Is traffic enforcement getting out of control?
* Many states have “asset forfeiture” laws that permit the seizure of your vehicle if, for example, a little marijuana (or other arbitrarily “controlled”) substance is found during a traffic stop, including those probable-cause-free “checkpoints” that cops now use to make such seizures even easier.
Whatever you may think about pot smokers – or other-than-allowed-drug-use in general – it seems a bit much to expropriate personal property that in many cases is worth tens of thousands of dollars because a guy had some grass (or whatever) on him. Note: Not smoking the stuff; just having it on him. As a mental experiment, imagine a cop just taking your car (and taking you to jail) because he popped the trunk and found you had a case of wine back there. What’s the difference? One’s “controlled” and the other’s not. (Personal note: I don’t smoke pot or consume legal drugs – alcohol and tobacco. Well, I do drink a lot of coffee. Still, this isn’t advocacy of “substance abuse.” It’s advocacy of sanity.)
Violent criminals – who often have no assets to seize – probably suffer far less in terms of actual punishment. What, after all, is a few months in the taxpayer-subsidized clink with free food, cable TV and heaf cayuh, too in terms of punishment to a loser lowlife who has no job to lose, no assets to forfeit and plenty of time on his hands anyhow? But just taking someone’s $35,000 vehicle? That’s a whole ‘nother thing.
* Maryland State Police have deployed military-style infrared night vision goggles to surveil motorists at night for the purpose of determining whether they were wearing seatbelts. IFR equipment costs thousands of dollars, but of course, the state can take in thousands of dollars in “revenue” via the fines they collect, so the math works out. But is targeting civilians in this way – with military equipment – to find out whether they’re “buckled up for safety” a proper use of police authority in a (cough) free country?
* Virginia defines “reckless driving” as anything more than 20 MPH faster than the posted speed limit; thus, on a major Interstate highway spur such as I-581 near my hometown of Roanoke, Va. – where the speed limit is still set at a Jimmy Carter-esque 55 MPH – you can be tagged for “reckless driving” for doing 76 MPH, which is slightly faster than the average flow of traffic. In Virginia, a “reckless driving” cite means a mandatory court appearance (no mailing in the fine) and you’d better hire a lawyer, too – because conviction means a huge fine, the possibility of your driver’s license being suspended and the certainty of a six “demerit” points being assigned to your DMV rap sheet. Your insurance will likely go up by 30-50 percent, if it’s not canceled altogether. Better have a top-shelf shyster on your speed dial.
* In Georgia, North Carolina and a dozen other states people convicted of nothing more serious than “speeding” can be sent to jail for up to a a year – at the discretion of the local judge. Better hope it’s not Boss Hogg (see http://www.007radardetectors.com/speeding_fines.htm for some state-by-state examples).
* The legal threshold for “drunk driving” is now at .08 BAC in every state – so it’s already well below the .10 BC threshold that correlates with actual accidents (vs. an arbitrary, highly politicized definition of “impairment”) but efforts to lower it even more, to .06 or even .04 (a level of “intoxication” that can be reached after a single drink) are in the works. No one defends drunk driving – but is one really “drunk” (or even significantly impaired) after a single drink? Or even two? Based on what evidence? It seems we’re on the path to “zero tolerance” – a position openly championed by that cash machine and political juggernaut Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It sounds righteous but it’s arguably ridiculous to tag people with trace amounts of alcohol in their system as ” drunks” – especially when there’s no evidence their driving has been impaired.
* “Primary enforcement” of seatbelt laws gives cops legal authority to pull drivers over simply because they’re not wearing their seat belt. Regardless of the wisdom of buckling up, should police have the authority to pull drivers over for a personal choice that has nothing to do with whether the person is a danger to others? It may be safer for the driver to buckle-up, but an unbuckled motorist poses no threat to the safety of other drivers – just as an overweight cop who lives on fast food isn’t endangering anyone but himself. But the cop is in no danger of a ticket for “risky eating.” Isn’t this an unfair double-standard? If the driver deserves a ticket, why not the cop?
