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#350106 - 10/17/07 04:11 PM Re: Police and traffic safety [Re: Midnightcrawler]
Joss Offline

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 567
"These speed limits are not just plucked out of the air, nor are they set to deliberately catch innocent driver (i concede that some do very much appear to be nothing but a trap, but only some). These limits have been determined using science, statistics, observation and experience, they are primarily based on independent studies, conducted by insurance companies, road assistance organisations, traffic authorities, and by national universities."


But step back a moment and consider the actual implication of a "Speed Limit". In essence is approaches a government warranty that, IF you abide by this posted limit, use basically good driving habits and are not simply unlucky and get nailed by someone else, you will have a safe trip on that piece of road.

Now, consider the parameters for which that speed limit is considered safe. There are:

Driver's skill (Idiot, moron, normal, skilled)
Vehicle condition (falling apart, good, excellent)
Vehicle capabilities (nimble-ness, stopping, etc)
Weather (dark or light, wet or dry)
Traffic conditions (crowded, empty)
Location (urban or rural)
Road (poor two lane, freeway)

No look at this like the government looks at it. When they put a speed limit on the road, say 55mph, that implies you are safe and legal in just about ALL conditions. Since there is no separate speed limit for the dark, rain, poor car that's worn out, poor driver, in the thick of rush hour.... the speed limit you get is meant for those conditions.

So it's a 55mph limit and here I come.

I'm on my sport bike which is light years a better performer than any car. It is also in top condition. I'm trained and licensed to race the bike, which puts me light years ahead of probably 98% of US drivers. It is a bright, sunny, Sunday morning and not another car is in sight. It is a 4 lane rural road in good shape with lots of visibility.

Frankly, I'm safe on that road, under my conditions, as fast as I feel like riding. And I'm sure there are those who will tell me that I am unsafe over 55mph.

At the bottom line, driving is a personal calling, much like MA. People can ask why you do either and it can be almost impossible to explain. This often leads to the old saying: "If you have to ask, you won't understand."

#350107 - 06/16/08 08:23 AM Re: Police and traffic safety [Re: trevek]
clubJWP Offline

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 1
trevek is right! the misuse of speed is fatal, not only the speed. some times when you really need speed to go to a hospital, office etc. when you start doing it for fun, that is the time when your mind becomes casual

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#423018 - 10/19/09 05:39 PM Re: Police and traffic safety [Re: Midnightcrawler]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Man! I was so right!!!!,0,6675834.story

"It seems the Prince George's County Council has approved plans for speed cameras and has designated the county Revenue Authority to determine the 50 school sites where they will be deployed.

The Revenue Authority? What are these people thinking?

Regular readers of this column are well aware that I have no objections to speed cameras and would cheer if they were installed on every road in the state. But to maintain the integrity and the core purpose of the program - safety - decisions on where to post such cameras should be kept strictly separate from revenue considerations.

Camera location is a matter for the police department, the transportation department, even the health department, but not the revenue arm of local government. The county's decision reflects badly not just on its own program but on others around the state.

Opponents of speed cameras were quick to seize on the decision as validation of their cherished belief that money - not safety - is at the heart of such programs.

"I applaud the honesty of PG County in finally admitting that it's a revenue grab and little if anything more than that.

"I'd prefer it if the counties just admitted what they wanted from these things and went on their way. No more cloak-and-dagger or lying. Just tell me straight up that you want the money," wrote one visitor to the Getting There blog.

Fred Mirmiran, founding chairman of the Maryland Highway Safety Foundation and a speed camera proponent, expressed dismay at the decision.

"This sends the wrong message," he said. "It's not part of revenue. It's part of enforcement."

Correct. And if the program works as well as it does in Montgomery County, it should be a diminishing source of revenue over time as motorists slow down. Local governments that are seduced by its revenue-generating potential will inevitably find it an unreliable revenue stream.

My preferred way of spending the money government takes in from speed camera fines would be to convert it all into cash and hold a big bonfire in a public park on the Fourth of July. That would be a wonderful way to drive home the point that the underlying purpose of the program is to take money from the pockets of speeders - as a gentle way of inducing them to stop putting others' lives at risk - rather than to put it into government coffers.

Unfortunately, that idea would probably run afoul of environmental regulators in addition to being a political nonstarter.

The fallback would be to channel the money from fines into stepped-up enforcement, including additional cameras, or for small one-time capital projects that improve highway safety.

But entrusting the decisions on how to run the program to the local counterpart to the Internal Revenue Service hardly generates confidence. In Prince George's, that agency has already assigned the program to its parking director, who according to the Gazette has decided not to use the cameras in work zones because they're too temporary.

Hey, Mr. Parking Dude, that's one of the main reasons for passing the state law authorizing speed cameras - to protect highway workers. Some of these county road projects can last for months. Leaving the county's own workers out of the program smells like a revenue-driven decision. That may be practical thinking for a meter czar, but as public policy it stinks.

The council should rethink this extremely harmful decision. If they don't, elected officials from Baltimore City and the other counties that have shown more sense in setting up their speed camera programs ought to stage an intervention to get through to Prince George's council members when the Maryland Association of Counties holds its winter conference in January.

Just keep referring to Prince George's County as "P.G." to their faces until they see the error of their ways.

What incredible gall! Safety my a$$.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#423025 - 10/20/09 02:27 AM Re: Police and traffic safety [Re: MattJ]
Dereck Offline

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10416
Loc: Great White North
Red light cameras and speed cameras are very prevalent here where I live in a very small city (15,000 people). In the position I am in I am aware that the cameras are set to only record if somebody exceeds 15 Km/Hr over the posted speed limit. In September they ran out of room on the cameras but netted over $800,000 CAD from these cameras. Add the $700,000 that the bylaw officers caught, the month of September was $1.5 million dollars.

(Note: Our RCMP don't look after catching speeders by using traps; that is done by bylaw officers. Our RCMP only catch those speeders while driving. These figures are in town, not highways as that is done by the highway patrol sheriffs.)

The amount is so high as this is through some recent construction zones so the speed fines are doubled. The speed limit is 50 km/hr in these zones (regularly 70 km/hr without construction). In fact one person ran right through all three of the cameras netting himself $600 in fines for a few minutes of driving.

Can one speed and drive safely; for sure; no question. But misuse of speed I also believe is the problem. Now throw in other vehicles (parked or moving), other obstacles, bad road conditions, weather and the such, speeding becomes less safe.

More accidents will happen at lower speeds with in city limits then they will at higher speeds on the highways outside of cities. When taking my motorcycle course in 2004 you were taught at slower speeds for this purpose alone. I have been more near to accidents while driving speed limits within cities (50-80 km/hr) then when driving on the highways (90-110 km/hr). I have actually felt safer driving at speeds around 250 km/hr on my bike on a highway then driving speed limits within a city due to less traffic and more open to visually see my surroundings. But driving like that all the time would be stupid (yes, I was stupid) and you need to drive to your ability and to the conditions around you within acceptable limits.

And one thing I've learned from years of bike riding, it isn't me I most have to worry about, it is others around me. This goes for driving my vehicle as well.

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