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More Radar Detector Stuff

Txgunner: If you just did the speed limit, itís a non-issue.

Show of hands: who really does the speed limit? Hop on any interstate and if you are keeping with the flow of traffic, you are, in my experience, doing at least ten miles per hour above the speed limit. This morning on Pellissippi Parkway, the speed limit is posted at 65. Almost everyone was doing at least 75. There is no reason modern cars cannot safely travel 80+ miles an hour. And everyone knows this and that’s why they drive that fast. The speed limits are ridiculously low so that cities have an unending source of revenue and to make hippies feel better about gas consumption.

When everyone does the speed limit, uncivil obedience happens:

48 Responses to “More Radar Detector Stuff”

  1. Dirk Says:

    Interesting idea, and not at all surprising that they got the results they did. I live in the Atlanta area, and I’m actually surprised they didn’t get *more* people passing them on the shoulders, etc.

    That said, their idea of “documentary filmmaking” sucks rocks. All the hoopla over the white van clipping that car, and all they do is cut back and forth between the people on camera and what actually happened. And the back-and-forth near the end? Sheesh.

  2. Stormy Dragon Says:

    Most places also have laws against blocking the passing lane.

  3. Mr Evilwrench Says:

    I remember an occurrence of this nature back in the 70s. I think it was in Chicago, though I may be misremembering. It made national news. Three cars lined up abreast and held 55, collecting a large and enthusiastic following, all also doing 55. Some were so overcome with inspiration they wanted to pull up on the shoulders, just to express their, um, support and gratitude, I think it was.

  4. Steven Says:

    I remember this video came out right around the time I got a ticket for 34-over on that freeway very early on a Sunday. Should I have received a ticket? Sure, but it should’ve been for 19 over, not 34. Ridiculously low limits + speed traps == $$$$. This was before the “super speeder” law that just got enacted in GA, and the ticket was still around $550. Had a hell of a time finding a lawyer to represent me in DeKalb county, too. My reduced ticket still cost me $350 and my nolo.

    I-285 sucks.

  5. Roy in Nipomo Says:

    I vaguely remember (from the late 70s) a couple of (probably bored) CHP officers set up a “rolling roadblock” at 55 MPH on the road between Barstow & Las Vegas. Major traffic congestion ensued. Their bosses were not amused.

  6. Blake Says:

    Those kids are a good definition of idiots.

  7. Tony Says:

    That was hilarious. I remember many years ago, a friend and myself on a road trip to Atlanta going 75 mph and still getting furious honks and fist-shakes at us. (Wow, those people are rude!) A year or so later, we realized his speedometer was WAY off and we’d actually been doing around 45 mph. No wonder it took 6 hours to get to Atlanta!

  8. DirtCrashr Says:

    I speed less and less nowadays in traffic, especially since I’m not on a sportbike anymore but in a pickup truck. The go-fast impulse is diminished and returns mostly based on low traffic/long distance destinations – like when driving up to Reno, or with the dirtbike in the back to Idaho across Nevada, that’s when I put the pedal down.

    As a motorcyclist and lane-splitter, the real issue with 65mph vs. 85mph isn’t the absolute or average speed, it’s the speed differential and the closing-rate, and the lowest common denominator sets the threshold. We caution against splitting lanes in traffic that’s traveling over 35mph – though I’ve seen it done by idiots at 50mph – because when a lightweight high-speed object meets a low-speed heavy one it’s going to lose every time.

    Anecdote: Returning from dropping my buddy off at SFO airport last Tues. on southbound on Hwy 280. This roadway was designed in the early 60’s when everybody KNEW we would soon have rocket cars, with as many as six-lanes per side in some parts and eight in a few other, with wide sweeping turns and plenty of sight-lines, it was completed in 1968 and expected to be traveled at 90MPH by families in big-old big-block Ford Town and Country station wagons – until Jimmy Carter screwed everybody. I have done 120mph on it easily and comfortably on my motorcycle. A radar detector helps.
    Anyhow, two CHP’s Crown Vic’s suddenly came up from behind at around 90mph and passed my clot of same-speed 75mph traffic and pulled ahead about a mile then started to weave back and forth across all the lanes, slowing us all down till finally we were stopped. Then one officer jumped out of the passenger side and sprinted over to some large, splintered wooden debris crossing the center of the highway, and started chucking it off the roadway. Looked like a truck had dropped a palette or two and they had gone to smithereens. Those wood chunks can play hell on a low, light, little Tesla. Might not even see it until the big Buick that’s blocking the view swerves out of the path at the last moment.

