mopeds, or something. In fact, Italy does use much higher proportion of mopeds compared to US.. I bet they have much less accident deaths because of that, and they'd have less still if they only had mopeds and no cars.

The truth is that western affluence is our curse as much as our blessing. Americans are nearly all overweight because there's an $2 burger waiting on every corner, and lowest salary is $7/hour. We have more than enough food to stuff ourselves with; we have enough money to buy it with; but our culture of food is trailing our other achievements and our culture of transportation is trailing our manufacturing proficiency.

Poorer countries avoid many curses of modern civilization simly as they can't afford them, as yet. That's hardly a reason for us to indulge in them! Ironically, that's reason enough for many people to buy something - I'm not sure I really need it but I can afford it, and the next guy in Pakistan or wherever can't, so I'll feel superior by getting it. Pure bullshit, of course.

It *is* possible to make things unavailable to both government and public. I don't see how me being from russia proves this untrue. There wasn't anything that was forbidden for government there, because gov't was monolithic; there wasn't anyone to punish it for having something it's not supposed to. In US you may have Legislature forbid say small cameras and research in this direction; then if say president or head of FBI authorizes such, he can be arrested, tried and jailed for breaking the law. Remember Nixon? Remember him losing presidency over survellance of democrat offices? Remember Ford? Remember him losing election because he pardoned Nixon?

Re: SSN. I haven't heard or seen them abused in BB fashion. Remember, you can still go and vote libertarian and they'd be done away with. You seen something like that while reading Orwell? Nope. Vote for / against big brother? Ha. Truth is, US people want illegal aliens to be kept in check. You can't have that unless you *all* submit to some enumeration of sorts, and that's a small sacrifice people decided they want to make.

They won't know where you're driving 'cause that would be prohibited by law. Cameras would be constructed in such manner as to only trigger video recording when limit is broken, so they'd only know where you are if you broke the limit.

Highways, cities, whatever, I don't want limit to be broken anywhere. You speed, you pay.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

If only (none / 0) (#696)
by Quila on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 11:40:50 AM EST

If I were driving I'd have to pay all my attention to the road and other drivers.

If only all car drivers thought that way, accidents would probably go down 99% right there.

If you want to talk numbers, say every person, every day (including the truck drivers) spends average one hour more on the road due to your 25mph limit. That's probably 70,000,000 people, 70,000,000 hours per day. That's close to 3,000,000 man-hours per year lost -- many, many lifetimes. That's time taken away from people's lives not because of some drunk, some guy going 80 in a 30, not because of someone not paying attention, but because someone decided the speed limit should be low. It's this same reasoning that I believe should put in jail for murder those officials who mandated airbags without checking their effect on children and small people.

Mopeds also produce a lot more pollution (pollution endangers health, lives). Italy doesn't work because most there drive like maniacs.

Agree on the food thing, but don't understand transportation trailing manufacturing efficiency.

For government abuse, think COINTELPRO. It doesn't matter, it will be used. And the direction we're going in shows it will be legal to use it -- our worries notwithstanding.

Read earlier about voting. You can vote Libertarian, or even socialist, but that doesn't matter. The election system has been rigged so that the government can let you have your paltry protest votes because they know that the Republicrats will be in power no matter what. It's nicer and than the Russian system, but you have the same effect. Voting for minority parties or independents only really counts on the local and sometimes state level.

Why did Ross Perot spend most of his money just trying to get on state ballots? Because state ballot laws are rigged to exclude third parties. Why didn't he get even one electoral vote despite getting about 20% of the popular vote? Because the winner-takes-all version of our electoral system made sure it wouldn't happen. Why did the latest campaign finance reform pass? Because it removed a traditional way for third parties to get funding, and put more restrictions on funding so that only large, established parties can raise money.

Nice idea for a camera system. It'll work for a while, until the government finds it has a use for always-on recording. The census was only supposed to be to proportion congressional representation, but in the end it got used to round up the Japanese Americans during WWII. There is ample, and frightening, precedence.

[ Parent ]

only if.. (none / 0) (#698)
by Rainy on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 01:03:31 AM EST

If you want to talk numbers, say every person, every day (including the truck drivers) spends average one hour more on the road due to your 25mph limit. That's probably 70,000,000 people, 70,000,000 hours per day. That's close to 3,000,000 man-hours per year lost -- many, many lifetimes. That's time taken away from people's lives

This time is not wasted. It's perhaps the best, most productive time of the day - when you're not pushing yourself to keep up with information flow, with work, with entertainment, with society. For many people, that's the closest they ever get to meditation. If you cut down on this time, it's a Pyrrhic victory - it feels satisfying and oh so efficient, but you're worse off in the end.

Thanks for the info on mopeds - I didn't know that. I even checked and you're right. I guess bikes ARE the best transportation, after all ;-).

Our *culture* of transportation is trailing our manufacturing efficiency, that is we can stamp out any number of metal boxes but we're using them with a caveman mentality - a caveman runs as fast as he can when he needs to catch his breakfast. He knows he can't crash into someone else and die or break his legs; he knows if it rans away there's no telling when he'll get another one - he may have to spend many days without breakfast or dinner or supper or even BRANCH!

It's time to stop and realize that we got food, cars drive really fast, a lot of people are overstressed, sick, tired and sleep-deprived and if 55mph is okay for healthy (in the primordial meaning) drivers, vast majority simply aren't.

I don't know what's cointelpro.

It does matter when you vote fringe. You don't get to actually get browne for president, but you put pressure on their respective "main" parties of your leaning; if you vote green, democrats look at the results and if many people voted green, they lean their platform to the left. If very few people voted green, they lean it to the right.

A lot of places here in US are cleaned up now. I've just seen a water turtle in the water of Hudson river, in Brooklyn - they weren't here just 15 years ago because of pollution. There was never a president out of Green party, BUT shit got cleaned up because both parties had to tap into environment-conscious voter block.

Fringe parties are a release valve; they notify main parties when large slices of population are dissatisfied with their platforms.

In USSR, shit would only get cleaned up if Premier's lawn would get puddles of toxic waste - and as that never happened, shit would NOT, ever, get cleaned up.

I lived on the North Dvina river there, right down from a paper plant (one of the most toxic plants there are..), and under USSR we all went to the river and there was a full beach, every summer. In the early nineties the word got out that the water is too polluted - it's not safe to swim innit. Ever since then, the beaches were empty.

If you think there's no difference between US and Cuba or North Korea, I say, go there and smell the damn difference. *Then* come back and say US got one party with two faces and it's the same as USSR.

Why did Ross Perot spend most of his money just trying to get on state ballots? Because state ballot laws are rigged to exclude third parties. Why didn't he get even one electoral vote despite getting about 20% of the popular vote? Because the winner-takes-all version of our electoral system made sure it wouldn't happen. Why did the latest campaign finance reform pass? Because it removed a traditional way for third parties to get funding, and put more restrictions on funding so that only large, established parties can raise money.

Electorate college isn't very good but ain't very bad, either. There were only two instances in US history when by a negligible margin, the guy with most popular votes lost. So, in theory, it sounds pretty bad, in practice - when people want someone to win, he'll win. Only 20% voted for Ross, and he lost. If 55% voted for him, he'd win. Even if 52% voted for him, he'd win.

Nice idea for a camera system. It'll work for a while, until the government finds it has a use for always-on recording. The census was only supposed to be to proportion congressional representation, but in the end it got used to round up the Japanese Americans during WWII. There is ample, and frightening, precedence.

Nice idea to use encryption to protect email. It won't work even for a while - most people don't have it and it only works when all people have it.

The thing with Jap. prisoners was that most citizens felt it was a wise decision to lock em up, just in case. This is not the case here. If government says "You know, we'd really like to change all these cameras to see where you drive for your groceries, when the fancy strikes us..", that just wouldn't work.

IOW, email takes us much closer to BB than these cams. And the only thing email wins us is convenience of communication - whereas cams will save lives. Cams 1, email 0.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Not in the car (none / 0) (#699)
by Quila on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 03:32:16 AM EST

I'd rather spend my meditation time on something that doesn't waste gas. And I'd prefer to concentrate on the road when driving. That reminds me, every car has a speed where it's at its best fuel efficiency, and that speed is far above 25mph in almost all cases. Your plan also would waste probably billions of gallons of gas per year and increase pollution.

Bikes are the best transportation for short distances. I used to ride quite a bit in Colorado. I would ride one to work if I could.

Good point about the party leaning (better known as "platform stealing"). The two parties stole most of Perots '92 platform for the '96 election. But while things may change slightly, real reform can't happen.

I never said The US is the same as the USSR, but I can see a lot of similarities in the power handling (politicians are politicians, no matter the country I guess), and I see a trend of our government picking up some bad habits from the old USSR.

COINTELPRO was the official government program of spying on civil rights activists in the '60s, such as Martin Luther King. Basically, they were classified as dangerous to the state by the government in the same way today's suspected terrorists or your former dissidents would be.

The electoral college point is not that he lost with 20%, it's that he didn't even get one vote. It is easily possible for a candidate to receive 55% of the popular vote and still lose the election. All you have to do is win states by a very large margin and barely lose in others. It's just like tennis. The easy fix is to remove the winner-takes-all policy, but doing that would allow a third party to come to official power, so that's never going to happen.

All people don't have to have encryption. Just the ones you write to.

The Japanese wasn't "most citizens" it was an executive order, which used a "don't worry, this is all we'll use it for" government program (actually constitutionally intended to do no more than that) to illegally lock up Americans. The government doesn't have to ask your permission to do these things.

And combining for efficiency:

because scientists are none the wiser as to what *WE*, people, want.

Yes they are. Most of 85% is based on what the people want, scientifically studied. If most people are driving above low-set limits, then obviously most people want the limits to be higher. Direct democracy, I love it. Don't forget that one reason for the low speed limits is purely corporate profit for the insurance companies, and the politicians listen to their greed by way of campaign contributions. The scientists don't have these special interests to listen to. The insurance industry gave over $41 million to politicians in the 2000 election cycle, ranking as the 6th most giving industry. But the people shouted their will loud enough, and the federal 55 restriction was removed.

BTW, safety pundits predicted "blood on the highways" if the 55 restriction were removed. They were not just wrong, they were completely out of the ballpark.

Murderers Party? Invalid comparison since murder is a crime, where lowering speed limits to their current level created crime where there was none before (those driving at previous levels are now speeding), and since the limits themselves caused deaths we can put the politicians in jail for murder.

Your perspective may change if your child was killed by an irresponsible bicyclist. My perspective would remain the same if my child were killed by an irresponsible driver (one driving above rationally-set limits). Nor would it change if she were killed by a driver doing 20.

I said I like solar to augment grid power, and that's what you were referring to. Replacing grid power with solar requires hundreds of square miles to achieve the efficiency of gas or nuclear.

The bird warnings don't work very well, as a large number are still killed. There's a greenpeace conundrum: a flight of endangered birds getting shredded by "environmentally friendly" energy production.

I don't like coal either, but gas burns very cleanly. Nuclear is great, pollution-free, except for that nasty problem of where to put the spent fuel. Well, unless you use your old Russian designs. Running a breeder as a commercial reactor -- what were you guys thinking?

[ Parent ]

re: not in a car (none / 0) (#700)
by Rainy on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 09:29:03 PM EST

We're not just talking about you, remember.. we're talking about laws that affect all. Leisurely lagging along at 25 is NOT a waste. In fact, if you have the right attitude, not one second of your life is wasted, whether you're stuck in an elevator or relaxing at a Hawaii resort.

If we did move to 25 limit, cars would have to change, of course. By the way cars could be made much cheaper because they wouldn't be made to be fast and as solidly welded.

Perot didn't get even one electorate vote, that's true.. But so what? Let's say he got 20% of electorate votes, what then? He'd still not be a president. There would be no difference, in the end. There were two instances in US history when most popular votes did not win the election; one was Gore's loss, but he only got something like 0.01% more votes. Or something. The other time was I think more than a century ago and the president felt he did not have mandate of the people and two parties made agreement that the president would not push his policy very hard, so it was kind of like a "weak victory". Anyway, the thing about the college is that it's illogical but it never caused any trouble. If there was ever a case when one candidate would have significant (even 2 percent) popular vote advantage and lost, I think it'd be changed. You say it's easy to lose even if you get 55% of votes, but that *never* happened in all of our history. It's not easy.

85% is based on what drivers want individually while driving. Traffic laws are based on what people as a whole want when voting, including not only drivers but cyclists, passengers, pedestrians and drivers. Someone may be in a hurry and break the limit but then regret it and consider it a wise thing to make a limit that's lower than the speed he may drive at when in a rush.

There's no scientific theory that will tell you what you want, based on your conflicting responses. Today you'll say one thing and tomorrow, another, and no Einstein will ever have a formula that says you're telling your mind today but not tomorrow.

I've seen blood on the highway.

Re - murderers party.. Murder was not a crime until it was outlawed. Duh. Breaking the limit was not a crime when there was none. Same exact thing.

Much fewer people are killed by cyclists.. In fact, I couldn't find any statistics online on that at all. You're probably more likely to fall down on your own accord and break your leg than be hit by a cyclist with the same result.

We do have hundreds of miles of surfaces that are already taken up by buildings and plants and what not. IF we used wind power where appropriate, solar power where it works best, and spend more R&D on both, and also use dams and such where they don't cause floods, we could almost entirely do away with "dirty" energy.

Re: birds in turbines, read this: http://www.windpower.dk/tour/env/birds.htm

I'm not saying wind plants are perfect, they're just better than coal, gas plants and nuclear plants. If we could cut down on electricity use, we wouldn't need them either.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

and around (none / 0) (#701)
by Quila on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 07:30:12 AM EST

25 is a waste. Right now I'd much rather be at home with my family than be spending almost two hours on the road. That would be almost 7 hours under your rule. It is wasted time when there is something else you'd rather be doing. Like you said, not everyone is you. I've researched public transportation, and it won't work unless I want to spend at least four hours a day commuting.

Unless we went all-electric (which is another debate), then no car will be very efficient at 25mph. There is too much energy loss in just running an engine in the first place, and it has to be offset by going faster. At 25mph, much of your gas would be going to the engine overhead, not going into your speed.

I don't care if my car goes only 1mph, I want it to be solidly welded. Or in my case, well-glued.

And you're missing the point on the electoral college. It is that despite the wishes of 20% of the populace, Perot got exactly 0% of the vote that acually counts due to the winner-takes-all system the parties have in place. This is saying to 1/5 of the voters, "Too bad, who you wanted for president doesn't matter."

If he'd gotten 20% of the electoral votes, then I wouldn't have a problem -- he made a good showing, got a good chunk of votes but not enough, and lost. But that didn't happen.

Traffic laws are based on what people as a whole want when voting

You missed the part about insurance companies and their campaign contributions, didn't you? It is only the people's voice screaming loudly enough that caused Congress to disobey its corporate donors and repeal the federal 55 limit. That shows you what the people want.

I'm sure you've seen blood on the road. I've seen it in this town when a bicyclist disobeyed traffic laws and cut in front of a car that was doing about 20mph. I don't think she lived. The sad thing is that the driver will probably end up getting prosecuted for her arrogance and stupidity, just because she was on a bicycle.

The point was that deaths did not go up after the repeal of the 55 as the Chicken Littles predicted. Speed itself doesn't kill.

Funny, your wind article specifically mentions the wind farm I used to live near, and from where I mainly know of the bird problem. And actually, gas is extremely clean and safe, and so is nuclear (if only we could figure out the waste problem).

I agree in principle with a lot of your ecological view, but I remain practical. Here's your challenge: come up with cost effective alternate energy for both grid and cars, so that the people will want to buy it over the current offerings. Personally, I want my elise redone based on this platform.

BTW, we forgot one excellent Depp movie: "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?".

[ Parent ]

round (none / 0) (#703)
by Rainy on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:21:41 PM EST

1. If we were all going 25, we'd have to live closer to work. I think it's a good tradeoff for safety. I like safety above all. I enjoy my life too much, and I do so irrespectively of my finances.

2. The thing about electorate college is that these people who voted for Perot wanted him to become president. They didn't want to get electorate votes. That was not their goal at all. They wanted him to sit in the White House and make decisions. If you came to them and said.. look, your guy didn't win. He'll just have to sit at his home and decide when to feed his cats. But... Good news.. you got some electorate votes! 20%!! You know what they'd tell you? That they don't care the least bit. They wanted him to win, and they wanted his platform enacted. Electorate vote that does not win is a puff of smoke, nothing more. Now if he got 60% votes and still lost, that'd be another case.

3. Okay, you want to protect the birds? Let's only have tidal and solar energy, then.

4. You want me to make cost effective energy? Shouldn't people who use it do that? I mean, let's say I ride a bike every day and I don't like that it's too noisy, so what do I do - do I figure out myself how to fix it or come to my non-cyclist friend and pester him for solution he does not care, nor should care, about!? If your lifestyle fucks the land and ties it down with fences, you fix it. I may chip in - when I have time and desire to do so.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

economics (none / 0) (#704)
by Quila on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:33:16 AM EST

1. There's no way I'd want to live near where I work, and nobody needs my work where I live. Also, economics is a factor.