The late author Samuel Francis described this state of affairs as “anarcho-tyranny” – ordinary citizens getting harassed more and more aggressively by the law and its enforcers over small-time “technical fouls” (such as speeding or failing to buckle up) while violent thugs and big-time lawbreakers suffer less and less in terms of real-world consequences for their actions. The “speeder” gets several thousand dollars in fines and 30 days in the clink; a guy who isn’t even doing that loses his $35,000 vehicle because some cop found a small bag of pot in the glovebox during a seatbelt safety check. Meanwhile violent thugs receive perhaps a few weeks/months of free room and board at taxpayers’ expense.
For the average person, the loss of their driver’s license, vehicle, massive fines – or a week in jail – can be life-altering. For a violent thug, fines are irrelevant, his “record” is something to boast about – and jail time means free room and board. The thug hasn’t got a job to lose – and owns nothing of value that can be seized by the government. That’s probably why law enforcement isn’t much interested; there’s no money there.
Our Constitution and Bill of Rights were supposed to ensure equal treatment – but that’s been thrown out the window, too – along with the First, Second and Fourth Amendments (to name the major casualties).
Maybe keeping wife beaters, child molesters and all the various cretins and thugs out there at bay (or secured inside the walls of a prison someplace) ought to be a higher priority than worrying about seat-belt violators, “speeders” and the couple that enjoyed a glass of wine with their dinner before heading home.
But that would be reasonable – and we live in an increasingly unreasonable era.
Throw it in the Woods?
One for the clovers:
“..and the couple that enjoyed a glass of wine with their dinner before heading home.”
If they can’t determine whether he’ll beat or kill his wife when he gets home, how could they determine whether he’ll have an accident or even hurt someone beyond the speed limit or with a BAC of 0.05?
A very important aspect of this situation is the tool law. Tool laws are designed such that the cops (government) can more easily go after ‘bad’ people. Those bad people may be ‘drug dealers’, ‘speeders’, or anything else. Anyone that can be successfully demonized in the media and socially few will defend.
The police then use the tool laws against anyone who lacks the resources, the political power, and social standing to put up a fight. For tickets and other fines they (also) target people who will just pay because it is too costly for them to fight.
What is always astonishing is when some upper middle class soccer mom or someone else who never considered themselves a target of these various laws gets busted. Loses thousands of dollars or her vehicle or spends a night in jail… whatever it may be. It’s never the law that is the problem, just that one particular cop or department. Even the victims think that way.
It’s what I call ‘trust the cop’ or ‘trust the government’. So called normal people trust, which is why liberty minded people are branded ‘paranoid’. To be concerned of losing your new car because of some stupid law is considered “paranoid” because those laws aren’t supposed to be enforced on ‘good’ people.
Lots of minor ticky tacky laws selectively enforced seems to be the way most americans like it.
Hey Brent – Excellent points. People who are liberty minded understand that “government” is not a holy enterprise; it’s just organized force in the hands of people – who like all people are prone to human failings, including the lust to lord it over others, control them, etc. A Clover has the reverse mindset. He believes, in a way, that government is magical – and good – because it’s the government. Therefore, one must trust – and obey – the government.
Thankfully, we don’t take that view here!
It’s at oppressive times like these I take comfort from the medieval MagnaCARta:
Clause20. Fines should be proportionate to the offence.
Clause21. No Sheriff or baliff is to take anyone’s horse or CARt.
Clause38. No-one should be put on trial based only on the word of an official.
Also, this is all very hypocritical anyway. Who police’s the police? Who gives the ticket to the speeding cop or the cop not wearing their seatbelt? Do they get fined? Ofcourse not. All that they do is flash a badge and they are off the hook. So the police do not even have to follow their own rules. What is the point of law if only some have to follow them? Do as I say, but not as I do. Not logical or fair.
How can a cop give you a ticket with a straight face knowing that they themselves have broken the very rules that they are writing you a ticket for?
It is just all absurd anyway. I mean, you have to wear a seatbelt in a car. But on a motorcycle there is no seatbelt and there is nothing covering you. You do not have to wear a seatbelt, and are more likely to be hurt in an accident, yet no ticket for that, and they don’t outlaw motorcycles. In some states you do not even need a helmet. Like in PA, you don’t need a helmet on a motorcyle, no seatbelt, but you better damn sure have a seatbelt on inside of your car. How silly is that?