  9. Wolfwood Says:

    What I don’t like is that stupid speed limits lead to a general disrespect for the law. The law should be the law, and should be obeyed. If it’s a stupid law then we need to get our representatives to change it (or find ones who will). Raise the limits or change them to be “recommended safe speed” like with the yellow signs on offramps. Don’t allow political cowardice.

    Simply selectively enforcing the limits leads to a general disrespect for the law by those who think that their own needs trump a non-oppressive law and fear of the law by those who feel as though they are unfairly targeted (as with many of the DWB cases).

  10. SayUncle Says:

    What I donít like is that stupid speed limits lead to a general disrespect for the law.

    That’s a lot of laws these days. Some laws are just stupid.

  11. kbiel Says:

    Hey eco-mentalists (as they call them on Top Gear), go die in a fire. In the mean time, think about this. If we would remove the speed limits on interstates (with a [very] few exceptions of course) and be more realistic about speed limits on all other roads, then the car manufacturers would change their gear ratios and otherwise tweak their cars and trucks to get better fuel economy at the speeds drivers are actually cruising at instead of the 50-65 range that few drive at. Think of all the oil (or coal if you’re into plug-in cars) we’ll be saving.

  12. trackerk Says:

    The safest speed is not the posted speed limit. It is 10mph +/- what the other cars are doing. If the flow of traffic is 75mph then you shouldn’t get a ticket for matching the speed. The joker weaving in and out of the other traffic should get the hammer.

    I had a post about speed limits a few weeks ago:

  13. Heather Says:

    I tend to not speed, but with the roads up here, especially in the winter, speeding is a great way to die. Some of them are just as bad in the summer, too, with crazy sleep-deprived tourists in RVs.

  14. Matthew Says:

    You can go the flow of the traffic and get a speeding ticket, or go the speed limit and get an impeding the flow of traffic ticket. No matter what, if a cop wants to, they’ll find a way to write a ticket and pull in revenue.

  15. JKB Says:

    People just can’t drive 55. Once on a commute home on I-270 in Suburban Maryland, we ended up in the 2nd row in the HOV lane with a county cop running 55 one lane over. The highway was 6 lanes wall to wall across and behind with nary a car insight for miles ahead. I’m sure the backup was starting to reach the beltway. This went along with frustrations growing for a while. Then suddenly the lady ahead of us, riding right next to the cop, just punched it. She didn’t creep ahead, she didn’t gently accelerate, she punched it. Well, the cop had a partner so no way he could ignore this disrespect. So he punched it and pulled her over about half a mile a head. Everyone else, cruised by at 55, then punched it. It was like NASCAR at the green. It was nice of the lady to take the bullet for the thousands of commuters.

    Heather, on the other hand it is fun to watch all the northerners who think because they’ve driven in snow, they can drive in the shaved ice we get down here in the South.

  16. Robert Says:

    Less law. More freedom. Speed limits are about revenue and control, not safety.
    Contest every ticket. Plead not guilty, ask for jury trial. File for discovery of all equipment, video, audio, written, LEOs personel file, et. They will toss you out. It’s just a revenue source for them. Just ONCE I’d love them to take me to trial. Usually the LEO is on his own tape telling me I was going 52 in a 35 but he’s only going to write it for a 45 in a 35- so he has knowingly presented in court a false document. Felony.

  17. ATLien Says:

    Driving slower than the flow of traffic (the speed limit) is more dangerous than speeding imo.

  18. Art Says:

    “There is no reason modern cars cannot safely travel 80+ miles an hour.”

    Unfortunately, it’s not the car, it’s the driver. I see way too many teens that have no idea what they’re doing behind the wheel. And before you say it, yeah, grandma and grandpa can be just as bad.