2. You're still missing the point. With the current system, there is no chance at all for anyone outside the two parties to become president. It's not telling those people he didn't win, it's telling them that he never had a chance in the first place. Even without the electoral college, it's almost the same. There's a reason there's only one person in Congress elected as an independent, and it's not because the people love the two parties so much, because their ideas are so much greater.

But don't worry, after '92 the parties made sure a Perot couldn't happen again. There's a basic fact in American politics in that you have to be on the nationally televised debates in order to have any decent poll showing. Perot got on in '92, pulled 20% and made the Republicrats look bad. Determined not to let that happen again, the bipartisan commission (dems & reps) in charge of the debates changed the rules for '96 to make sure Perot couldn't get in.

So, this discussion is moot because between the debate rigging and the campaign finance laws, no other party has a chance to get a decent showing in the popular vote anymore anyway. A congressional seat or a governorship may be won once in a while, but those victories are fleeting and insignificant, and usually the parties move in to oust the intruder through law & regulations changes or through sheer resources.

3. I haven't studied tidal, so can't comment, but here's some solar facts:

  • Solar-power capacity is triple the cost of new gas plants
  • The cost of the electricity from it is far more than that of regular electricity, and only that low because of massive subsidies (pay it up front or pay it with your taxes). Remember socialism?
  • The huge amounts of energy and material to build one equals years of energy production at that plant, and in one example produced pollution equal to an entire year of running a large gas plant.
  • Bird deaths. Yep, they run into the heliostats
  • Many solars are actually gas/solar to overcome the intermittency problems
  • Despite tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, non-hydro renewable produces about 2% of America's energy needs at high cost. The now non-politically correct renewable hydro power produces 10% itself.
Then again, if everyone slapped some solar panels on their homes, grid consumption would go way down. I had friends who had photovoltaic to help with the electricity and thermal to supplant the gas boiler. Their energy bills weren't too high, and the stuff paid itself off in several years.

4. America runs on the capitalist system. If someone thinks they can make money on it and the people will buy it, then it works. Otherwise we pour billions down the hole for nothing (don't mess with the laws of economics).

If your lifestyle fucks the land and ties it down with fences, you fix it.

A solar plant needs about 300 times the land area as a gas plant. That's a lot of fences.

[ Parent ]

numers are good! (none / 0) (#705)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:37:25 PM EST

1. Put your cow before the tail. If everybody had to live nearer to place of work, that place'd be nicer.

2. There's no chance for anyone outside of two parties to become a president because a) people are on the whole too passive to do sufficient research to risk a 3rd party - they go home and watch tv and eat chips. They'll maybe take 1-2 hours per year to consider highs and lows of various parties. And things are good enough for them to keep at it. And you know what's a political way to make people care? There isn't one. Go and write a book or make speeches - or proselytize on sidewalks. You're not gonna argue america to care more than it does on k5.

b) Main parties keep adapting to changes. See my comment on green movement. People who say that US had the same two parties ruling it for centuries miss the fact that they changed so much - either platform is nothing like their platform used to be a hundred years ago.

He *DID* have a chance - if he got majority of votes. I don't see why he should have a chance of getting presidency with 20% of votes. It's like Yoda said - you either do or not do, there is no try. You get majority and win, or you get minority and lose, it's THAT simple. There's no "almost win". The people got the message that he didn't gather enough votes to win. You're reading some message in there that isn't there at all. People realize very well that though with 20 % he got no electorates, with 55% he'd get a bit over 50% electorates and would win just lovely.

3. Of course solar is more expensive - just as any tech that isn't widespread. Make it widespread and price will go down.

4. America has many non-capitalistic facets to its system. Most roads aren't tolled. I'm not paying for my streetlight out of my pocket. I'm not paying for my park. All these things work splendidly even though nobody is paying for them directly. We *do* pour billions of dollars on all these things and even though in your book that's "messing with laws of economics", all these things work wonderfully well.

Put solar cells on all the roofs. As I said, we need to cut down on some things, we have to use more tidal, use wind generators where and when possible (for instance during high wind when birds don't fly). Add all the small things together and you got something.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Socialism? (none / 0) (#706)
by Quila on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:48:12 AM EST

1. If everybody had to live nearer to place of work

So now you're going to tell me where I can and can't live? You are going to get a lot of resistance to turning the U.S. into your apparently beloved Soviet system.

2. They'll maybe take 1-2 hours per year to consider highs and lows of various parties.

You just gave the exact reason third parties were written out of the debates. The two parties know they are crucial vehicles for other parties to get in the public's eye for those 1-2 hours. You eliminate them from the debates, and you eliminate them from the election.

Perot never had a chance. And even if he'd gotten the super-majority of popular votes necessary to lock-down a majority of electoral votes, there's no guarantee the electors (members of the two parties) would actually vote for him. You can call that conspiracy theory, but the two parties will not lose power. They'll do things like change national debate rules and election and campaign finance laws to make sure of that. Be afraid when you hear the word "bipartisan."

"...They serve to Organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force--to put in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party; often a small but artful and enterprizing minority of the Community; ... Let me now take a more comprehensive view, & warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party, generally."
George Washington, Farewell Adress, 1796.
We should have listened to his warning.

And you won't believe the amount of money the two parties take from your tax dollars aside from regular government operation.

3. If I make 100 times the number of Mercedes S500s as are made now, they'll still be more expensive than a Ford Fiesta. Solar plants just take a lot of expensive materials to make, and don't produce much electricity from them on the other end.

4. Parks are something people want, and pay for through taxes and fees at reasonable prices. If they are told they get the same park, but will pay twice as many fees and higher taxes because it's using an environmentally-friendly aspect people don't even see, then you'll have a problem. We've seen the utilities problem. Just look at California's recent crisis when the government started messing with things.

But again we agree that widespread wind and solar use on a private scale is an excellent idea. It's quite popular where I come from. Whenever I build a house, it's going to be loaded with solar. Here's where the laws of economics help, because I'll see a return on investment in a few years -- not even counting the artifical tax incentives.

On the other hand, some things just don't scale well.

[ Parent ]

re: soc (none / 0) (#707)
by Rainy on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:30:29 AM EST

1. Your freedom to throw a punch.. etc. 55mph is dangerous for my life. I only tell you to lower it (through vote). If you want to commute for 7 hours, go ahead, if you want to live closer to work, okay, I'm not TELLING you what YOU should do.

2. Yes I call this not a conspiracy theory but lack of proof. When this happens, I'll believe you. So far majority is satisfied enough with 2 parties, that's the bottom line.

3. Yes, mercedes' are made on a manual construction line, afaik. Fiestas are stamped out by robots. So there you go, stamp out solar cells in higher bulks, and you see price going down. They're not made of gold or silver. They're not inherently more expensive than.. anything.

4. People *do* see environmental aspects. It's you who don't. That's why we spend a lot of money on environment and nobody complains (except for a few right wing nuts).
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

You are telling me (none / 0) (#708)
by Quila on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:28:16 AM EST

1. If you can ban 55, then I can ban your bike, or any other hobby for which I can find a tenuous connection to my health. It's all part of an inability to live peacefully with others who do not share your ideals. The Taliban had this problem.

Besides, you probably ride your bike in the city, and the limit's far lower than 55 there.

And you won't get it lowered through vote, because that's obviously not what the people want. Your only hope is to get into the Congress, the bureaucracy or into the wealthy insurance industry to try to change it against the peoples' will.

2. Maybe the majority is satisfied with two parties. But you must admit that those parties have put up insurmountable, unconstitutional barriers to competition should the voters become dissatisfied.

3. I believe they have about the same level of automation. They're just made of more expensive materials, and more of it, and have much more technology going into them. I'm sure the engine in an S600 costs about as much as a whole Fiesta, and one of those double-paned windows more than all of them in a Fiesta. From a tech point of view, these solar plants are a marvel too.

4. I normally don't complain about sensible environmental spending. Controlled burns, for example, could have saved us a lot of grief this summer if the environmental groups hadn't had them blocked.

Although there would be an uprising if you took away cheap, compact power and replaced it with land-hogging, extremely expensive power without letting the market do it.

General Motors now understands this. After years of blowing their and our money on electric cars that were inferior to the gas-powered ones, they're working on the fuel cell car I previously mentioned. They realize that they'll have to produce a truly better car than the gas alternative for the same or better price. And they're almost there -- I want one even with a couple problems not being fixed yet (range and fuel supply points, but those wouldn't affect me in what I want it for).

Without taking into account that you have to please the average consumer, your environmentally friendly solutions will be bought by only the environmentalists who can afford them. The net effect on the environment will thus be totally insignificant.

As I said, you have to find a solution the people want. Then they'll buy it. Then there will be a large-scale environmental advantage. Basically, instead of trying to create a police state, forcing people to the will of a minority, let the market do it and the people will follow. The market doesn't lie.

[ Parent ]

You're getting there. (none / 0) (#349)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:33:52 PM EST

Big vehicles are restricted.
Okay, I propose to ticket SUVs and trucks. You see, you want to ticket based on the kinetic energy (=severity) in an accident. While it goes up logarithmically by speed, it still goes up linearly by mass.
While SUVs are curiously categorized the same as Hyundai Ponies, other, larger vehicles are restricted in their roadways. Ever see a No Trucks sign?

Note the total absence of semi rigs on most downtown roads, as well. The reason for this is obvious. Semis kill people, and lots of them, when things go wrong. And yes, it's because they're rather heavy.

Also, semis and other heavy vehicles require special licensing on their drivers. You have to actually be trained.

Sigh. Now if we could only persuade people that Jeeps and their like should be categorized as light trucks, rather than heavy passenger vehicles, the roads would be made significantly safer.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

truck restrictions (4.00 / 2) (#394)
by denzo on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:58:59 PM EST

Actually, most truck restrictions aren't really related to the fact that 'trucks kills lots of people'. Many local streets are simply not designed for trucks, such as turning radius when turning from one street to another, or because the weight of a truck greater than 4 1/2 tons might deform the pavement (since it costs more money in certain cases to make pavement compact and rigid enough to sustain the weight of trucks).

There are only a few cases where the kinetic energy of trucks is a factor in regulating them, such as the 55mph speed limit in California, or where certain freeways (such as the MacArthur Freeway, a certain section of I-580, in the Bay Area) disallow trucks.

[ Parent ]

True also. (none / 0) (#419)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:43:00 PM EST

However, if you look at the streets which are designed for trucks, by and large they tend to be well away from residential areas. I submit that this is not only on purpose, but a good idea, simply because trucks are - let's face it - dangerous.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
Let's face it. (none / 0) (#451)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:13:09 PM EST

You need to actually bone up on some facts before throwing around statements like this.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
Actually, (none / 0) (#648)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:34:36 AM EST

6'6", 290lb people in a heavy crowd are dangerous to us shorter people. But I'm not about to put a ban on them, nor would I ban trucks except in places where it's obviously not safe for them to be.

[ Parent ]
Sure, mass is a factor (5.00 / 1) (#450)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:12:25 PM EST

But commercial trucks are involved in only 9% of fatal accidents and in 80% of those the accident is judged to be the fault of the other guy.

Remember - the guy who drives 8-10 hours a day might be a wired-up over-tired illegal immigrant; but he's much more likely to be a regular guy who gets a whole lot more practice driving than most people and (because of this) knows what to do in an emergency.

I can remember being in the cab of a pickup with my father (He drove a semi for a living, back in the day.) when the patron of a road side bar pulled out in front of us. In that split second I was astonished, watching him do all the things you were supposed to do in an accident - he downshifted while pumping the brakes, while *gently* moving the truck into the other lane.

When *I* get into an emergency like that my foot slams onto the brake peddle and even remembering that I should pump won't get me to unlock my kneecap....

My dad hauled gas for years, and my family's biggest fear was that some rollerskate would cut him off and he'd ending up grinding it under his wheels.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
That's because we treat trucks seriously. (5.00 / 2) (#456)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:18:07 PM EST

I'm not arguing that trucks are a problem. I think we've taken the correct approach to dealing with them. However.
commercial trucks are involved in only 9% of fatal accidents and in 80% of those the accident is judged to be the fault of the other guy.
Right. Now what do truckers all have in common, as opposed to what the other guys all have in common?

Simple. Truckers are better trained. Their driving tests are significantly more rigorous. It's hard to be a trucker. You have to be a damn good driver.

I think the real problem is that we have this idea that people have a right to drive. Driving is a horrifically dangerous pastime. From what I've been reading in the comments to this story, it sounds to me like the Germans have the right idea. Train your drivers.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

Now *there* I completely agree. (4.00 / 2) (#461)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:23:58 PM EST

We've built up our country on the idea of adulthood == driver's license. We definitely need higher standards for licensing and more training for drivers.


--
In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
- A. Lloyd -


[ Parent ]
Americans in Germany (4.00 / 1) (#646)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:27:05 AM EST

Americans with the military getting shipped to Germany are usually horrified at the difficult 100 question test they are required to take to drive over here. I remember the brain-dead Oklahoma test.

[ Parent ]
Get training (4.00 / 1) (#647)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:31:28 AM EST

When *I* get into an emergency like that my foot slams onto the brake peddle and even remembering that I should pump won't get me to unlock my kneecap....

I don't know if the AAA gives it there, but the ADAC (German auto club) gives car safety training to address just that. Under instruction, you are put into slam-on-the-brakes situations, and situations where you lose control of the car, such as on a slick wet surface, going around a cone, the instructor pulls up and locks your handbrake for a random amount of time.

In the last, I was able to recover the first two times he did it, but he had me do it yet again and kept the brake locked to teach me a lesson. There's no possibility of regaining control, but it was a fun ride.

[ Parent ]

I like your proposal (4.00 / 1) (#649)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:41:11 AM EST

Now if we could only persuade people that Jeeps and their like should be categorized as light trucks, rather than heavy passenger vehicles, the roads would be made significantly safer.

Good idea from the safety and training angle. And conversely, owners of ultra-fast cars should be required to get special training and licensing.

Around here there are already classes for vehicle weight/axel count licensing in commercial-sized trucks, and for engine size in motorcycles. Why not do the same for cars through SUVs?

"I'm sorry, you can't rent this 7,000lb SUV because you're only licensed for basic passenger car driving." and "I'm sorry, but your insurance won't pay for you totalling your Lamborghini, as you were not licensed for 'supercar class' vehicles."

If you can afford the vehicle, you sure as hell can afford the extra training and licensing.

[ Parent ]

Re: Ban big cars (4.00 / 1) (#392)
by jpmorgan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:56:34 PM EST

You mean quadratically by mass, not linearly by mass.

However to defend big cars, you aren't considering two things here. Modern cars and SUVs and trucks are designed to absorb energy in an impact. An SUV is capable of absorbing proportionaly more energy than a car.

Also there is the consideration of stopping distance. Larger vehicles don't lose stopping distance. In fact, large cars are very good in this respect over small cars: they tend to have better aerodynamics and consequently have shorter stopping distances (on pretty much any modern car the stopping distance is a primary factor of your car's aerodynamics, not its breaks).

Still, I like your proposal! Even better, let's ban SUVs! They make things more dangerous for car drivers due to their design, and also block sight lines for lower vehicles, again making things more dangerous.



[ Parent ]
Stopping (none / 0) (#645)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:24:24 AM EST

Also there is the consideration of stopping distance. Larger vehicles don't lose stopping distance.

You're losing me here. A 6,000lb SUV must convert four times as much kinetic energy into heat via the brakes than my 1,500lb car in order to bring it to a stop. Given that the discs on an SUV aren't much bigger than mine, they don't have much more ability to disspate heat, and definitely not four times the heat.

Then I'd say tire traction is important, but there are so many variables on that one, we shouldn't get into it. In any case, wouldn't the SUV have to have four times as much grabbing power on the road to stop in the same distance?

I don't see how aerodynamics plays much of a factor in stopping in street cars. Sure, the McLaren F1 opens an extra spoiler to put more downforce on the rear to better utilize the rear brakes (and aerobraking), but that's a rare design. You'd think that basic good aerodynamic design that creates downforce would help, but most cars -- and I'm sure especially SUVs -- produce lift. A very poor drag coefficient, as in poorer aerodynamics, would aid in slowing a car (aerobraking by design).

I was disappointed to find my car has a drag coefficient around .46, which is very bad, and would explain it being power-limited rather than rev limited at the top end. And might help explain the excellent braking.

I wouldn't ban SUVs, but I still don't like them. Besides, to me every car on the road blocks my sight lines.

[ Parent ]

logarithmic? (4.00 / 1) (#423)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:46:16 PM EST

There is no log in the formula for kinetic energy. KE increases like the square of velocity, i.e., quadratically. And calling scaling by a factor of 1.7(whatever) "close to doubling" is not very honest. It's 70-something% faster. That said, math aside, your argument is a good response to those who make the energy argument.

[ Parent ]
Mea culpa (none / 0) (#643)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:09:13 AM EST

Picked the wrong word to describe getting a curve vs. getting a straight line on the graph.

[ Parent ]
Already answered (4.50 / 2) (#126)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:07:38 AM EST

sorry, splitting responses.

What else could that mean? How can it be a factor without causing anything? Do you mean they imply it's a factor that decreases likelyhood of a fatal crash?