The government fines you and takes your money simply because you are not protecting yourself well enough. Talk about the twilight zone. Why not ticket rape victims for being raped, who walk in isolated areas or put themselves in harms way? Why not ticket people for being overweight and eating too much junk? Why not ticket those for drinking and smoking? Ticket those who get hit by a car walking across the street.Let’s ticket family members of murder victims if the murder victim was doing something stupid that caused their death. Why not ticket the hell out of everything?
It comes down to this, more control over you, and more money to run the government poorly. That is all it’s about, control and money. It is not about safety, nor should it be. The government has no buisness punishing people who do things that do not hurt others. Especially when the government doesn’t punish its own. They get a free pass. It is all ass backwards.
Yes indeed! Who watches the watchmen?
One of the many reasons people (excepting Clovers) give the fish-eye to cops and traffic enforcement is witnessing cops routinely ignore the speed limits they enforce. Just as an example: My wife and I recently went up to DC, taking I-81 from southern Va. to get there. The speed limit is 70. At one point, a whole group of us was following a state cop doing 80. He led the pack. This went on for a good half hour before he finally turned off – no doubt to set up a radar trap to ticket drivers for doing 80 in a 70.
Your points are spot on.
Law enforcement should have no business with you until and unless you have caused (or appear about to cause) harm to another person. What you do to yourself is none of its business anymore than it is you next-door neighbor’s business what you eat for dinner.
Good to see the reference to Samuel Francis and “anarcho-tyranny.” Sam had the situation pegged nicely:
“What we have in this country today, then, is both anarchy (the failure of the state to enforce the laws) and, at the same time, tyranny—the enforcement of laws by the state for oppressive purposes; the criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent through exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation, the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions, such as the family and local schools; the imposition of thought control through “sensitivity training” and multiculturalist curricula, “hate crime” laws, gun-control laws that punish or disarm otherwise law-abiding citizens but have no impact on violent criminals who get guns illegally, and a vast labyrinth of other measures. In a word, anarcho-tyranny.
The laws that are enforced are either those that extend or entrench the power of the state and its allies and internal elites … or else they are the laws that directly punish those recalcitrant and “pathological” elements in society who insist on behaving according to traditional norms—people who do not like to pay taxes, wear seat belts, or deliver their children to the mind-bending therapists who run the public schools; or the people who own and keep firearms, display or even wear the Confederate flag, put up Christmas trees, spank their children, and quote the Constitution or the Bible—not to mention dissident political figures who actually run for office and try to do something about mass immigration by Third World populations.”
Thanks! I was fortunate enough to know Sam a little bit; we worked together when I was an editorial writer at The Washington Times. I came on board just before he was fired for writing his infamous “racist” column on slavery. One of the reasons I’ve grown to loathe Republicans is because of the way they screwed Sam over and cravenly apologize whenever some left-liberal accuses them of being “insensitive.” The Times was full of such; man, could I tell you some stories! Welcome to th site, by the way…
This ain’t shit. It’s about to get a lot worse. Government needs to come with with $14,000,000,000,000+ somehow. That is many traffic tickets.
We could sell the Chinese a couple of our aircraft carriers as a substantial down-payment. If we would just withdraw to our own sphere of influence instead of continuing trying to play world policeman forever there is a whole lot of money that could be better spent in fact.
Agree completely. Our “defense” budget is an outrage. If we scaled back to legitimate defense of the United States, we could cut it in half (or more) and to a great extent the problems the Federal government has, money-wise, would go away. Of course, the bastards would then just spend the money on some other asinine make-work project or payola scam – instead of allowing us to keep it instead.
If we cut back on fuel consumption by 50 percent we would save trillions of dollars but you would not have that. We need to have your high speed cars or is it 60 hp cars. You complain about both sides.
Who is “we,” Clover? Us non-Clovers are individuals and we have individual (and different) wants and needs. Why can’t you be content to drive whatever type of vehicle suits your needs and wants – and drive it as you see fit – and leave others to do the same? Because you are a Clover! A collectivist busybody who uses “we” to impose his views on others. You can’t stand it that others don’t see things as you do – but that’s not what makes you a Clover. It’s ok to not agree with others, or to think they’re morons, even. What makes you a Clover is that you’re not going to be content until you can force others to do what you think they should. That is the 100 proof essence of Cloverism.