  19. hellferbreakfast Says:

    If you want some real fun, drive through Ohio, where the interstate speed limit is 55 mph. (What a bunch of Maroons!!!).

  20. Linoge Says:

    That was one of the best things about Slovenia – recently built highways (all of them) where the speed limit was 81…. and people still sped.

    Of course, given the hills, the tiny-assed little 1.8L car I had could barely maintain 70 in places…

    What I donít like is that stupid speed limits lead to a general disrespect for the law.

    Got it in one. If people are not going to enforce the speed limits as they are, get rid of them, or find people who will.

  21. seguin Says:

    You know, my Dad was telling me that, long ago, they used to measure the average speed on a road for a month or so before setting a speed limit, and then used the average.

    I guess at one time the political class didn’t believe the average American was too stupid to take care of himself.

    Imagine that.

  22. Dustin Says:

    I’m sure everyone else was thinking it, but that video was edited terribly. Way too much interview and build up. I don’t really need to hear you guys ramble… I get it… you went 55 mph in every lane of a major road in Atlanta. Just say that… it takes 5 seconds, and then show us the video, uncut.

    The way they did it was more of a music video, and frustratingly, they never show you a protracted video of them taking the roadway… just a second or two at a time.

    Anyhow, there are far too many 2 lane interstates. 3 lanes or more are much harder for idiots to clog up, and should be the minimum for any freeway. I’d love it if we had different speed limits per lane. 0-65 for the right most, 60-75 for the middle, and 75 min for the left lane (which is for passing only).

    Just start giving tickets to people using the left lane but not passing, and we’ll see world peace in our lifetimes.

  23. Insufficiently Sensitive Says:

    It’s not a meditation on the speed limit, that video is a cacophony. The powers of narration and reason come in dead last, attenuated by hysterical blinkathon videography.

  24. John Skookum Says:

    This was the worst film editing I’ve ever seen. Gave me a headache. The kids all need a good ass-kicking too, I don’t think I would like any of them if my daughter brought them home from college.

  25. Mr. Mark Says:

    To all of the safety-conscious, speed-limit following, diligent respecters of traffic regulations and insurance-company-funded public service announcements, I would like to offer the following bit of advice to make our roadways that much safer:


  26. Mr. Mark Says:

    One more thing:

    Once, when I was playing Soldier in my younger years,the Army sent me to the Magical Beer Kingdom, known to most as Germany.

    They drove a little faster there:

    And they had fewer accidents:

    “Surprisingly, the accident and death rates on the Autobahn are relatively low. Crashes along the Autobahn account for only 10% of Germany’s national traffic fatalities. Actually, the fatality rate on the United States interstate system is higher than that on the German Autobahn.”

  27. jms Says:

    These people say over and over again that they are obeying the law, but they are deliberately blocking the passing lane, which is illegal and leads to exactly the traffic chaos that they caused. If you are driving slower than the average speed you belong in the right lanes.

  28. Alexander D. Mitchell IV Says:

    To heck with law enforcement, drivers, auto safety, etc. Traffic engineers will constantly tell you that people WILL drive whatever the combination of roadway design, automotive engineering, and immediate circumstances (weather, other traffic, police presence, etc.) will allow. They’ve demonstrated this to me personally with radar guns tweaked to not be detectable by radar detectors (illegal for enforcement, but legal for getting actual traffic speed readings). Give a driver in a Corvette or Ferrari onan open highway in perfect weather with nobody around for miles in Saskatchewan, and the only things keeping him from doing 100 are a fear of tickets or his ability to pay for the gas. Put a family of four in a sluggish minivan, and they’ll still do as fast as the car will allow.

    If the nation or states want to pursue a reduction in speed as a national energy policy, they need to stop building highways like Indy 500 racetracks, and start going back to parkways with narrower shoulders, a possibility or running off into a tree, and the like.

  29. TX Says:

    Come to Dallas.

    We do 70 mph legally on the Tollways here right through the metro area. Off the Tollway, its 55 or 60.

    BTW, Most people do 80 on the Tollway. Enforcement is very light and the Troopers don’t use speed traps but sit out in the open.

    The CEO of the Tollway gets standing ovations when he mentions raising the speed limit from 55 to 70.