Look at my reply to #88. Only 3.1% of fatal accidents were solely caused by speed. The other 26.9% is subject to the innacuracies of the statistics. The way they are reported, if I'm bombed out of my mind on alcohol, Nyquil and pot, and trying to smoke, drink, shift and talk on the phone all at the same time, and I'm doing 5mph over the limit at the time I run off the road and kill myself, then speed was a factor in my accident.

Same applies if you're drunk sitting at a red light and a perfectly sober person rams you from behind: it was an alcohol-related accident.

[ Parent ]

But it's still a factor!! (4.50 / 2) (#144)
by Rainy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:02:16 AM EST

If you're driving dangerously, it's still better to do so at lower speed rather than higher. If you're stoned and you don't want to get caught, you'll drive at lower speed and will be less likely to get in an accident.

bed out of my mind on alcohol, Nyquil and pot, and trying to smoke, drink, shift and talk on the phone all at the same time, and I'm doing 5mph over the limit at the time I run off the road and kill myself, then speed was a factor in my accident.

Yes, and so it may be! This is statistics, folks, you may have accidents where a drunk, coked up driver was speeding 50 over limit while drag-racing and eating a hamburger but the crash was caused by a fly that got in his eye, and if it were not for that, he'd drive away happily. Statistics merely tell us that people who got in an accident under these circumstances likely caused it themselves by driving recklessly.

The use we derive from statistics does not depend on each case being clearly caused by statistically recorded events, but merely *most* cases being normal in this sense.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

"most" (3.00 / 1) (#239)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:52:47 AM EST

but merely *most* cases being normal in this sense.

I'll bet "most" are caused by inattentiveness or impaired ability, with speed rarely being a direct causal factor.

[ Parent ]

Your bet (none / 0) (#550)
by Rainy on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 12:58:06 AM EST

I'd rather not bet my life on your bet, sorry. On the other hand I would like to bet that most people would prefer a high chance of being late to work than even a very low chance of deathly accident.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
How about (none / 0) (#571)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:38:19 AM EST

How about just realizing that the politicians are lying to us as usual, and trust in those with no political motives, just a keen interest in traffic safety and efficiency: the traffic engineers.

Then people can be on time and alive. You saw the stats, didn't you? Lowering the limit from (traffic engineer suggested) 85% to the political limit results in increased accidents, and the converse is true too.

[ Parent ]

re: 85% (none / 0) (#673)
by Rainy on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 04:15:41 PM EST

Yes, lowering it from 85% increases accidents but that's cause enforcement is haphazard. What happens is that there's a lot of people who go way over the limit because they know they will not get fined most of the time. I agree with you that lowering the limit below 85% and not enforcing it persistently could perhaps make things worse. BUT my point is that if it was lowered AND enforced 100% of time, there'd be much less accidents, IMHO.

There isn't "people can be on time and alive". It's a sad fact that accidents will happen no matter what. But decreasing speed limit decreases their number and severity, if, as I said, it's persistently enforced.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

What's your limit? (none / 0) (#683)
by Quila on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:09:52 AM EST

But decreasing speed limit decreases their number and severity, if, as I said, it's persistently enforced.

So what's your proposed limit on the highways? We can save X lives by going 55, Y lives at 45 and Z lives at 35 (where X < Y < Z). Do you propose 35 on the interstates? There has to be a balance between efficiency and safety, which I believe is found in good science (85%) and not politics and personal feelings (55mph).

Why doesn't the Autobahn, with its higher and non-existant limits, have a consistently higher accident rate or death rate?

[ Parent ]

my limit (none / 0) (#684)
by Rainy on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:49:56 AM EST

I'd say 35 or maybe even 25. I don't know. This deserves some looking into, really. I think safety goes way before efficiency, but that's just me. I don't think 85% rule is good science, or *any* science for that matter; science is pifagor's theorem or relativity theory, 85% is just a number. Why 85? Why not 83? or 94? Or 72?

Autobahn perhaps has lower accident rate for any number of reasons, including germans being traditionally more obedient and orderly; USA's inconsistent enforcement of existing limits which leads to drastically differing actual speeds; something else altogether that I can't think of..
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Okay, you go 25 (none / 0) (#686)
by Quila on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:51:54 AM EST

Don't forget that 25mph on the interstate also increases the time of your exposure to danger on the road.

As for the science, I guess you think A2+B2=C2 is also some arbitrarily chosen ratio. The 85% rule is not exact, nor is it absolute, as it is dealing in part with human nature. But it is derived from scientific analysis of driver behavior and traffic systems -- by people probably smarter than the politicians setting the limits.

However, the rule does not apply when there are other circumstances, such as sharp curve, construction, school zone, etc. The percentage also varies, going up to 90-95% on controlled, relatively straight, quality highways such as Germany's Autobahnen or many U.S. highways.

The statistics showing increased traffic accidents due to political deviations from 85% show that 85% is right. Whether you think that is too fast or someone else thinks it's too slow, or you think there is not enough enforcement doesn't matter: 85% is based on studies of human nature just as are the laws of economics, and when you deviate from that you always lose.

The communists thought they could buck the laws of economics by political fiat, and they lost. The drug warriors think they can buck the laws of supply and demand, and they're losing. The political speed setters think they can buck the 85% rule, and people are dying.

Wait, you say 100% enforcement is necessary to make your ultra-low speed limits work? The USSR had very good enforcement to support their deviation from natural laws governing human interaction, but they still lost.

That the training in Germany may be better is not a case for lower speed limits in America, but better training. This would also help reduce non speed-related accidents. And Germany has very good enforcement of these higher speed limits (plus 19mph over the limit = automatically suspended license).

[ Parent ]

reply (none / 0) (#688)
by Rainy on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:27:56 PM EST

But it is derived from scientific analysis of driver behavior and traffic systems -- by people probably smarter than the politicians setting the limits.

That may be, but if I were to make a decision, I'd have to look at research itself and judge it directly, rather than theorize that scientist are supposed to be smarter than politicians and hence their findings carry more wight. IMO, a scientist may be as dumb as the next guy; he'd just be dumb in a very educated and convoluted way.

The statistics showing increased traffic accidents due to political deviations from 85% show that 85% is right. Whether you think that is too fast or someone else thinks it's too slow, or you think there is not enough enforcement doesn't matter: 85% is based on studies of human nature just as are the laws of economics, and when you deviate from that you always lose.

Look, this should be fairly obvious: right now you have many people speeding at one point or another, so when you suddenly push the limit down, you get some people who obey it and many others who do not, and that creates danger. I can't believe that you don't realize that if everybody was forced to obey the limit, the lower the limit, the less accidents you'd get. Do you have a mental block on this or something? :) How can you argue this!??

As far as tactics go, I'm inclined to agree with you - an unenforced, unrealistic limit could cause danger as it goes *lower*. All I'm arguing is that if it were enforced, it would *UNDENIABLY* makes things safer as it goes lower.

Wait, you say 100% enforcement is necessary to make your ultra-low speed limits work? The USSR had very good enforcement to support their deviation from natural laws governing human interaction, but they still lost.

Not 100%, I'd say something like 70% would do nicely. That is, if you speed for one minute, there's 70% chance that you're caught. If you speed for 5 minutes, you're almost certain to get caught. If you speed for half an hour, the universe is not old enough to allow you to escape unscathed ;p You get the idea.

As for the USSR, you appear to be grossly misinformed. "Shadow economy" was rampant, healthy and easily rivaled in size the official economy. Take it from me - I lived there.

That the training in Germany may be better is not a case for lower speed limits in America, but better training.

These are not mutually exclusive. I say, we need better drivers and we need them to go slowly.

As for your advice to go 25 - I already do. I ride a bike, and I don't have a car. I don't want one, either and if I had my way they'd be outlawed alltogether. Huge, stinky, ugly, loud beasts, if you ask me.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Think of that (none / 0) (#690)
by Quila on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:43:59 AM EST

theorize that scientist are supposed to be smarter than politicians and hence their findings carry more wight.

Keep that in mind when you fly in your next politician-designed airliner.

As for the USSR, you appear to be grossly misinformed. "Shadow economy" was rampant, healthy and easily rivaled in size the official economy. Take it from me - I lived there.

I know about the shadow economy; it's the only thing that kept the USSR going for so long. You even had an entire class of shadow-businessmen. That just shows that when political laws contradict natural laws, there will be lawlessness. The only way to remove this fabricated lawlessness is severe oppression of the people.

Just look at the state of that little nuisance to U.S. law enforcement (the 4th Amendment) now vs. before the War on Drugs. Just look at the entire criminal industry we created with Prohibition. Just look at the entire criminal speeding class we created when we reduced speed limits to lower than their natural setting.

As for your advice to go 25 - I already do. I ride a bike, and I don't have a car. I don't want one, either and if I had my way they'd be outlawed alltogether. Huge, stinky, ugly, loud beasts, if you ask me.

The truth comes out. You don't like them, so they have to go. The government didn't like alcohol, so it had to go -- damn the consequences. Here's what I don't like, and tough luck if you happen to like any of them because I want my way no matter the effect on the freedom or livelihood of others:

  • Bicycles: A danger to every pedestrian. I can't tell you how many times I've almost been run over on the sidewalk. I'm thinking of carrying a stick I can throw in the front spokes.
  • Mass solar, air and hydro power: Ecological disasters
  • Organic foods: A waste of farmland, reversing the advances that allowed us to escape Malthus' dire predictions of mass starvation
  • Wholly unamerican views such as these (you are in America).
Funny thing is that at least one of my pet peeves is based on science rather than just personal feelings with no basis in fact.

Funny, such differing views and we both thought Blow was Depp's best movie. Get the DVD and watch the extras, especially the interview with Jung. In it he basically says he was a bad parent because he did something that put his relationship with his family in danger, and he hopes that with this movie people considering doing things like he did will realize the potential loss and not do them.

[ Parent ]

re: think of that (none / 0) (#692)
by Rainy on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 10:17:38 AM EST

Keep that in mind when you fly in your next politician-designed airliner.

Politicians create laws as per will of the people; scientist do science; let each do their own job and not interfere with others' jobs. If I fly a plane, I want it to be built by a scientist, if I have a speed limit in my city, I want it to be set by a politician.

I know about the shadow economy; it's the only thing that kept the USSR going for so long. You even had an entire class of shadow-businessmen. That just shows that when political laws contradict natural laws, there will be lawlessness. The only way to remove this fabricated lawlessness is severe oppression of the people

The difference between that and our goats here is that if people freely buy and sell on free market, that does not endanger my life; if people break a speed limit, it does. Soviet government put up laws to control economy for its own gain and to detriment of the people; so there was a quiet economic war - high echelons of government pursuing their own purpose, and people at large pursuing their own. With speed limits, it's *people* who want these limits lowered. If it were not so, they'd vote for libertarians who would do away with limits alltogether. Or they'd write to republicans and democrats and say "whoever of you keeps the limits above 55, will have our votes". Did that happen? Nope, limits go down and representatives get happily elected. So, I guess your analogy with USSR breaks down. Sorry.

Okay, I'm sick of the pasting ordeal in windows, I'll just respond to the rest of your post sequentially.

Yeah, I don't like them, but I don't propose to abolish them just because I don't. My taste here is incidental; I'm merely pointing out that if majority wants limits to go down, as they seem to, that's just great.

It's funny how many more people die in car crashes than in bike crashes. Cars are much more dangerous to pedestrians, as well. And if you throw a stick in my spikes, I'll throw a brick on your windshield when you're doing 60mph and we'll see who's better off. (me!)

How are solar and air power make for eco disasters? Do back this up.

Organic foods (I'm a vegetarian): when you go up one step of food pyramid, you lose 9/10th of energy, roughly. The same amount of energy that feeds one person on a meat diet will roughly feed ten on vegetarian diet.

Unamerican views.. we got a democracy going here, for a long time. We don't like your nazi heritage, and we like our "to each his own" attitude.

Huh? Blow his best? No way, man. It was a good movie to be sure, but Cry-baby, Chocolat, Sleepy Hollow were all better and Fear & Loathing was at least more entertaining (if a bit rough at spots).

In the end, if you want your human nature back, you ought to go back to jungle, do hunting/gathering and lose even the faintest lingering memory of society. I think that'd be a good thing for you and perhaps for the rest of us, too.

If you stay here, though, you'll have to learn to control your freewheeling spirit when it is a danger to the rest of us - or you'll get speeding tickets and eventually your license will be suspended, and if you persist, they'll put you in jail and throw the key away. Not much free-wheeling when rotting in the dungeons, eh?
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

getting closer (none / 0) (#695)
by Quila on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 11:14:36 AM EST

If I fly a plane, I want it to be built by a scientist, if I have a speed limit in my city, I want it to be set by a politician.

How about I meet you half way, limits set by politicians on the advice of scientists. That's supposedly how we have all these other safety standards.

If it were not so, they'd vote for libertarians who would do away with limits alltogether.

Get real, we're talking about the U.S. government here. Since the vote of the people in this case doesn't really count except for deciding which face of the ruling party is in power, the people are voting with their gas pedals. The politicians should at least be able to see that.

I see you probably agree on hydro. Solar installations require massive amounts of land for their low efficiency (I do like it on the household level to augment grid power though). Ask the shredded birdies how nice wind energy is.

I wasn't talking veggie vs. meat eater, I was talking organic vs. commercial farming methods. Organic requires far more land per amount of crop grown. If you're a veggie, more power to you. Just don't get all superior (I'm not veggie, but eat very little meat).

Nazi heritage? Born and raised in CA & CO with no German in my blood. I just live here for now.

Cry-baby was special only because of John Waters. Chocolat OK, Sleepy Hollow too commercial. Fear & Loathing is competing for best, but it did have the unfair Hunter S. Thompson advantage.

About my free-wheeling, remember, I don't get tickets.

[ Parent ]

closer yet (none / 0) (#697)
by Rainy on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 12:30:05 AM EST

How about I meet you half way, limits set by politicians on the advice of scientists. That's supposedly how we have all these other safety standards.

Well, here we got a situation that is transparent and obvious enough without scientists. If we were talking, should we build a solar sail or an antimatter propulsion ship to go for AC, we'd ask science for advice. In our simple case here we know that slower speeds mean less danger, we know many people prefer to drive fast, we know haphazardly enforced limit is dangerous; the only question remains is that how much efficiency are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of safety? And that's the question we can only ask ourselves, because scientists are none the wiser as to what *WE*, people, want.

Get real, we're talking about the U.S. government here. Since the vote of the people in this case doesn't really count except for deciding which face of the ruling party is in power, the people are voting with their gas pedals. The politicians should at least be able to see that.

You could just as well say that since murderers don't have a party they could hope to get elected, they simply have to "vote with their triggers".

I wonder if your perspective would change if your SO or your child would die because of a speeding driver.

There's a saying in Russia "Dude won't say a prayer until he hears the thunder." Alas, oftentimes we hear the thunder only after the lightning strikes.

Solar installations require massive amounts of land for their low efficiency (I do like it on the household level to augment grid power though). Ask the shredded birdies how nice wind energy is.

You can put solar installations on roofs, plants, farms, etc. Wherever they cover land that is already in use. Birds can be scared away by using signals, loud noises. But when you pump out junk out of coal and nuclear plants, there's not much you can do about it.. other than sweep it under the carpet.

I wasn't talking veggie vs. meat eater, I was talking organic vs. commercial farming methods. Organic requires far more land per amount of crop grown.

Oh.. well, organic is healthier, though. The trouble here in US is that we eat more than we need, and we eat unhealthily, so organic food would take care of both problems.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Factors and statistics (4.00 / 2) (#155)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:22:10 AM EST

How can it be a factor without causing anything? Do you mean they imply it's a factor that decreases likelyhood of a fatal crash?

Who can say? One thing is, we always get into trouble when we mistake a correlation for a causal relationship. Could it be that it's not speed that causes accidents, but the disparity in speeds of different drivers? Another factor I didn't mention is that many of those 30% of accidents also involve drunk drivers. So, drunk driving could cause both speeding and recklessness - but being drunk, not driving fast, is one of the root causes of the accident.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

close calls (4.57 / 7) (#127)
by parasite on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:08:53 AM EST

I don't think anyone has addressed the issue of deaths, wrecks, and havoc from random hiding police. I say it is damn dangerous to come around a ben at 60+ mph, see a cop, freak that I MIGHT BE exceeding the speed limit and look down to make sure -- if it takes 1 second to look and focus my eyes on the speedometer, and another before they refocus on the road, then I have traveled over 176 feet in total blindness. So what if trafic is tight and there is a car right it front of me who is so scared of cops that he SLAMS on the break down to 45 mph or worse ? Well, I'll likely slam right into his ass. And don't bitch I'm following too close -- sometimes you have no choice in the matter. You leave too much space and someone will slip in the gap putting you into even more danger! sheesh It is scarry as hell I tell ya.

Cop induced Paranoia (5.00 / 2) (#350)
by Kintanon on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:35:57 PM EST

You mentioned:
So what if trafic is tight and there is a car right it front of me who is so scared of cops that he SLAMS on the break down to 45 mph or worse ? Well, I'll likely slam right into his ass.