  30. Farix Says:

    Speed limits is one of those things that most drivers feel that they have a “right” to disobey. But they are also the first to complain that a driver is “breaking the law” by driving in the left lanes and not overtaking the next vehicle.

    The difference between the US Interstate system and the Autobahn is that the Autobahn is specifically designed for high speed. There are no steep inclines, the curves are very genital, and the road service itself is much thicker. The US Interstate system is designed for much slower speeds of about 55 to 65 mph with steeper inclines, steeper cures, a thinner road surface, and most important of all, exit ramps that are short and don’t take up a lot of space and in cities, very close together leaving little time to maneuver on or off the highway.

  31. Wolfwood Says:

    Contest every ticket. Plead not guilty, ask for jury trial. File for discovery of all equipment, video, audio, written, LEOs personel file, et. They will toss you out.

    In short, no (although it’ll depend on your state). If you’re not facing more than six months of jail time, you have no right to a jury trial. Also, criminal discovery gets you a LOT less than civil discovery. Depending on your state’s laws, you probably don’t get all that stuff unless there’s something exculpatory. Lastly, it is utter ignorance of the judicial system and naivete to think that they’ll just throw the case out if you make a fuss. You’re more likely to get an officer (and possibly prosecutor) who’ve got their hackles raised and a judge who is utterly unamused by your misguided attempt at the practice of law.


  32. Wolfwood Says:

    the curves are very genital

    I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder.

  33. Micha Elyi Says:

    I agree with the earlier comment that urged speeders among these readers unhappy with speed laws to pressure pols to change the law. Of course, until wannabee speed freaks can accomplish that they should slow down to a safe and legal speed.

    Secondly, ever notice those signs on the Interstate that warn “Slower Traffic Keep Right”? They don’t make an exception for anyone at the speed limit who’s hogging the left lanes. There’s no law permitting self-appointed privateer enforcement of the speed limit in any state I know of. Think about it. In the left lane and being tailgated by a speed freak? Pull over into the right-hand lane and open up a path for Officer Friendly to zoom in and bag that sucka. Otherwise eat that ticket for impeding traffic with a smile, roadhogs.

  34. mikee Says:

    Way back in 1976, just after getting their drivers’ licenses, several high school acquaintances of mine performed a similar test of legal speed versus actual speed on Independence Avenue, then the main artery into Charlotte, NC, from the eastern direction. Same results.

    Plus Áa change, plus c’est la mÍme chose.

  35. Rich Says:

    Many years ago when I first learned to drive, (late 60’s) the accepted practice was to follow the flow of traffic. So if you were on the NYS Thruway and everyone was doing 70 the state troopers did not bother you. You were way higher or lower they pulled you over. If you blocked the left lane by going slower than traffic you go pulled over. I knew several state troopers and basically they worked on the stupid factor – you were doing something stupid they pulled you over!. Not now, now it is all about revenue.

  36. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    Contrary to popular belief, there are speed limits on many sections of the Autobahn, some as low as 50 mph (80 kph). I think the big difference is, drivers know that the lower limit is there for a reason, and respect it.

    One thing I remember thinking was pretty cool when I was stationed there (97-00) were the areas where the limit could vary, based on road and traffic conditions. They used sensors linked to electronic signs.

    Also, trucks and buses are strictly limited to 100 kph, and the Polizei are death on any caught speeding.

    And finally, the driving age in Germany is 18, and driving school is a heck of a lot tougher than here.

  37. MarkD Says:

    In Germany, it will cost you a lot of money to be caught driving in the passing lane on the Autobahn. Drive right, pass left, and the speed differential does not produce the carnage our nanny state would predict.

    It’s not the road surface, and it is specifically not the ramps, nor the curves; it is the drivers keeping to the right that make the Autobahn safe at speed.

  38. JFP Says:

    The speed limit on the interstates in Ohio is NOT 55. It’s 65. Maybe hellferbreakfast is thinking of the old speed limit for trucks. It used to be 55, but is now 65, just like for everyone else.

  39. Robert Arvanitis Says:

    There are very important state and federal laws that in fact REQUIRE speeding.