I add:
Ever since a speeding incident in Virginia (we were obviously exceeding the speed limit by a LARGE margin, but it was 4am and the road was empty on the interstate, so eh, grey area to me) where the cop was VERY VERY nasty to my wife, threatened her with incarceration, told her she would probably spend no less than a month in jail for it, handcuffed her, etc... She almost had a nervous break down, for over a year afterwards she would swing through depression whenever she thought about the upcoming court cases for it, etc... She's now unable to drive if she sees a police officer, she panics, even if she isn't driving. Before this one incident she had a perfect record, never had a speeding ticket, a traffic ticket, anything. Belligerant police officers are a big problem. I've never liked cops, to me the only kind of person who would want to be a police officer is a bully. Someone who likes exterting authority over others enough that the risk is worth it. I just plain don't like 'em.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Petty Tyrants (none / 0) (#549)
by parasite on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 12:46:16 AM EST


Yeah I know exactly what you mean! "Petty Tyrant Syndrome" I call it -- mostly cops and elementary school teachers can be diagnosed with it. My mom always told me that all the kids who were little hoodlems back in highschool became the future police force of the city she grew up in. It isn't universal though -- as many as bad things as I've heard about cops being dicks, the only time I've EVER been pulled over was to be given directions! Seriously -- the cop noticed I was driving in circles with an out of state plate, and I told him I was just looking for a place (4am) to eat because I was starving. He only glanced at my license -- didn't ask for insurance nor ask the station if I was wanted for arrest. Then he told me the best place that was still open with good directions. (I was still way uncomfortable!) I guess the moral is -- individualism, don't freak out too much, each cop is an individual. If he was wretched -- complain, complain, complain. Perhaps even write a letter to the local paper saying he is a 'menace to the city'. As long as you don't lie, you're helping everyone.

[ Parent ]
I think the cops themselves are the problem (2.11 / 9) (#138)
by theboz on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:41:10 AM EST

They can choose to enforce the speed limit however they want to. They won't get in trouble for letting you go over the speed limit. However, the problem is that most cops are complete assholes. The parody of Eric Cartman on South Park isn't far from the truth; most police are in that job to boost their egos and exert control over people. A typical police view of your average citizen is that we are all either convicted criminals, or we haven't been caught yet. There are no innocents to them.

The police like to pull people over and draw their gun on you as a show of their machisimo. I've heard stories of cops pulling over elderly grandmothers and pulling their guns on them to show off. We all have seen videos where police in the U.S. use excessive force on a regular basis, and get into a rage and severely injure a person who has tried to cooperate with them. The police are some of the most mentally unstable members of our society; they're like teenagers who have been given guns, the ability to bully anyone they want, and a fast car that they can drive as fast as they want. It's no wonder that police are involved in a higher number of accidents than any other profession. These people really shouldn't be given deadly weapons. I'd much rather have a cop killed by a drug dealer they pulled than for a cop to pull over my grandmother and accidentally shoot her because he's in a roid rage. At the most they should carry tasers or pepper spray. The SWAT team should be the only ones allowed to carry firearms.

Stuff.

Odd (4.33 / 3) (#194)
by br284 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:15:03 AM EST

The people that I know eho are cops tend to be some of the most honest and stable people that I know. They are not in it for the ego, nor are they in it for the power. Many that I know do it because they feel that it's a rewarding career that does good for society.

Granted, not all cops are like this -- your videos and news stories attest to this. Howeverm I wonder if your opinion has been unduly influenced by all of the bad-cop stuff you see on TV and not seeing all of the good-cop that largely goes unreported. (Bad news is good press.)

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Not really (4.80 / 5) (#214)
by theboz on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:29:58 AM EST

My grandmother's brother was a sherriff, and he was a good guy. However, pretty much all of the other run-in's I've had with the police lead me to believe that they are fairly worthless human beings. If you wish, I'll give a few examples:

1) I had a car stolen. Basically, the cops don't give a shit about stuff like that. They don't look for it, they have no concerns over the fact that there are people who steal a car to drive for a few days then abandon it. The cops didn't even notify me when it was found, the insurance company found out and then they told me.

2) My dad had a car stolen many years ago. The cops found it down the street and one handed my dad the screwdriver where the end had been broken off and said, "is this yours?" Clearly, it was a tool for stealing cars, as even I knew as a dumb kid.

3) I have been pulled in Oklahoma for having out of state plates. The cop didn't tell me what I did wrong, he said it was just a courtesy stop. We all have stories of police pulling people over for simply being out of state.

4) A cop was sitting in his car in a supermarket parking lot doing nothing. I was lost so I went to ask him for directions, to which he told me to go buy a map. I think he was trying to take a nap. They are public servants, yet they are rude to everyone and refuse to help people.

I've heard even worse stories from other people, such as a black female friend of mine being pulled over in North Carolina while she had her two young children in the car, and the cop pulled a gun on her even though she did nothing wrong. A cop harassed a friend of mine who had the stereo stolen from his car. The cop kept asking him if he was stoned and if he really took it out himself to sell for drug money. The guy didn't even smoke cigarettes. There was a cop at my high school who was fired after it was discovered he was confiscating pot from students and selling it himself. I never had a run-in with him though.

Other than that, I've just seen too many bad drivers among the police force. They cause quite a few accidents and harass people. The fact that they have turned from a force to serve and protect the public to a group of thugs doesn't really lend credibility to them.

Ask yourself something. If you are driving along at the speed limit and a cop pulls up behind you and stays there, do you get nervous? If so, then that means that you must have a reason to distrust them as well. Think about it for a while. I do agree that some of them are good, but I believe the majority of police are punks who wanted to find a job where they could bully people just like they did in high school.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Its the law... (3.57 / 7) (#145)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:02:57 AM EST

I really don't see how being ticketed for speeding is unfair. I'm pretty sure that if you break the law, you must suffer the consequences. This is a pretty basic premiss. So, if its the law to go 55mph, then if you go over 55mph you are breaking the law, plain and simple. I'm not saying I agree with speed limits, cause I speed alot, but I'm not one to whine when my dumbass self gets pulled over for breaking the law. Awww pity me I broke the law, whine, whine, whine.

Speed limits can be changed. If you feel a speed limit is too slow, then just go to a local city council meeting with about 10-15 other residents, and voice your opinion. I've been part of community actions like this before, and as long as the uproar is large enough, the limits change.

As for roadblocks: if you aren't doing anything illegal, then why the worry? If you're buckled up and sober, then why fret? If you don't have 30 bazillion kilos of coke or you don't have your AK47's, then why would roadblocks bother you? Furthermore, you just give a percentage of increase (66%) instead of giving why roadblocks increased the accidents. Could it possibly be that more drivers are using the roads now? Did the limits on the road get changed? I can't figure out why a roadblock would cause accidents. Unless some drunk fuck decided to ram the line of cars. As for the constitutionality of roadblocks are concerned, I don't see where the 4th ammendment is broken. The fourth ammendment allows searches if there is probable cause and if the items to be searched are clearly defined. Its not unreasonable to stop a line of cars to find out if, amongst the drivers, there are a few people who qualify for a DWI. As for all the roadblocks I've been to (maybe a lil over a half-dozen, they're quite popular in the south), all thats been done is a "Son have you been drinking?" check and the ever popular "You aren't transporting any illegal substances?" question. <sarcasm>Damn those 4th ammendment breaking cops!!! Stop enforcing the law goddamnit!!!!</sarcasm>
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I think the real problem is your lack of acceptance of the law. If you doubt the legality of the law then fight this battle in court, not online.

--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
It's not really up to the local government (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by theboz on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:17:55 AM EST

Remember how the U.S. federal government tried to push censorware on library computers by threatening to withhold funding? Many things are done the same way, such as the drinking age, speed limits, etc. Many states have lowered their speed limits due to threats from D.C. You can lobby your local government all you want, and they may even agree with you, but they won't change the speed limit, or else their budget gets ruined.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

I've been part of 2 petitions to change... (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:27:05 AM EST

...speed limits in and around my town. Both times the limits were changed. They dropped a 45mph plantation road to 35mph, this was changed. Then they dropped the limit downtown to 25mph, this was raised back to 35mph within a week.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Libertarian (2.50 / 2) (#152)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:18:21 AM EST

if you aren't doing anything illegal, then why the worry?

Spoken like a true sheep. I'm a libertarian - it's in my nature to love my freedom. It's clear that you do not value freedom as much as I do.

I think the real problem is your lack of acceptance of the law. If you doubt the legality of the law then fight this battle in court, not online.

Is there something inherently wrong with educating people about a problem they may not be aware of? Should we not discuss AIDS, because it's a medical problem, not an online one? Should we not discuss the war in Afghanistan, because it's a military problem? Of course we should. These are important issues that deserve discussion.

If you don't have 30 bazillion kilos of coke or you don't have your AK47's, then why would roadblocks bother you?

Ah.. I said I'm a libertarian - according to me, both of these should be completely legal.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

So if I agree with a law, and... (3.00 / 1) (#156)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:25:21 AM EST

don't wish to fight it, then I'm a "sheep"? The reason why I don't vote liberatarian is people like you. I'd love to be a liberatarian, but well, there are too many people soiling the name of the party. I have my freedoms, and I enjoy them. When I feel my freedoms are being encroached, then I fight for them.

Traffic stops and speeding tickets are nowhere near as important as AIDs or the "war" in Afghanistan. This extreme comparison does nothing but make you look fanatical.

So cocain and ak's should be legal? Neither add any value to society, all they do is harm society, which is why they are illegal. If you are all for guns and drugs, then move to Columbia, where they share your fanatical views. Its people like you that give gun owners bad names. Most gun owners don't want AK's or SKS's or Bazookas. I'm happy with my Robar 900 and my Colt .45cal. There is hardly any justification for keeping an AK47 beyond anything other than as a collection item.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
You are not, and should not be a Libertarian (3.33 / 3) (#170)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:38:17 AM EST

You are not, and should not be a libertarian. What you're saying is, "I'd like to be a libertarian, except that I believe the purpose of government is to regulate morality and enforce its version of order."

The question of whether guns or drugs are a benefit to society doesn't even enter into my equation - I believe government has no business weighing 'benefit to society.' You say cocaine is harmful. Many would disagree with you.. does your version become canon for some reason? Do you have a god-given right to decide what freedoms are OK and what are illegal?

I called you a sheep, as I will call anyone who says "If you're not doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about." Even non-libertarians are bound to laugh when you pull that one out - read 1984 sometime, then come back and tell me why that's such a bad philosophy.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

He's right (3.00 / 1) (#178)
by Josh A on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:45:20 AM EST

Even the non-libertarians are laughing at you...

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Care to elaborate? (3.00 / 1) (#271)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:21:21 AM EST

Or are you just into hurling insults at those who you disagree with?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Nope. (none / 0) (#653)
by Josh A on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:37:29 PM EST

It wasn't an insult.

I suppose I'm supposed to put [n/t] in the subject line? I don't know what that means, but it's forcing me to believe it.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Atleast argue with him...this doesn't help anyone (none / 0) (#396)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:01:40 PM EST

[n/t] wouldn't fit in the topic, so I leave you with this.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Who gave me those rights? (3.00 / 1) (#183)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:55:24 AM EST

Do you have a god-given right to decide what freedoms are OK and what are illegal?
This is more insulting than calling me a sheep. God gave me no rights. God will never "give" me rights. As far as I'm concerned there is no God. Don't assume everyone is Christian.

I've read 1984 many many times over. I don't see the US heading in that direction. You are rather extremist, and enjoy bringing up the most extreme contingincies...I wouldn't be suprised if you end up in some Ruby Ridge type deal.

Goverment's are there to protect the rights of ALL of its citizens, something which can only be accomplished by protecting against that which harms society. Cocaine adds nothing, it only harms. It does not provide any benefits. Name one benefit of cocaine. Does cocaine get poor people jobs? Does cocaine help children get over cancer? Does cocaine stop car wrecks? Does cocaine cure glaucoma? Does cocaine help plants? Does cocaine do anything usefull. No it does not.

Stop being an ass clown.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Just an expression (3.00 / 1) (#269)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:20:07 AM EST

As far as I'm concerned there is no God. Don't assume everyone is Christian.

I'm sorry if this offended you. It's just an expression, I wasn't implying that you actually felt God had entrusted you with the power to determine what is good for society.

Goverment's are there to protect the rights of ALL of its citizens

Right with you there... until:

something which can only be accomplished by protecting against that which harms society

No, no no! This is not the job of the government, this is the job of responsible human beings, who feel competent to make their own decisions rather than have them dictated. The system you are advocating is the one that ensures the continuing welfare state, government for the sake of government, law enforcement for the sake of law enforcement. I don't care if cocaine has any benefits or not - it is absolutely impossible to ban cocaine! Does the drug war have any benefits to society? No, it does not. It creates organized crime, a ruthless, murderous organization in Colombia, hundreds of thousands of nonviolent offenders jailed.  You say name one benefit of cocaine? I say, name me one benefit of the drug war.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Where is this Utopia? (none / 0) (#385)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:46:32 PM EST

...this is the job of responsible human beings, who feel competent to make their own decisions rather than have them dictated.
Now you find me a society full of these responsible human beings, and I'll be impressed. It just so happens that if your Government is run by these "responsible human beings" then you have a system in which my view and your view work well together. However, separate the two, and you have a system where the government is there for the sake of being a figurehead and where the people make decisions completely for themselves. Which would absolutely suck, talk about going back a few thousand years.

I do agree that the "drug war" isn't exactly effective. If I was incharge of fighting this war, it'd be through the sabotage and infection of said drugs. Machiavellian tactics involving constant bombing, assassinations, and breeding mistrust throughout the drug community would break it up from the inside out. I'm quite sure that if you persue them like dogs and show them no mercy as human beings they would crumble quite quickly. Granted my pipe-dream of handling those that produce and distribute drugs will never see the light of day.

Recently Columbia has been frought with internal conflict [FARC, et al] and is having almost a civil war. Why? Drug lords are slowly taking over portions of the country. Why? Because we won't do anything decisive. They make shitloads of money off drugs, and I doubt they will turn to another way of life until it becomes amazingly hazardous to live their current life.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Extendeo (none / 0) (#329)
by virg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:44:20 PM EST

> Name one benefit of cocaine. Does cocaine get poor people jobs? Does cocaine help children get over cancer? Does cocaine stop car wrecks? Does cocaine cure glaucoma? Does cocaine help plants? Does cocaine do anything usefull. No it does not.

Well, this is just great. Substitute the word "brass" for "cocaine" and it's still true. Same for "chlorine", "nitrous oxide" and "foam rubber" and a few dozen others off the top of my head. Did it occur to you that the reason that cocaine has "no purpose" is because it's illegal to possess it, and therefore not many people have bothered to find any good uses for it? It's a vasoconstrictor and a stimulant, but hospitals don't use it because it's, well, against the law to see if it's better than other products that do those things. It could be that it's one of the best cleaning agents known to man, but we'll never find that out because people like you think that because some people use it for a pleasure drug, it does not and could not ever demonstrate any benefit at all. By your logic, despite the fact that grain alcohol can be used as a solvent, sterilizer and fuel, it should be outlawed because some people misuse it.

How very closed-minded of you.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
You've only read a bit of the thread eh? (none / 0) (#382)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:36:56 PM EST

...despite the fact that grain alcohol can be used as a solvent, sterilizer and fuel, it should be outlawed because some people misuse it.
I didn't say that because misuse something that it should be illegal, but infer what you like. Brass has uses outside those listed, and actually I would chance to gather that brass gets poor people jobs [factory jobs, but jobs nonetheless], also I'm sure brass is used in products that aid in the curing of cancer. I'm not about to debate the merits of "hard" or "soft" drugs in medical uses, because you're either vehemently opposed or will die for the cause. Its really beating a dead horse arguing either side. I could say: "no, because too many abuse it, you may not use it in medical fields" or "sure use it in medical fields regardless of the abuse". Either way abuse is still there. I wonder which way gets more/less abuse of the product.

I don't really see how using drugs for medical purposes has ever been stopped by the illegality of said drug. California has medicinal mary jane. Its more the social stigma associated with "hard" drugs that keeps it from medical usage. I think alot of society is held back or driven into dregs by people like you who think that legalizing every known poison would somehow benefit society. Sure if by benefit you mean kill off those not intelligent enough to stop abusing that which is killing them, then yes society will be a better place.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Nit-Pickery (none / 0) (#449)
by virg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:12:10 PM EST

Um, I got a red flag here.

> I think alot of society is held back or driven into dregs by people like you who think that legalizing every known poison would somehow benefit society.

Whoa, Nelly! Perhaps you infer that because I said what I did, that I advocate legalizing cocaine, or any other drug currently illegal. That would be a bad inference, since I frankly don't think such things should be legalized at all. I was sniping at the logic you used in saying that cocaine has no useful purpose.

> I didn't say that because misuse something that it should be illegal, but infer what you like.

Your quote:
Goverment's are there to protect the rights of ALL of its citizens, something which can only be accomplished by protecting against that which harms society. Cocaine adds nothing, it only harms. It does not provide any benefits.
From these statements I infer:
1.) Cocaine harms (assumably by misuse, which is not an extreme inferrence).
2.) Cocaine doesn't provide any benefits (my first response was to ask you how you know there are no such benfits, but that was addressed already).
3.) Government protects the rights of society by protecting against that which harms society.
4.) The method government has at its disposal for protecting society from cocaine is to criminalize possession/production of it.

So, if your statement is, "I didn't say that because misuse something that it should be illegal, but infer what you like", what should I infer?

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
It appears that we are both nit-picking... (none / 0) (#463)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:29:02 PM EST

Whoa, Nelly! Perhaps you infer that because I said what I did, that I advocate legalizing cocaine, or any other drug currently illegal. That would be a bad inference, since I frankly don't think such things should be legalized at all. I was sniping at the logic you used in saying that cocaine has no useful purpose.
For similar reasons that you infered that I said abused substances should be illegal, I infered you were pro-legalization.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Cocaine. (2.00 / 1) (#355)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:55:23 PM EST

> Does cocaine do anything usefull.
> No it does not.

Try having SOME clue as to what you're talking about before making blanket statements and demonstrating your ignorance like that.

> Name one benefit of cocaine.

Cocaine is a very effective topical anesthetic, for which you can, in certian instances, actually get a perscription. Even the freedom-hating DEA drones are swift enough (in this rare instance) to acknowledge this. Cocaine, and even crack (!!!) are schedule 2 substances, instead of schedule 1.

You don't get it in powder form, of course. It comes as a cream. It's often perscribed for post-op pain following plastic surgery; usually (ironicly enough) rhinoplasty.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Cocaine you use as an anesthetic... (none / 0) (#384)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:38:58 PM EST

...isn't exactly the cocaine you snort. Apples and Oranges are both fruit, but they ain't exactly the same thing. I have no problems with using coke to numb your leg or something, but I do have a problem with legalizing it as a "recreational" drug.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Following your logic... (4.00 / 1) (#184)
by lightcap on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:57:41 AM EST

So cocain and ak's should be legal? Neither add any value to society, all they do is harm society, which is why they are illegal.

Following your logic then, cigarettes and alcohol should also be made illegal. As should a great many things that don't fit your current media-driven, bi-partisan worldview. Really, the trouble in the US caused by cocaine is a direct result of it's illegal status. I'm not saying that there aren't people ruining their lives with the stuff, but there's plenty of people doing that with things that, in moderation, are perfectly fine...hell, even the stock market can ruin your life if you let it.

And as far as your comments about Columbia, you're displaying plenty of ignorance about the socioeconomic and political scene there. I'm not real sure how you make the jump to say that he should move to Columbia, "where they share [his] fanatical views". Last time I checked, the Colombians are not Libertarian en masse. And they certainly don't all own AK-47's and grow coca.
Mommy, what were trees like?
[ Parent ]

The thing is... (3.00 / 1) (#199)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:17:51 AM EST

...that some people can proove alcohol to have atleast margional worth in society. Its hard to show worth for cigarettes or cocaine. And although I agree that because its illegal the problem is worse, it doesn't make it legal to sell it or to abuse it. I think the big problem is substance abuse rather than use.

Columbia comments were over the top and completely out of line. They are respectfully rescinded. I've spent enough hours in international conflict classes to know better. It was a spot comment, my bad.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Well, you've regained some sense... (3.00 / 1) (#223)
by lightcap on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:37:44 AM EST

Kudos for owning your misjudgement on the Columbia comment.

I still disagree with you regarding the alcohol/cocaine comment, though. If you're saying that alcohol has marginal worth in society, how can you refute the same worth of cocaine? And if the marginal worth of alcohol you speak of is not escapism and minor intoxication, what is it? You're dancing on the edge of a breakthrough...that substance abuse, or abuse of anything (meaning not taken, done, engaged in in moderation), is the problem. Anything, from food to sex to relaxing can be overdone. But, just because something is abused, does not mean that it should be made illegal.
Mommy, what were trees like?
[ Parent ]

Alcohol and cocaine are pretty much... (3.00 / 1) (#251)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:02:07 AM EST

...different "drugs". Having a glass of wine at dinner is shown to have medical benefits. Having a line of cocaine at dinner has not shown to have medical benefits.

I do agree that if something (is|can be) abused that it should not be illegal, but this only holds true to a point. Cocaine really doesn't add anything...it doesn't. This is my point. If it actually had benefits, then maybe I wouldn't care. Mary Jane? Eh, it might have benefits or it might not, but granted its harm on society is no more than the harm of cigarettes. Heroin? Yeah this wonder drug should be available for all 8 year olds</sarcasm>.

If we step back from whatever feelings we have on drugs and look at them in the light of, how can their legalization benefit society, we find that legalization and subsidization makes crime due to drugs go down. BUT you must factor in the benefits of the usage. This is where you hit obsticals(its fucking early, I should use spellcheck). Cocaine/Heroin/Acid, well they might be "mind altering" and you might feel some sort of "experience", but its no more an experience than when you get a 105F fever and start hallucinating (as I've done before, not what i'd call enlightening). Mary Jane supposedly cures/helps Glaucoma, good for it. Medical use I feel is fine. Recreational use is fine. If we allow cigarettes then why not pot? Dunno. The health risks of puffing on a cheeba are nowhere near as severe as snorting a line of coke. I think this can be agreed upon.

Unfortunately I've delved into the grey area of "hard" and "soft" drugs. Ugh, this issue is complicated and won't be sorted out in our lifetimes. My stances are fairly liberal for a Southern Republican, but what can I say. I don't propose to have the answers, but I guess I have some suggestions ;)
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Grey areas, benefits, and freedom (none / 0) (#377)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:28:04 PM EST

Unfortunately I've delved into the grey area of "hard" and "soft" drugs. Ugh, this issue is complicated and won't be sorted out in our lifetimes...I don't propose to have the answers, but I guess I have some suggestions

I've got the answer. When you hit a grey area, you have made a wrong turn in your reasoning. Somewhere along the line, you asked the wrong question. Slippery slopes and grey areas are big red flags in my philosophy, that we are regulating something that maybe we shouldn't.

Legalize all drugs.

Humor me, and ignore benefit (or detriment) to society for a second. Does prohibition actually prevent ANY drug use / drug abuse? Those who are determined to do something will do it, legality be damned.

Is it worth the huge expenditure to enforce measures that are widely accepted to be total, utter, failures?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

I'm all for altering the methods of enforcment (none / 0) (#464)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:31:41 PM EST

I feel if we alter the way we enforce the illegality, then we might get better results. Just giving up and saying, "Ok Drug Lords, you were right, this is some goooood shit" isn't the right way. I mean I'd love to get hooked on crack my government sold me, but I just don't have the time.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
But (none / 0) (#493)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:25:40 PM EST

If all drugs are legalized, drug lords will be a thing of the past. Legalization is just about the worst thing that can happen to the illegal drug trade.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Some laws don't make sense (3.50 / 2) (#181)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:50:30 AM EST

There is a interesting law in France. Women are not allowed to wear pants. This law was part of the Napoleon code, and was never cancelled. Do you think women breaking that law should suffer the consequences? Or do you think that's a law that does not make any sense?

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
How is wearing pants and speeding the same topic? (4.00 / 1) (#187)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:00:32 AM EST

I'm confused. Explain to me how Napoleon not allowing women to wear pants is similar to speeding?!?! I know France is weird, but there is no connection besides the most extreme.

There is an interesting law in my town. Its illegal to wear your six-shooters downtown on a Wednesday. This law was part of the 1860's, and was never cancelled. Do you think cowboys breaking that law should suffer the consequences? Or do you think that's a law that does not make any sense.

--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
You said: (3.50 / 2) (#190)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:09:01 AM EST

I'm pretty sure that if you break the law, you must suffer the consequences. This is a pretty basic premiss.
And now you say there are different kind of laws. I'm lost. Do you mean that sensible laws must not be broken? Or that all laws must not be broken?

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I'm saying... (5.00 / 1) (#192)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:13:30 AM EST

...laws from the early 1800's aren't to be taken without a grain of salt. Your law was absurd. Laws against speeding are not absurd. There is a difference.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
55 mph on interstate is absurd (none / 0) (#193)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:14:14 AM EST



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Depends on the Interstate... (4.00 / 1) (#205)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:22:24 AM EST

...I95 being 65mph was odd in some areas, only because in NC its 70mph [which means you can go 75-80mph without fear of a ticket]. Otherwise, it was clear as to why it was posted 65mph. If you feel the speed limit is too low, then use your first ammendment rights and petition or assemble.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
First what? (4.00 / 1) (#216)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:30:17 AM EST

You might have noticed my email address. I'm living in France, travelling from time to time to the US. Here the speed limits are just as absurd as in the US. And there is no first amendment.

About the speed limit being absurdly set in the US, that's the whole point of the story. And it's exactly the same thing in France, in Belgium, or in the UK.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

Ah so you don't have the right to change things... (4.00 / 1) (#231)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:47:10 AM EST

...in your country. Well over the pond in America we can change things. Many people will disagree with me because they are too lazy to actually try and change things, but I digress. I can't advise you on what to do in France...I might have a basic understanding of your language, but from what I've seen of your traffic system, well it left me speechless. Parisean drivers scare me more than drunk Marines on I95 going back to Quantico.

As for speed limits being absurd, I'm not really inclined to believe they are. There are definately places where the limits should be faster/slower, but this seems to be the case everywhere. I think as cars get safer and driving gets more important, speed limits will evolve and increase. NC went from 60mph on I40 to 70mph. This change was welcomed, and I believe than in 2-3 years 80mph will be the new posted limit. Or maybe just 75mph.

Adaptive speed limits, due to weather and congestion, would be nice.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Heh... I noticed that (4.00 / 1) (#254)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:05:30 AM EST

Parisean drivers scare me more than drunk Marines on I95 going back to Quantico.
Each time I drive an American colleague around, it's the same thing: either he lives in NYC, or he's scared.

Adaptive speed limits, due to weather and congestion, would be nice.
I call this driving responsibly. And it works: never had a speed ticket, never had an accident that was my fault. Actually, I never had an accident while driving faster than 80 km/h.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I think what scared me the most was... (3.00 / 1) (#275)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:23:28 AM EST

...multiple cars per lane. I guess if you can fit two Citroens in a lane, then maybe the lane should be broken in two. I guess people in big cities are much worse drivers, as the situation is similar in downtown Chitown or NYC.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
SUVs... (4.00 / 1) (#282)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:34:41 AM EST

I guess if you can fit two Citroens in a lane, then maybe the lane should be broken in two.
Well, you can fit three Ford Taurus on two lanes... or two SUVs. I'm all in favor of banning SUVs.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#342)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:14:19 PM EST

...banning SUV's on a whole is bad jive. Some people actually use their SUV for things other than burning a whole in the ozone layer [my recent ex is a fan of burning a whole in the ozone layer]. I had a truck for a long while, cause I needed the damn thing. My mother is switching from a minivan to an SUV, because she doesn't need the extra passenger space that the minivan offers, but needs something with comparable load bearing abilities. Um, and yeah I think I should go get more work done.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Bullbars (none / 0) (#356)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:56:02 PM EST

Some people actually use their SUV for things other than burning a whole in the ozone layer
OK... but bullbars should be banned.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
ooh (3.00 / 2) (#196)
by niekze on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:16:46 AM EST

I'd just *love* to hear the criteria for deciding whether a law is absurd or not. Please, give us a clear and infalliable method for which we can seperate the "absurd" from the "not absurd."

[ Parent ]
Heh... (4.00 / 1) (#201)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:19:49 AM EST

Women not being allowed to wear pants? Absurd. Not being allowed to drive your Jag 85mph on the freeway? Not absurd.

Currently you are arguing just for the sake of arguing. My 10 year old brother does a more convincing job of this.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
hmm (2.00 / 1) (#207)
by niekze on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:25:25 AM EST

You didn't answer my question. I asked for a method of determination. There are quite a few laws on the books that do not involve pants or Jags. Also, if you feel up to the challege, consider the Autobahn. I would hardly call it a 'highway of death,' yet people often drive that fast, if not more. And yes, i've been on the Autobahn.

[ Parent ]
There is no way to define an arbitrary... (5.00 / 1) (#235)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:51:32 AM EST

...method of determination for things of common sense. It is very hard to write common sense into a standard and universally agreed upon "method of determination". I think that it is common sense that God doesn't exist, but many people would disagree with me. I think its common sense that if you smoke, that you should be taxed into oblivion. Many people disagree with me.

Things should be judged as for their worth to society. It should be asked what would benefit society the most. Slight increases in the speed limits across the board might be beneficial. But I believe that the limits will always be "too low", because this world is full of people looking for something to fight/argue.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Absurd vs Reasonable (none / 0) (#598)
by wnight on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:57:01 AM EST

The one thing that makes traffic laws seem absurd to me is that they're only peripherally based on reality. A stopped car is safer than a moving one and that is safer than one moving faster.

Except, that you can't model cars alone, you need the flock behaviour and that dictates that while there might be a small decrease in safety from driving faster, there's a large increase in safety from driving with everyone else.

Also, speed limits are very often arbitrary, especially in the upper end. If a two-lane each way highway with curves through small hills rates a speed limit of 70mph, for example, is this consistent with the speed limit remaining 70 when it straightens and flattens out?

The conditions aren't the same, but the speed limit is. So, if I drive the limit, was I being unsafe around the curves, or over-cautious on the straight-away? Obviously there are some limits to how granular this could be, we don't want a new sign every little distance for a 5mph difference either way, but when conditions change radically it makes sense to change the limits.

Back to group behaviour for a second. The ticketing of individual drivers who are actually driving in the safest manner possible, by following the example of everyone else, is ridiculous. It may be very hard to slow everyone without picking on individuals, but it's unfair bordering on the absurd that despite knowing that ticketing a few doesn't slow the many, the enforcement doesn't change. There are many potential ways to enforce speed limits on everyone at once, which would make ticketing people who drive faster than the group not only easier but beneficial.

So, for the reasons pointed out above, speeding can easily be seen as absurd.

Now, as to the lesson on debating. Reducto Ad Absurdum is a legitimate topic. You state "all laws should be obeyed" and someone responds with an example of a law that you don't feel should be obeyed. That's valid. Your argument had holes poked in it because it was ridiculous, absolute statements tend to not hold up well.

So, which is it. Are you going to beat your wife with a stick, not to exceed with width of your thumb, to force her to stop wearing pants (if you're in France) or are you going to ignore the absurd law, and cry fowl if some policeman tries to arrest you (or her) for it?


[ Parent ]

Prove it. (none / 0) (#395)
by magney on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:59:07 PM EST

Not being allowed to drive your Jag 85mph on the freeway? Not absurd.
Support this assertion.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

The highway... (none / 0) (#437)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:00:12 PM EST

...was built by the State/Federal Government and is therefore subject to its laws and regulations. It is not absurd for them to tell you how fast you may go on these roads. If this was a private drive which you own, then by all means, drive your Jag 85mph.

And don't bring up the "I paid taxes, therefore I own a part of the freeway", because damn, everybody pays taxes, even those who make the laws. Besides, you do have a say in the limits, start writing congressmen, raising cane, writing newspapers, petitioning, assembling, etc, etc, etc.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
So if they banned purple cars on public highways.. (none / 0) (#512)
by magney on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:31:00 PM EST

and you owned a purple car, you'd have it repainted? What if they said you had to sit at the back of the city bus? It's not your bus, after all.

85 may be a smidgen on the high side, but a speed limit of 55 miles per hour on a limited-access multi-lane divided highway is ludicrously low.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Who buys purple cars? ;) [n/t] (none / 0) (#576)
by TunkeyMicket on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:19:26 AM EST


--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
The Code Napoleon was overturned. (none / 0) (#375)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:25:50 PM EST

You may have missed this in your history classes, but, you know, Napoleon lost that war. There have been several Republics since. Find me a current statute book that still contains that law.

Lots of consolidations of statutes tend to have words near the beginning which say that all public statutes not in the book are repealed. That single line wipes out any of those junk laws from the Land that Time Forgot.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

No, it was not. (none / 0) (#386)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:47:18 PM EST

Lots of consolidations of statutes tend to have words near the beginning which say that all public statutes not in the book are repealed. That single line wipes out any of those junk laws from the Land that Time Forgot.
As a matter of fact, laws from the Napoleon code have been abrogated on a case-by-case basis. You still find some of them in the driving laws -- things like, a horse-driven cart has right-of-way over a beef-driven cart.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I'll quote the Code P&eacute;nal. (none / 0) (#416)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:41:09 PM EST

Apologies in advance to French lawyers. I know a bit, but I'm no expert. However.

The part I'm using is available here.

Article 111-3:

Nul ne peut être puni pour un crime ou pour un délit dont les éléments ne sont pas définis par la loi, ou pour une contravention dont les éléments ne sont pas définis par le règlement.

Nul ne peut être puni d'une peine qui n'est pas prévue par la loi, si l'infraction est un crime ou un délit, ou par lé règlement, si l'infraction est une contravention.

Roughly speaking, this translates as:
No one can be punished for a crime or a delict whose elements are not defined by the law, or for a mere infringment whose elements are not defined by the regulations.

No one can be punished for a sorrow which is not envisaged by the law, if the infringement is a crime or a delict, or by regulations, if the infraction is a mere infringment.