    Use typical values of gas prices, and fuel efficiency at 55 versus 80 mph.

    The cost savings (in fuel) divided by the time lost (at low speed) is far below federal and state minimum wage standards…

  40. The Sanity Inspector Says:

    An oldie but a goodie.

  41. J Says:

    “they used to measure the average speed on a road for a month or so before setting a speed limit, and then used the average”

    In some places (CA and GA that I know of) this is required by law if the entity involved intends to enforce the speed limit using any type of electronic speed measuring equipment – sort of. In those states, the law is that the speed must be set at or above the 85th percentile speed as determined by the traffic survey for use of RADAR/LIDAR etc. to be legal. Understand that this is not a restriction on setting a lower limit, only on enforcment method.

    The biggest problem with electronic enforcement methods is that because they’re easy and quantitative, the violation they detect becomes the only traffic law police enforce. Based on my personal observation, the county I live in could probably fund all county operations with the revenue from tickets for failure to yield and obstructing traffic alone, if the cops would just enforce those laws. Most of the people I know have a speeding ticket, but it’s extremely unusual to hear of anyone getting a ticket for any other traffic offense unless there was an accident or they got hit by a red-light cam (incidentally, if a red light cam can ticket a driver for running a red light, why can’t it ticket a driver for failing to move through the intersection in an expeditious manner when that light turns green?).

  42. JSS Says:

    “….The US Interstate system is designed for much slower speeds of about 55 to 65 mph with steeper inclines, steeper cures, a thinner road surface, and most……”
    The Interstate system is designed to transport troops around the US (that’s why there’s one in Hawaii). It is designed to be driven at 80mph and in fact that was the speed limit until the gas crisis when the limit was lowered to 55 to SAVE GAS

  43. Dustin Says:

    I don’t think the people screaming at these kids blocking the passing lane are being fair.

    It was a specific protest of the artificially low speed limit. It’s not like they are pretending this is a good way to drive.

    My only gripe was the editing. The concept is great. They should do this all over the place.

  44. Doug Says:

    Nobody who ever drove from Fargo to Billings voted for the 55 mile speed limit. It was a gift from politicians who live in states that you can drive across in an hour.

  45. Scott Bradford Says:

    “The difference between the US Interstate system and the Autobahn is that the Autobahn is specifically designed for high speed…. The US Interstate system is designed for much slower speeds of about 55 to 65 mph…”

    Not true. Interstates are designed to meet the federal Interstate highway standards, which mandate a minimum design speed of 75mph except in especially hilly areas or urban areas.

    In other words, the vast majority of Interstates in the U.S. were specifically designed for safe travel at 75mph-plus.

  46. Gijoe Says:

    I do the speed limit. Always have, always will. I’ve never gotten a ticket in 17 years I have driven and don’t intend to. I follow the law to a T when it comes to the safety of others.

    My strict driving habits stem from my pot-smoking days in college when I was afraid of the police catching me and locking me up for what I did in my free time.

    I think I decided that breaking one law was enough, and since I was harming no one except myself and my respratory tract I shouldn’t tempt karma by speeding. Silly but it has worked so far

    Speeding in Florida is dangerous. The posted limit of 70-75 is fine with me especially because of the abundance of 80 year olds doing 45 out there. And the amount of troopers on the highway every other exit.
    Scuse the spell

  47. CO Defender Says:

    Colorado passed a traffic impediment law last year…if you’re in the overtaking lane, and five or more vehicles are behind you in a small interval, the DPS can yank you off the road and fine you. Great in theory, but practically never enforced…anyone who drives I-25 Colo Spgs to Denver on any given day (75MPH limit) sees signs every five miles that read “slower traffic keep right”, and “keep right except to pass”…the signs are ignored by all but a small amount of drivers…everyone thinks they are the fastest driver on the road…I have found that on the stretches of I-25 where it expands to four lanes…the right lane is usually absolutely empty…it’s not speed, it’s lane discipline, and 95% of Amercians have no idea what it means…thankfully the CODPS doesn’t stop anyone going under 80.

  48. K.C. Says:

    Come to New Mexico, the speed limit in country roads are posted 75 mph, it’s the legal limit. I-25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is 75 mph.

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