I know, you're saying, sounds good - but what does this mean, in practical terms? Simply this: the code is a code. Codes define the full range of offenses. If an offense isn't in a current code, it's not an offense. Got that? Good.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
You sure are no expert. (none / 0) (#491)
by Caton on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:24:30 PM EST

Article 111-3:

Nul ne peut être puni pour un crime ou pour un délit dont les éléments ne sont pas définis par la loi, ou pour une contravention dont les éléments ne sont pas définis par le règlement.

Nul ne peut être puni d'une peine qui n'est pas prévue par la loi, si l'infraction est un crime ou un délit, ou par le règlement, si l'infraction est une contravention.

First of all, you mistranlate -- which is easy to do, as the anglo-saxon legal systems are very different from the French one -- or all latin ones. Let's go into some definitions:

Crime: Often mistranslated to felony. French law defines a crime as being an offense against persons -- murder, rape and such are crimes.
Felonies were any of several crimes in early English law that were punishable by forfeiture of land or goods and by possible loss of life or a bodily part.

Délit: Ofted mistranslated to misdemeanor. A délit is an offense against goods -- stealing, breaking into a house, etc. are délits.
In early English law, misdemeanors were any crime that was less punished than a felony.

Contravention: Ofted mistranslated to misdemeanor. A contravention is a transgression of the law with no victim (not a crime) and no goods damaged (not a délit) -- speeding is a contravention.

Loi: Often mistranlated to law. Actually, it is a statute, i.e. a particular law drawn out in form, and distinctly enacted and proclaimed by a legislature.

Réglement: Often mistranlated to regulation. Actually, is is a decree, a permanent order of the executive government.

Now, what the text above says, is:

Nobody can be punished for a crime or délit not defined as such by a statute, or for a contravention not defined as such in a decree.

Nobody can be punished by a sanction not defined by a statute, in case of a crime or délit, or in a decree, in case of a contravention.

What it actually means is that the the Code Pénal applies only to crimes and délits.

Wearing pants stopped being a délit in 1909. I'm sure you can use google easily to find the reference... So your quote does not apply.

Good try though.

Anyway -- to prove me wrong you would have to find a decree that abolishes the 1909 decree. Good luck! Only decrees signed after 1990 are online.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

Code Napoleon (none / 0) (#501)
by aphrael on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 06:15:18 PM EST

Napoleon did, in fact, lose the war. But the reworking of the legal system promulgated in his time (intended primarily to sweep away the feudal legal code and establish a modern, republican code in which justice was applied equally to all instead of depending on one's rank in society) remained in force in most of the countries he had conquered; there was no widespread effort to repeal the code and reinstate the pre-existing legal system. This is one of the most lasting side effects of the french revolution on western europe.

Some references:



[ Parent ]
Partially correct. (none / 0) (#522)
by haflinger on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:14:27 PM EST

The Napoleonic countries stayed on a system that was based on the principles of the Napoleonic Code.

However, that's quite different from saying that they maintained the exact code that he promulgated. Most of them (well, all I think) created new codes at some point in the 19th or 20th centuries, and these new codes superceded the previous Napoleonci law.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

Reasonability (5.00 / 2) (#319)
by virg on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:26:43 PM EST

> As for roadblocks: if you aren't doing anything illegal, then why the worry?

It's a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights, that's why. See below.

> Furthermore, you just give a percentage of increase (66%) instead of giving why roadblocks increased the accidents. Could it possibly be that more drivers are using the roads now? Did the limits on the road get changed? I can't figure out why a roadblock would cause accidents. Unless some drunk fuck decided to ram the line of cars.

Firstly, it doesn't take a "drunk fuck" to ram the line of cars. While waiting for a roadblock, I was involved in an accident wherein some guy who was completely sober but not watching the road looked up from his glovebox or something to see his bumper hit the car behind the car behind the car behind me, with the chain effect that I got a solid bump and US$250.00 worth of bumper love. He got a visit from the God of brain swell and a trip to the hospital. Second, I've seen more accidents of the fender bender variety than I can remember from the forced merge.

> As for the constitutionality of roadblocks are concerned, I don't see where the 4th ammendment is broken. The fourth ammendment allows searches if there is probable cause and if the items to be searched are clearly defined. Its not unreasonable to stop a line of cars to find out if, amongst the drivers, there are a few people who qualify for a DWI.

Most certainly it is unreasonable. My driving down the road does not constitute probable cause for stopping me to see if I've been drinking, any more than my walking down the street is probable cause for stopping me to check me for illegal weapons. This flies in the face of the very American premise of "innocent until proven guilty" by making me stop and prove that I'm not breaking any laws. The argument that I have nothing to fear if I'm not breaking the law completely ignores the concept of the "fishing expedition" wherein a police officer can spend time looking around for a violation, time he would not have had if I hadn't been subjected to a roadblock, and which he would not have been able to justify if he'd had to stop me the legitimate way. To give an example, I was stopped at a roadblock when I was driving home very late one night from work. When I stopped, the officer asked if I'd been drinking (I hadn't) and if I had any illegal drugs with me (I didn't). Simple enough, but then he asked me what I had in the paper bag on my back seat. It was a gallon of milk, but he seemed disinclined to believe me when I said that, and told me to open the bag. I refused, since he had overstepped his bounds with that demand. He ordered me out of the car and opened the bag himself, finding my gallon of milk. He then decided to detain me until a portable breathalyzer could arrive, because I was "suspicious" to him. I waited for 35 minutes, and when I took the test, it registered 0.0. At that point, he started talking up taking me to the station for questioning, and the other officer (the one who brought the breathalyzer, not the other officer manning the roadblock, who never even got out of his cruiser) told his mate to let me go without any more trouble. Now, it's likely I wouldn't have had to deal with all of this if there hadn't been a roadblock, since I was doing nothing that would have raised suspicion while driving.

> Damn those 4th ammendment breaking cops!!! Stop enforcing the law!

I have no problem with their enforcing the law. However, stopping whoever they like for the heck of it does not qualify as enforcement. We do not live in a police state, and the protection from the officer being able to approach me on the street and challenge me to prove I'm obeying the law is not something I'll give up easily.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
How to change the speed limit: (3.00 / 2) (#154)
by Kax on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:21:43 AM EST

Get together some people to drive side-by-side with each other on a highway and refuse to go faster than the maximum speed.

This would work great (read: piss off thousands) on I-95 here in Ct.  I bet reform would not be far off.

Any reasons why that couldn't work?

Already happens (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:32:18 AM EST

I drive on I-91 every day.. people do this all the time. They're not trying to change anything, they're just assholes. I think people have gotten so used to this behavior, that they just road rage about it and don't try to change anything.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Yes, but.. (4.00 / 1) (#173)
by Kax on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:40:27 AM EST

I'm not sure what sort of congestion there is on 91 but I'd imagine that if you tried this on 95 in an organized fashion you would cause quite a bit of havoc.

I've never had a ticket in Ct in my four years living here.  NY is where this really needs to take place..

[ Parent ]

Be careful on route 2 (4.00 / 1) (#177)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:44:41 AM EST

A co-worker just got a ticket on rt. 2 in CT, for something like $300. I hear it's a madhouse there.. 55 MPH zone, cops love it.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
reasons why it won't work (5.00 / 1) (#164)
by zenofchai on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:33:09 AM EST

most states have laws against blocking the passing lanes in such a manner. you would be looking at a quite substantial fine for such a stunt.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
Does that make sense? (4.00 / 1) (#168)
by Kax on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:36:47 AM EST

So you think you could get fined for blocking the passing lane even though you are going the maximum speed allowed by law?  In other words, technically, the only reason you should get out of the passing lane is so that some other driver can, technically, break the law.

[ Parent ]
exactly (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by zenofchai on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:47:05 AM EST

if i am driving 55 in the left lane, and someone is driving 55 in the right lane, and i do not pass and continue to "pace" the car, i will get a ticket. this has happened to me once, now i just speed about 5 over the limit everywhere i go. damn the torpedos.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
hmm (3.00 / 1) (#265)
by Kax on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:17:24 AM EST

Say you were engaged in pacing like that in an organized manner which I described.  Two (or three) vehicles, going the maximum legal limit.

People will probably be right on both of your asses.

Mr. Cop gives the left hand driver a ticket for blocking traffic.

"Mr. Judge, I couldn't get back into the right hand lane because of all the traffic."

"Mr. Judge, I didn't want to break the law by going faster than the posted limit.  I don't want a ticket or anything!"

This strategy would be more effective the greater number of people taking part.  It's one thing for you and your buddy to try it, it's another if you are in a massive block of cars with drivers following the same idea.

[ Parent ]

unfortunately... (4.00 / 1) (#283)
by zenofchai on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:34:52 AM EST

off-duty policeman are very likely to be speeding (as their speeding is generally ignored by other policemen). i've often been driving about 10 over the limit, only to be overtaken quite speedily by a cop with no lights or siren going, i pull over, they fly by doing god-knows-what speed.

police: if you want to go faster than the posted limit, put your sirens and lights on. otherwise, stick with the same laws as the rest of us.

try blocking the road with a group of friends, when one of these friendly officers is trying to get home to his wife and kids. he's not going to find going 55 very funny. and neither will you after he finishes with his police report, which you probably will not be able to refute.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

this mandatory entry of a subject is annoying (4.00 / 1) (#293)
by Kax on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:51:54 AM EST

Well, if the cop lied you would have all your buddies as witnesses.  If you are engaged in PR then that should take care of any cynical naysayers. :)

So the cop pulls one of you over.  X more to go!

Like you say, the cops have to have their lights on in order to break the speed limit, by law.  So if a cop comes up with lights flashing obviously you'll get out of the way.  Then just resume the pattern.

The entire point is that if the posted limit is really supposed to be the speed you travel at, you shouldn't be able to be fined for not breaking it.

[ Parent ]

Traffic laws are for money.. (4.30 / 10) (#165)
by kitten on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:34:32 AM EST

..and very little else.

I didn't intend for this to become a rant. Really, I didn't.

Safety issue? I think not. You could make the argument that speed limits are there for our safety, although I'd argue that the limits are set at such artificially low numbers that virtually everyone is forced to speed just so they get where they're going. There's a lot of straight, mostly level roads in my area, perfectly safe to travel 60mph or more, and they're set at 40mph, sometimes as low as 30mph, and these are major artery roads. (This is Atlanta, but this phenomenon is by no means unique.) Why? It would take three weeks to get anywhere at these speeds, but if you go faster, you're a demon on wheels who should be curbed and shot, you menace to society, you.

My conclusion is that often, speed limits are deliberately set low, just to increase the number of 'speeders' and thus, the number of tickets, and thus, the amount of money for the government.

Anyway, that's just speeding. Think of all the other nonsense traffic laws that are out there. Does anybody really care if I have a tag light out? It's not as though someone behind me is unable to read my plates because of it. Laws like that are in place for two reasons: To generate revenue, and to give a cop an excuse to pull someone over in order to look for something more serious. Stop signs are placed in areas they are not needed, just to generate more tickets (or to appease whiny busybody housewives whose indignant bleatings about 'maniac teenagers' prompts the city to throw stop signs all over the place.. meanwhile said housewife knocks over three trash cans with her shiny new SUV while jabbering into her cellphone and putting on makeup).

Safety indeed. Someone please explain to me what is 'unsafe' about travelling more than the posted speed limit at 3am when no other cars are on the road? How about those times in the middle of the night when you're idling at a red light for two minutes when no other humans are visible for miles in any direction? What is 'unsafe' about just going through the damn light?

Oh, safety, yes. I deserve a ticket because, oh horror, I didn't "register" my car this year. In my state and many others, vehicles are required to have their tags 'renewed' yearly, which means you get a sticker with the current year to slap on the plate. The cost for this service you are so generously being provided is based on the value of your car. Apparently it costs more for the government to give a sticker to a Porsche owner than a Honda owner.
Now, I understand why a car needs to be registered.. once. Obviously the government needs to know who owns what car; the reasons for this are endless. But once I register my car, I should never, ever have to do it again, until the car leaves my possession. I should not have to pay outrageous amounts of money every year just to tell the government what it already knows: This car belongs to that person. If that hasn't changed since last year, fuck registration, I say.

Traffic court itself is designed as a collection plate for the state. A citizen doesn't stand a chance; the cop's charge on the books is received as wholly sufficient evidence that a law was broken, and sentence is passed without a word really being asked of either accused or witness. If a cop says you ran a red light, you did. If he says you were speeding, you were. If he says you 'rolled through' a stop sign, you did.
The judge is there only to tell you what law you broke, not to listen to your case. (Not that you have a case: How can you 'prove' your innocence? Are they going to take your word for it, or listen to the cop? Yeah.) And there is no trial - they merely read your "crime" to you, tell you how much you owe, take a portion of your money, and send you on your way.
Does this sound like a system that is interested in making the streets safer to drive on? Or merely one that provides revenue?

What about the quota system? A cop must write a certain number of tickets per month, or be subjected to some penalty or other - I'm not really sure what. But regardless, this arbitrary number of tickets exists and the cops must fill it. That is why you'll see them hanging around high schools with speed traps at the end of every month - what an easier way to fill your ticket quota in a hurry at the last moment before it's due?
Can someone explain to me why there is a quota system? Oh, on some level I can understand the need to make sure the cops are actually doing their job and not just slacking off, but with high quotas limits set, your friendly neighborhood law enforcement officer is now forced to make criminals out of people who are not really causing problems, set up assembly-line ticket factories (sorry, I mean speed traps), etc.

It's a shite state of affairs, and unfortunately I see no way to end it. The very people who make these laws are the ones who benefit from it. No politician is going to vote to remove the very trappings that are providing his funding, so it's not as though we can just 'vote the bums out' (fanciful dreaming as that is anyway).

I guess there's nothing for it but to be bitter and resentful.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
Ticket Quotas (4.33 / 3) (#200)
by CokeFiend on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:19:28 AM EST

I know that, at least in New York, there is no 'quota' for state police. I have heard though, directly from state troopers, that they are expected to write a reasonable number of tickets to show that they have been out there doing their job. I'm sure that leads to padding at the end of the month or whenever they come up for review.

[ Parent ]
"quotas" (4.50 / 2) (#305)
by lordcorusa on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:05:39 PM EST

I have a couple of friends who are Maryland State Troopers. Neither ever wanted to be a traffic cop, but thats what most newbies are assigned to. To get a better assignment, they have to get a promotion.

Here is where the trick comes in: traffic citation quotas are illegal here, and there are no formal numbers, but it is "understood" among officers that those turning in the highest numbers of citations will get the promotions, those turning in the lowest stand almost no chance of a promotion.

Once again, a corrupt system learns to be more subtle in its corruption.

[ Parent ]

registration (4.50 / 2) (#220)
by ethereal on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:34:55 AM EST

In (somewhat) defense of registration payments: this is effectively a tax on automobile ownership, which sort of makes sense as long as the revenues are going back into upkeep of the streets, traffic signals, etc. Inasmuch as auto ownership leads to more cars on the road, it's a tax on driving and thus (one hopes) provides feedback to the system, allowing for more money to go into the roadways if more people are driving. It's simpler and less painful to implement than tollways, at least.

In practice, I don't know how much of this money really goes to road upkeep; but in general it's a system I could support if the money did go to that purpose. I think it's better that drivers have to support the roads, rather than the public at large (even though this is almost synonymous nowadays). There should be some benefits to not being a driver if one chooses not to be.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

See, I disagree. (4.00 / 1) (#238)
by kitten on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:52:45 AM EST

registration payments: this is effectively a tax on automobile ownership, which sort of makes sense as long as the revenues are going back into upkeep of the streets, traffic signals, etc.

Partially. But as you said, it only makes sense if that's what it's being used for, and I think we all know it isn't. I really wish the city would be required to justify every single traffic light, every speed limit, every stop sign they post, because the way it looks to me, most of them are specifically designed just to be broken (and thus make money). As for the rest of it, well I already pay taxes for the upkeep of the infrastructure. The amount of money the city makes in one quarter is enough for years if budgeted properly - but instead, they just squander their funding left and right so that they can justify getting even more money next time.

I think it's better that drivers have to support the roads, rather than the public at large (even though this is almost synonymous nowadays).

Well, I can see the logic here, and you're making sense. But if we just look at the driving community, I don't see why it costs three times as much to register a BMW than it does a Ford. It's not like the BMW is causing three times as much wear and tear on the roads and traffic signals. The fact that the BMW owner can probably afford to pay more is totally irrelevant to the city or state.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
price differential (none / 0) (#482)
by ethereal on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:13:47 PM EST

I agree with your last point, and in fact in Illinois it seems to be a pretty consistent $78 per year, not based on car value (if it were based on value, then you'd think it would go down every year as your car depreciates, but that would probably be too logical).

Trucks should have to pay higher rates since they do at least an order of magnitude more damage to the roads. Most states probably already have higher excise taxes for heavier vehicles, I would imagine.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Explain (4.00 / 1) (#276)
by pexatus on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:26:07 AM EST

Safety indeed. Someone please explain to me what is 'unsafe' about travelling more than the posted speed limit at 3am when no other cars are on the road? How about those times in the middle of the night when you're idling at a red light for two minutes when no other humans are visible for miles in any direction? What is 'unsafe' about just going through the damn light?
How can this possibly justify getting rid of speed limits and traffic lights at rush hour, when there are lots of cars on the road? The fact that you get a ticket for running a red when there isn't anyone around is an inconvenience caused by the necessity of having red lights when there are other drivers around.

[ Parent ]
Justification. (4.66 / 3) (#294)
by kitten on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:53:31 AM EST

How can this possibly justify getting rid of speed limits and traffic lights at rush hour, when there are lots of cars on the road?

I don't know about you, but in Atlanta, the speed limit during rush hour is a cruel joke. 40mph? Yeah, I wish we were going that fast!

The point was that the law is blind to circumstance or reason, and precisely engineered to generate revenue. Even with lots of cars on the road, the law sets ridiculously low speed limits, for the sole purpose of generating ticket revenue off idiotic limits that exist only to be broken.

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
some comments or a weak rant (4.00 / 8) (#182)
by buridan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:54:40 AM EST

so you were ticketed because you broke a law, and now you lack the analytical skills to truly understand why this should be so.  

so why do we have such laws?

to stop idiots from killing each other with 1500-6000lb guided missles.  well mainly people don't care if they kill each other so much, so long as they don't kill family and friends.  

yes those fines go along way toward making someone believe what you did is actually wrong in some fundamental moral sense, much like pollution, etc.

why else might such laws exist?
well someone mentioned money?  yes, you lower my tax burden significantly, every fine the population of speeders and reckless drivers pay lowers to some miniscule extent the total tax burden, ever hear of a sin tax, yep, same thing more or less.

now personally, I've had 2 tickets, one for speeding at a speed that my car to the best of my knowledge cannot go, and another for speeding in an improperly marked area, so neither are on  my record.  

ok, now about speeding and cars.  consider your car, and why you were speeding.  why can your car go faster than the speed limit?  makes no sense whatsoever. rev limiters have been around for ages.

the problem here is the state system of control is structured around the assumption that you lack self-control, its the theory that if you give a curious person a rope and a tree and nothing else to do and wait long enough they will eventually figure out how to hang themselves and this is what you did.  you have a car that is capable of breaking laws, laws that only exist to provide some order and to get people like you to break them, and voila, guess what happened.  congratulations, the system works, you work within it.  sell your car and walk.

Against that too (3.00 / 1) (#208)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:26:51 AM EST

ever hear of a sin tax, yep, same thing more or less.

Yes, and I'm against sin taxes too, in any form.

[ Parent ]

Forgot... (4.00 / 1) (#217)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:33:04 AM EST

I do have one speeding ticket in the U.S., for doing 75 in a 55 over on a highway with a borrowed car with oversized tires and an uncalibrated speedometer. The cop caught me coming towards him, turned around, followed behind me at my speed and then asked me why I was so stupid to keep doing 73 when he was right behind me. The speedometer read 55 the whole time.

Unfortunately, the owner took it back to his own state the next day so I didn't have any evidence to refute the ticket.

I was let off once when I was really speeding 80 in a 55, 3a.m., big, empty (except for the cop) highway. And once doing 90 through the desert in an Indian reservation. But I attribute those indicents to my "young, dumb" stage long ago.

[ Parent ]

That doesn't matter. (4.00 / 1) (#262)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:15:40 AM EST

You would then be ticketed for driving with a non-functional speedometer.

The judge would be annoyed that you were a pain in the ass and complained and you would get a $300 fine and two points.

[ Parent ]

Not in OK (4.00 / 1) (#277)
by Quila on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:26:37 AM EST

The cop told me I could contest it that way, but I'd have to show proof -- and my proof left for Virginia the next morning. State laws differ.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps not (none / 0) (#492)
by wnight on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 05:25:19 PM EST

If the judge really believes in the system (ie, not just trying to raise money) they'd very likely let the person off. There's a big difference between having a speedometer that is obviously broken and one that the driver honestly believes is accurate.

Ticketing the driver for speeding doesn't really accomplish anything if they would have gotten the speedometer fixed as soon as they realized it was broken. This seems like the case of the driver being unaware of the problem and likely willing to fix it if he were given a chance (which might simply involve not borrowing that vehicle again).

Judges very often try to fix the problem, not just toss someone in jail or give them a huge fine on a technicality.

[ Parent ]

Not Town "Justices" (none / 0) (#577)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:34:30 AM EST

In a perfect world your reply would be right on the money. The only thing that is "accomplished" by ticketing is raising revenue. Your safety is a distant (very distant) secondary concern.

Most traffic judges are either administrative law judges or local town "justices". They care not one wit about the law and are typically not even attorneys.

The purpose of traffic law is to collect revenue for the town and state, period. This is why typically you can negotiate a lower charge that doesn't affect your insurance in exchange for a high fine. (ie speeding80 mph in a 55 to running a stop sign or parking on pavement)

In towns along interstate highways, upwards of 25% of revenues come from traffic tickets. In depressed rural areas, the numbers can be even higher.

[ Parent ]

Not really. (2.00 / 2) (#230)
by kitten on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:45:45 AM EST

so why do we have such laws? to stop idiots from killing each other with 1500-6000lb guided missles.

Oh, is that why I get ticketed and have to shell out cash because I had a tag light out? Am I going to kill someone with my 2000 pound "guided missile" at 3am on a straight road when nobody else is around for miles? I "rolled through" a stop sign (totally subjective determination) because after pausing I could see that nobody was coming - I get a ticket and this is for 'safety reasons'?

Spare me. We have such laws to generate money. The speed limits are set at artificially low numbers just to increase the number of people who can potentially be ticketed, not because travelling above that speed is unsafe.

?yes, you lower my tax burden significantly, every fine the population of speeders and reckless drivers pay lowers to some miniscule extent the total tax burden

This is only true if the rest of the taxes are lowered in proportion to the amount of money made on traffic tickets. If the state gets a hundred thousand dollars from traffic violators, are they lowering the rest of their taxes accordingly?

why can your car go faster than the speed limit? makes no sense whatsoever. rev limiters have been around for ages.

Right. First of all, a rev limiter set at, say, 55mph, won't prevent anyone from speeding in a 30mph zone. Second, I can think of a ton of reasons why someone might need to speed, starting with the obvious 'medical emergency' thing. If my wife goes into labor, I'm not going to call an ambulance and wait, I'm going to drive her to the hospital, and if the situation on the road looks safe, then yes, I'm going to speed. That's just one quick example. There are, quite literally, a thousand others I'm sure you can come up with if you really, really try.

you have a car that is capable of breaking laws, laws that only exist to provide some order and to get people like you to break them, and voila, guess what happened.

Wait, wait. Which is it? Are the laws there to provide order, or are the laws there just to get people to break them?

If it's the first, then it's a safety issue and the state should be obligated to justify every speed limit they post, and demonstrate that it's unsafe to go faster - thus preventing them from setting artificially low limits as they do now.

If it's the second, then you're saying the laws are put in place with the knowledge that they will be ignored and broken, so what's the point? Oh, it's that money thing again.

The two goals are mututally exclusive. Either the state wants to make the roads safe and have everyone follow the rules, or they want you to break the rules just so they can get money. I can't see any way to reconcile these two mentalities.

Furthermore the notion that "laws only exist to provide order" and should never be broken is not only incredibly naive, but scary if you honestly believe that.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
rolling stop not subjective (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:53:05 AM EST

It is very easy to tell whether a person has come to a complete stop, both from inside and outside the vehicle. As a driver, you will feel a small jerk as your car settles on its suspension.  It is practically impossible to come to a stop so slowly as to avoid this jerk.  From outside, watch the wheels, it's easy to see from far away.

True, getting down to 5 mph at an intersection with good visibility is probably good enough to avoid a collision, but it is very easy to not realize how fase you are going or how blind the intersection is and not notice an oncoming car until it is too late.  

I have seen so many "rolling stops" almost result in collisions if the car without the stop sign hadn't stopped that I find it hard to justify a rolling stop.  

I don't believe that all laws are good, but in this particular case, I fully support it.  

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Completely subjective.. (2.50 / 2) (#248)
by kitten on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:00:49 AM EST

It is very easy to tell whether a person has come to a complete stop, both from inside and outside the vehicle.

That isn't quite what I meant. Yes, either the person came to a full stop or he did not. When I said it was subjective, I meant that the actual pause necessary is a judgement call. When I'm approaching a stop sign in the middle of nowhere, I don't need to come to a complete stop, wait for five seconds or however long the law says you're supposed to wait, look around, pick my nose, write a thesis, etc before I can figure out there's nobody coming.

I have seen so many "rolling stops" almost result in collisions if the car without the stop sign hadn't stopped that I find it hard to justify a rolling stop.

And I've seen literally hundreds of rolling stops result in.. nothing at all. I've done it hundreds if not thousands of times myself, and no accidents yet. Some people can tell if there's a car coming, and some people are morons about it - this is why I say it's subjective, and a complete judgement call. I don't need some cop telling me I'm a menace to the roadways because I coasted through some abandoned intersection in the middle of freaking nowhere at 1am when there's no traffic anyway. Totally subjective call as to whether or not that stop sign was needed - and that's all I have to say about that.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
general response (3.00 / 1) (#311)
by buridan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:16:51 PM EST

 >Oh, is that why I get ticketed and have to shell >out cash because I had a tag light out? Am I going >to kill someone with my 2000 pound "guided >missile" at 3am on a straight road when nobody >else is around for miles?

it is more likely that you will kill someone if you behave this way than if you do not.  I suspect given your flagrant disrespect for the norms of the road that you probably have already caused an accident or two;) that ought to get you ranting insanely

> This is only true if the rest of the taxes are >lowered in proportion to the amount of money made >on traffic tickets. If the state gets a hundred >thousand dollars from traffic violators, are they >lowering the rest of their taxes accordingly?

Taxes are already too low for this to operate in this fashion.  
 >Right. First of all, a rev limiter set at, say, >55mph, won't prevent anyone from speeding in a >30mph zone.

we could fix that with some nice transponders that told your car what was the max speed.  the technology has been there for ages.

> Second, I can think of a ton of reasons why >someone might need to speed, starting with the >obvious 'medical emergency' thing. If my wife >goes into labor, I'm not going to call an >ambulance and wait, I'm going to drive her to the >hospital, and if the situation on the road looks >safe, then yes, I'm going to speed.
>

Just because you are willing to risk the life of your wife, does not mean you should endanger the lives of others.  You may choose to drive her to the hospital, but you will at least have to explain your actions if you get caught, and then depending, you may still be ticketted.

if it is an emergency, you should call for assistance. if it not an emergency, then you should take your time and be safe.

the 'speed' and 'rush' assumptions are null and pretty much wrong, you don't have to be there faster, etc. you just think you do.  It is the same sort of thing when people try to drive themselves to the hospital after they cut themself serious, most people have a name for such actions, deadly.

> The two goals are mututally exclusive. Either >the state wants to make the roads safe and have >everyone follow the rules, or they want you to >break the rules just so they can get money. I >can't see any way to reconcile these two >mentalities.

it is easy to reconcile, the state assumes that people are irrational, which is obviously the case if they act as you say above.  first you make try to be safe, then you encourage them with some fines, then you collect the fines from the people who are too irrational to think safety is important to anyone except themselves.

>   Furthermore the notion that "laws only exist >to provide order" and should never be broken is >not only incredibly naive, but scary if you >honestly believe that.

either you choose to operate within the system or you do not. you can be different without breaking the law.  law is and probably always will be a form of social control and i think most people would be better off if they followed them or at least tried to consider their implications and then followed the spirit of the law.  laws only do exist for order, they might have other uses, but that is their only reason for existing.  

[ Parent ]

You have lost the lead. (1.00 / 1) (#405)
by kitten on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:19:57 PM EST

I suspect given your flagrant disrespect for the norms of the road that you probably have already caused an accident or two;)

I'm actually a very defensive driver, to the point of being paranoid about the mistakes other people are going to make. Yes, I drive fast - "fast" is not synonymous with "unsafe". I know what I'm doing - and so do lots of other fast drivers.

Taxes are already too low for this to operate in this fashion.

Too low? Have you lost your mind?
And you are the one who suggested that every dollar that comes from tickets helps relieve the "overall tax burden", as you put it. I explained that this is untrue unless the government also lowers taxes in accordance with their ticket revenue. Now you're saying it doesn't work that way, which means that it really doesn't help the "burden" at all. It's just free money for the city to squander on useless crap.

Just because you are willing to risk the life of your wife, does not mean you should endanger the lives of others.

Spare me this self-righteous nonsense. The pregnant wife thing was just a random example. There's a million reasons why people exceed the speed limit:

  • I'm not in my car for the sake of being in my car. I'm in my car to get where I'm going. The sooner the better. I know my driving abilities, the condition of the road, and my car's limits. "Fast" does not equal "unsafe".
  • Sometimes I'm late for work or an appointment or whatever. It happens. "You should have left earlier" is no excuse - life doesn't always work that way. For one reason or another I am running behind schedule and going faster than the posted limit will help make up for the lost time.
  • It's not unsafe to travel faster than the speed limit, especially if the limit is obviously much lower than it needs to be. I can easily do 60mph on the road outside my house which is inexplicably marked only for 40mph, and I do, and so does everyone else. In fact, if I were only doing the speed limit, I would be causing a hazard by forcing people to slam on their brakes and swerve around me - everyone ignores the speed limit here, and with good reason: It's ridiculously low and you would never get anywhere if you obeyed it.

    Those are just a few more off the top of my head. Can you honestly not conceive of any other situations in which a person would not need or want to safely travel above the speed limit? Slapping a vehicle with a rev limiter is not a viable solution. I reiterate: "Fast" is not synonymous with "unsafe".

    either you choose to operate within the system or you do not. you can be different without breaking the law.

    What the hell are you talking about?

    law is and probably always will be a form of social control

    No, only a few laws have ever been about social control for the good of society at large, and most of those are, as much as I hate to admit it, embodied in the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not steal, kill, etc. Add a few more laws about things you shouldn't do to infringe on other's rights, and those are your social order laws.
    90% of the laws on the books are either an attempt to legislate some lawmaker's idea of morality, or as a way to generate revenue for the local governance. Society doesn't suffer a whit if I have a broken tag light or didn't renew my registration this year. Society doesn't suffer if a 20 year old has a couple beers in his own home. Society doesn't suffer if two unmarried people have sex. Society doesn't suffer if someone smokes pot once in a while in his own home. There's a million useless laws on the books that people are hassled for every day.

    laws only do exist for order, they might have other uses, but that is their only reason for existing.

    I am, quite honestly, at a total and complete loss. This viewpoint is so totally and completely alien to me that I am having difficulty grasping it. To me statements like this are the utter height of naivete and blind grovelling subservience.

    The laws are pushed by lawmakers with agendas - said agendas being a. To get more money. b. To get more votes. All other considerations, including safety, social order, and society's well-being, are secondary to these goals. To think otherwise is one of the most childish things I've ever heard of, and I can't even argue with such a notion.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
  • precisely (none / 0) (#422)
    by buridan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:44:46 PM EST

    your fast is not unsafe???  no, it is unsafe, you just think you are special.

    you exhibit all the signs of being an exceptionalist, that is a person who thinks that their actions are the exception to the rule.

    nothing i do causes harm until i cause harm.

    uh huh, we should as well jail you now, it is only a matter of time.  

    if you can't get differentiate between the use of and the reasons for things such as laws, then there are probably other things you need to do:)

    the burden of taxes, the tax burden is two-fold to everyone that is not a right-winger. you should realize that the state has a tax burden as much as the individual tax payer.  they have to collect them to provide you the services you desire.

    and fyi, a right as you will note only exists because the state provides for it.  

    as for 'everyone ignores..., never get anywhere...' i'd suggest considering the notion of the coal train, they follow the speed limit, they are scheduled, they are highly rationalized, and they get there on time.  

    [ Parent ]

    Get off your high horse, sir. (3.00 / 2) (#458)
    by kitten on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:19:33 PM EST

    your fast is not unsafe??? no, it is unsafe, you just think you are special.

    No, it isn't. As you have no idea how I drive and what my abilities are or the abilities of my car, you are in absolutely no position to make such a statement. Furthermore I was only using myself as an example of the overall situation. Speed limits are much, much lower than they should be. I am not so much driving "too fast" as I am "driving at a reasonable rate", which happens to be above the "way too low" speed limit.

    if you can't get differentiate between the use of and the reasons for things such as laws, then there are probably other things you need to do:)

    Since the discussion started off on traffic laws in general, please explain to me, in clear and concise language, why I am getting a ticket for not renewing my vehicle registration this year. The information on the car and owner are identical to what it was last year - the government already knows what they need to know. This law is in place for one reason: So that they can charge me every year for a renewal, and so they can ticket people who fail to renew in time.
    Please explain to me why having one (out of two) of my tag lights out is such a major crisis to society. Can people not see my tag still? Of course they can. The law is in place to give officers an excuse to pull you over and find something else to ticket you for - there is no "social" reason for having such a law.

    the burden of taxes, the tax burden is two-fold to everyone that is not a right-winger. you should realize that the state has a tax burden as much as the individual tax payer.

    I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.
    You stated: "Every dollar that is gained from traffic tickets helps relieve the overall tax burden."
    I asked: "In what way is the tax burden 'relieved' from this revenue? It's not as though other taxes are lowered to make up the difference."
    You replied: "Of course they're not lowered, they're too low to begin with, and the system doesn't work that way."
    My question: "Right, so I ask again: In what way does this 'relieve' the tax burden?"

    This has nothing to do with taxes. Revenue collection off traffic tickets is fully independant of tax dollars. It's free money that the state doesn't have to pay a dime to collect because they forces that collect this money - the police and the courts - are already paid for by independant tax funds. Traffic ticket money is completely and utterly free to the city or state.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    Who are you (1.00 / 1) (#518)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:02:45 PM EST

    Who the fuck are you to say, 55 MPH is entirely safe, 65 MPH = DEATH SPEEDS?

    Who the fuck are you to say that all our laws, EVERY law, is just? Has this been true in the past, little child? Tell me about slavery.. women's right to vote.. 2/5 of a person.. the fucking draft.. alcohol prohibition.. segregation.. censorship.. DMCA..

    Enlighten me about all these wonderful, immovable, unquestionable laws.

    --
    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]

    uh huh (none / 0) (#589)
    by buridan on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:03:18 AM EST

    your a rational one...  I never said the laws were just did I?  no...  

    no, everything i said about law you can find in some way or another in an introductory jurisprudence textbook.  

    and as i said more or less, there are people who should question laws, and then there are people who should just follow them.  some people should be free, some should be managed.  I think given your response, you can see where I think your future will lie, but we'll see, I'm no seer.

    [ Parent ]

    I could tolerate speeding fines (4.00 / 1) (#252)
    by Karmakaze on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:02:53 AM EST

    You know, if I get pulled over for speeding...  Well, I knew the law and I knew how fast I was going and that's the way things go.  I'm even willing to consider it a kind of "sin tax" that goes to maintaining the roads.  (By and large, I only speed on state highways, where traveling the speed limit will only get you tailgated and flipped off.)

    My issue is insurance.  I live in a state with the highest insurance rates in the country (second only to Hawaii, IIRC).  If you get a speeding ticket, you pay a fine to the state.  You then pay several times that fine, year after year, to your insurance company.

    I'd be willing to pay a "tax" the value of a few speeding tickets a year, just to have to not live in fear of (a) driving unsafely below the flow of traffic because of irrational speed limits or (b) finally having my car insurance payments exceed my yearly rent (which it almost does now - and I don't have any accidents on my record).
    --
    Karmakaze
    [ Parent ]

    blow up your car (5.00 / 1) (#299)
    by buridan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:01:03 PM EST

    then you do not need to pay insurance.

    [ Parent ]
    Yeah, (none / 0) (#330)
    by Karmakaze on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 12:44:35 PM EST

    And then I don't pay rent, either, since I would no longer have a job.
    --
    Karmakaze
    [ Parent ]
    choose a better job (none / 0) (#337)
    by buridan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:00:39 PM EST

    who wants to have to drive to work anyway, it's a pain, get a job where you can walk or ride a bike.

    [ Parent ]
    Because the job market's so strong these days (n/t (none / 0) (#417)
    by Karmakaze on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:42:29 PM EST


    --
    Karmakaze
    [ Parent ]
    well the job market is not bad (none / 0) (#467)
    by buridan on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:45:14 PM EST

    sure it is not as easy as it used to be to get a job, but getting a job still is not too hard depending on what you want to do and your relationship to money.

    [ Parent ]
    So says someone who probably isn't looking (none / 0) (#585)
    by Karmakaze on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:39:19 AM EST

    I don't mean to rant, but it really pisses me off when people come in and say "Well, golly, why don't you just find a job that will pay your rent and your medical bills and give you reasonable hours, and, oh, is in walking distance from your house" as if jobs were falling off of trees.

    I spent two months last year unemployed, making calls and pounding the pavement every fucking day. And, because at the time I could not drive, I lost every job offer I got, because I could not get to work. I'm now making roughly 2/3 what I did five years ago because it's what I could get.

    Do not tell me it's easy. Do not give me your "Let them eat cake" attitude.

    You think it's so fucking easy? Here's my resume - You find me a better job!


    --
    Karmakaze
    [ Parent ]
    nope, i'm not looking (none / 0) (#587)
    by buridan on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:00:01 AM EST

    they just renewed my contract the other day, nifty.

    as for your resume, i checked it out, I used to design my resume like that, but then realized it only really worked well for the machines and not for the people. HR people probably won't like it.

    here is something that i would do, refine your skill sets into job description categories.
    instead of OS it should say JR. Systems Operator then list the appropriate skills, likewise instead of listing programs used for web development, list web developer and the programs you would use.  

    now, i know everyone has their own opinions on these things...  I see around 3 resumes come across my desk each year looking exactly like yours, and I've hired none.  My reason is that the resume should tell me a story, it should make me believe that you are highly competent in your chosen area, and that is done in the presentation of information.  

    for instance, a line from mine
    senior system administrator 7+ years experience, unix, windows, macintosh servers. specialized in system automation, maintenance, and integration and networking in complex environments using perl, php, python and tcsh.  example scripts provided upon request.  Additional experience in software architecture, information systems security and team management.

    and what should be a line from yours:
    web production engineer * years experience, software, software, software, specializing in graphic design, web layout, browser optimization, and customer relations with additional experience in project management and budgeting.  portfolio provided upon request.

    and the key is for it all to be true.  

    compared to your 'skills section' who would you hire?

    [ Parent ]

    No (1.00 / 1) (#517)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 07:57:53 PM EST

    You're a pompous, self-righteous, twit.

    so you were ticketed because you broke a law, and now you lack the analytical skills to truly understand why this should be so.

    I understand why I broke the law: I don't agree with it. I understand why the law is so: because it brings money to police, communities, and insurance companies. So no, I don't 'lack' any analytical skills. This isn't a fucking IQ test, this is a huge problem with public policy.

    so why do we have such laws? to stop idiots from killing each other with 1500-6000lb guided missles.  well mainly people don't care if they kill each other so much, so long as they don't kill family and friends.

    The statistics don't agree with you, though. Nobody's proven that lower speed limits are safer, you know.. and just because your common sense tells you something, doesn't make it true.

    yes those fines go along way toward making someone believe what you did is actually wrong in some fundamental moral sense, much like pollution, etc.

    If you believe there is something morally wrong with speeding, and that's why it's illegal.. I don't want to live in the same state with you. Hell, I don't want you in the same fucking country's voting pool.

    why else might such laws exist?
    well someone mentioned money?  yes, you lower my tax burden significantly, every fine the population of speeders and reckless drivers pay lowers to some miniscule extent the total tax burden, ever hear of a sin tax, yep, same thing more or less.

    Populations that don't defend themselves are taxed disproportionately. This includes smokers, drinkers, speeders, lottery players (well they bring it on themselves). Why? What do we get for all that tax money? More laws. If you think speeding fines actually lower YOUR tax burden, you're being pretty naive. This is law enforcement for its own sake - fines go directly to hiring more police officers, installing more traffic control devices, and convincing fools like you to believe that speed limits are a good thing.

    Plus, explain the insurance thing. It's in your insurance company's best interests to catch you speeding, so they GIVE MONEY AWAY to police departments for catching speeders. This is an investment, that is returned when your premiums go up. It's an illegal collusion between government and business.

    the problem here is the state system of control is structured around the assumption that you lack self-control, its the theory that if you give a curious person a rope and a tree and nothing else to do and wait long enough they will eventually figure out how to hang themselves and this is what you did.

    That's a really crappy metaphor. I have no idea what you mean.

    you have a car that is capable of breaking laws, laws that only exist to provide some order and to get people like you to break them

    Are you saying the government allows my car to break the law, so I'll break the law and pay fines? And you trust this government to make all your decisions for you??? You're a fucking mindless follower!

    --
    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]

    look at another factor here (4.00 / 8) (#186)
    by zenofchai on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 09:59:21 AM EST

    another factor to look at is why people speed. some may say "for fun" but that is fairly stupid. most people speed because it simply gets them from point A to point B faster.

    at least in the US, we live sometimes quite far from our jobs, schools, supermarkets, etc. my daily commute is about 15 miles. if i average 45 mph, it takes me 20 minutes. if i average 60 mph, it takes me 15 minutes. 5 days a week, both ways, that is 10 trips per week at 5 minutes of savings a trip. that is nearly an hour of my life, every week of the year, that i can spend with my family and friends instead of in my car.

    now, how about if i average 75 mph? now we are talking about a 12 minute trip instead of 20. how about 90 mph? 10 minutes instead of 20. that's over an hour and a half every week i can spend with my friends and family instead of driving.

    however, every second i speed i am taking a couple of calculated risks. one of those risks involves safety. the other is risking the traffic ticket and subsequent insurance premium.

    all in all, though, a very well written article. you addressed fairly well the disconnection between low speed limits and actual traffic safety. however your 85th percentile frightens me quite a bit. there are some people who just should not be allowed to drive over 35 mph, let alone at highway speeds. we're talking about people who can't figure out how to put on their directional (turn signal), who can't figure out how to turn off their high-beams, who can't figure out that when you drive up the entrance ramp onto the freeway, there is a quite lengthy lane for you to accelerate and merge into, instead of coming to a stop at the end of the ramp.

    maybe there should be an additional license required for freeway driving, then i would consider allowing the speed limit to be raised to 85 or whatever. but as it is, there are people i don't trust being able to drive 55 driving all over the road in their 3000-lb SUVs. and i predict that instead of going 85, many drivers will remain at 55 because they know their limits, and the limits of their automobiles. this increases the disparity between low and high speed traffic, causing the bad accidents.

    the 85th percentile rule works great when you have all competent drivers with automobiles capable of that 85th percentile speed.
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.

    SUV Weight (5.00 / 1) (#378)
    by frankwork on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:32:14 PM EST

    I don't want to get on a rant here, but...

    driving all over the road in their 3000-lb SUVs

    If only SUVs were that light. The Ford Excursion, which is a bit of an extreme example, has a curb weight of 7,700 lbs. A Chevy Suburban is a little lighter at 5,760 lbs. (for the heavy duty version). The lightest version of the Ford Explorer is 3,828 lbs unladen.



    [ Parent ]

    holy cow, and SUV weight in gold (5.00 / 1) (#398)
    by zenofchai on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:05:06 PM EST

    The Ford Excursion, which is a bit of an extreme example, has a curb weight of 7,700 lbs. A Chevy Suburban is a little lighter at 5,760 lbs. (for the heavy duty version). The lightest version of the Ford Explorer is 3,828 lbs unladen.

    well that explains the 12 miles per gallon. holy cow. i grew up in a home which weighed less than that. granted, it was a very small trailer home, but... holy cow. at nearly 4 tons, the excursion weighs in at about the same as six and a half cubic feet of gold (calculated at 1200 lbs per cubic foot). at the current e-gold exchange rates of $302.80 USD per troy ounce, this works out to be nearly 30 million USD in gold.
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]

    Even smaller vehicles weigh a lot... (5.00 / 1) (#431)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 03:55:22 PM EST

    I recently replaced a 12 year old minivan with a used pickup. The truck is small by modern standards (with a small cab and a 6' bed - but certainly as big as my dad's was when I was growing up) but it weighs 4700 pounds.

    It also, to my delight, gets better gas mileage than the minivan did - probably because it's a stick shift.


    --
    In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
    - A. Lloyd -


    [ Parent ]
    So much for my estimate (none / 0) (#640)
    by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:04:12 AM EST

    I guessed 4500lbs for an average SUV, boy was I wrong. That was 3x the weight of my car, but the Ford Excursion or Exorbitant is over 5x the weight. I'd probably feel insecure in traffic crawling with them. Unfortunately, the trend is picking up in Germany too.

    [ Parent ]
    Your car weighs 1500 pounds? (none / 0) (#641)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:54:23 AM EST

    What, you drive a geo metro?

    My compact truck weighs 4700 pounds, and I feel dwarfed by most of those SUVs.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Car model (none / 0) (#642)
    by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:00:42 AM EST

    Lotus Elise. If it weren't for the side-impact bars on the trucks around here, I could probably clear many of them underneath instead of hitting them.

    [ Parent ]
    Heh. (none / 0) (#644)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:09:29 AM EST

    That's just a little closer to the ground than I like to be.

    No rational reason for that, I supose - it's probably because my first car was a rusted out datsun and I could see the ground go by under my feet.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Lowering (none / 0) (#650)
    by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:13:21 AM EST

    Funny, the car itself isn't very low to the ground, as I haven't messed with the suspension (I can clear any reasonable speedbump or driveway angle). But the floorpan is about a 2mm sheet of aluminum, and my butt's about 1 inch above that.

    [ Parent ]
    Longer yellows reduce red light violations? (2.80 / 5) (#195)
    by talorin on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:16:25 AM EST

    I've got a great idea! Get rid of the red lights completely, that's bound to reduce the incidents even further! Hey, no speed limits = no speeding tickets! And why do we make cars on the highway all drive in the same direction anyway? Just because you think you're the uber-driver and don't need to follow the rules doesn't mean traffic laws aren't a good thing. Just pay the ticket and stop whining.

    The problem with the 55 mph limit... (4.42 / 7) (#197)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 10:16:54 AM EST

    So, I disagree with CSB's attitude - CSB, you screwed up, pay the toll. I've done it myself and so have many others.

    However, I do recognize that the 55 mph limit has created a real problem in the USA. Since people have now been conditioned to simply ignore the 55 mph limit, because no one - no one - drives 55 in my area, and I can't believe it's different elsewhere. But, it's been getting worse - many drivers now ignore all speed limits. More than anything else I think (hands waving wildly) that learning to ignore 55 mph signs is why the past ten years has seen such a crush of people doing 50-60 mph in residential neighborhoods. I've caught myself doing it - speed limit signs become no more important than billboards and don't even impact your brain.

    After watching the kids in my neighborhood try to play outside while cars whistle by I'm a lot more attentive to street signs when I'm off the turnpike - but I still still see drivers doing 45 all the way to their little cul-de-sac at the end of the block.


    --
    In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
    - A. Lloyd -


    Street != Playground (none / 0) (#339)
    by Kintanon on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 01:04:07 PM EST

    See, the problem there is that some idiot parents have NO IDEA how to supervise their kids. The street is not a place to play. Ever. Even someone going 15mph can easily hit and kill a little kid if he doesn't see the kid until the kid is 5 ft away.
    Once again, a problem which could be solved by parents teaching their children something, in this case not to play in the street.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    You don't have children, do you? (none / 0) (#369)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 02:07:55 PM EST

    Nor live in an area where there isn't anyplace to play except the streets and sidewalks.


    --
    In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
    - A. Lloyd -


    [ Parent ]
    Choices... (none / 0) (#452)
    by Kintanon on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 04:14:15 PM EST

    Exactly, I CHOOSE not to have kids, and I CHOOSE where I live. Everyone has these choices. Maybe you should take your kid to the park to play? Or teach him/her to play inside? Small children do not have the right of way in the street, 2000lb machines have the right of way. Teach your kids to respect vehicles and they will be less likely to get turned into roadpizza.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    You might want to double check the laws (none / 0) (#519)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 08:04:40 PM EST

    on "right of way" - seeing how I knew a man who was charged with manslaughter after running over a child who was playing in the street.


    --
    In anticipation, John licked his own lips.
    - A. Lloyd -


    [ Parent ]
    Was the kid any less dead? (none / 0) (#540)
    by Kintanon on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:02:09 PM EST

    Alright then, legal right of way and ACTUAL right of way isn't the same thing. No matter how legal it is for your kid to DASH out into the street if he gets splatter, he stays that way. Teach your kids not to run in the street, no matter where you live.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Sigh. It must be nice in your world (none / 0) (#543)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 29, 2002 at 11:35:59 PM EST

    where people are apparently allowed to lecture the neighbors children and instruct them in traffic safety - and not get into a fist fight with their parents.


    --
    I think that, in a past life, I must have been a Nazi camp guard. It's the only way I can explain why these things keep happening to me.


    [ Parent ]
    Like it bothers me? (none / 0) (#548)
    by Kintanon on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 12:36:18 AM EST

    That I would get into a fistfight with their parents? I DO lecture kids if I see them doing unsafe things. If I'm at a playground (I like to use the jungle gyms to practice some rockclimbing stuff) and some kid starts trying to imitate me I tell them to stop, if I see kids picking on other kids I tell them to stop, if I see them doing anything stupid or mean or unsafe I tell them to stop. If their parents complain to me I tell them if they are going to have kids they should learn how to take care of them. I haven't had anyone complain yet though...

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Lol. (none / 0) (#578)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:48:24 AM EST

    Okay. So let's review here:

    1. In many places, children like to play along side the road - and often in or across the road. This happens so much that there are street signs all over the country that say "Watch Children" or "Children Slow" or similar.
    2. If I were to cream a kid with my shiny new pick up truck, not only would the kid be dead, but my ass would be hauled into court and probably either fined or thrown in the clink.
    3. Your answer is not for me to slow down, but to stop, get out of my car, and lecture any children and/or parents on how stupid they are for playing near the road.

    Have I got that right?


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to