Wow, now that makes sense. Let’s cut back on fuel consumption (save money) and give the money we save to the government! Shit man, that is perfect. Maybe we should all start using coupons at the grocery store too and give that savings to the government as well! I think you are on to something with this!
I know how to cut fuel consumption dramatically, end the wars and close all the overseas military bases. The US supposedly consumes more oil based fuels than any other nation. The US’s biggest consumer of these fuels by far is the US military. Turn off this unproductive war machine and watch gas prices crash instantly. (BTW, gasoline is like 13 cents a gallon in 1964 pocket change right now)
Absolutely. How much gas (ok, kerosene – but still) does one F-18 burn during an hour’s flight time? Probably the equivalent of one SUV’s fuel consumption for two or three months.
Dudes, how freaking long are we going to be “enablers” for this war machine with our tax dollars?
*thanks for the term Brent P.
In my day, (I am 53), growing-up in suburban Detroit, it was a given that drag-racing was permitted up to 15 over the posted 65 mph speed limit on Woodward Ave. I once had a friend who in 1974 blew his left front tire drag-racing at over 100 on Woodward, who lost control, spun through the median, across 4 lanes of opposite-direction traffic, and ended-up in a parking lot without hitting anyone, and he was ticketed for “no turn signal”. These days the ticket would have been worth a lost license and hard time, and most likely the cops would have beaten him up too.
Back in the mid-1970s the cops in suburban Detroit were just as likely to want to smoke some of your grass with you as they were to want to take it away. One time the cops made us dump our bag out in the grass late one night. Five minutes later we drove right around and picked it back up. In 1977 I saw a cop in Cleveland pull a guy’s baggie out of his pocket, unroll it, smell it, and then ask the guy how much he paid for it. When the guy told him, the cop rolled the bag back up, and gave it back to him, and told him that he had been ripped-off, then the cop got his own bag of good green bud out of his uniform pocket and showed it around to everyone in the gas station where I worked. He said that his was much better!!!
Where I live now there is a simple fact of law-enforcement. When times are good, they seem to care less about most minor stuff. Now that times are not so good, suddenly there are cops everywhere trying desperately to over-write huge fines hoping to get paid the following week. There are rampant stories of cops bribing people on the side of the road, and there are rampant stories of cops falsifying tickets to try to grab a little extra income too. Perhaps it is time for the cops to get laid-off like everyone else instead? When I see that every cop in the department drives a brand-new $40K dually Dodge pickup or Cadillac, something is wrong, as they can afford more car than I can afford, even though I make double their official salary.
I know one thing, which is that America is no longer the home of the free and the land of the brave. No, nowadays we are the land of the scammer and the home of the jailed, a place where our law enforcement community is rapidly getting out of control, a place where law-enforcement is entirely about how much money that they can steal from the little guy, while the rich get away with stealing our jobs and fleecing as many poor people as is possible. I feel sorry every time when I read that some young person has been sent off to jail for something that we used to laugh-off years ago, but if anyone tries to do anything about it, they get a gun stuck in their face and they get thrown in jail too. Whatever happened to government BY the people???
I worked for the state of Florida for a couple years after college. I worked in the budget office for the Dept. of Business and Professional regulation.
One of my responsibilities was to estimate revenues for the various state agencies. One of those agencies was the Florida Highway Patrol.
All state agencies would get an appropriation out of the “General Revenue Fund” but if they were an agency that had the means of generating its own revenue then they would receive less from the GR fund and be expected to
“fund themeselves” to a greater degree. An example is the medical licensing board which receives a fee from doctors to get licensed. Another example is the Florida State Highway Patrol.
So now you’re thinking: how does the FHP generate revenue? Citations! Period. They were in fact dependent on citations to simply cover their operating budget. It was expected that they would generate up to 40% of their operating budget
this way and so as they received less and less money each year from the GR fund they became more and more dependent on issuing citations just to stay in business. The officers jobs became dependent on it. So an officer’s job was really
a matter of issuing citations so he could have a job.
The economic incentive structure is so peversly skewed it’s pathtetic.
This is such an obvious (and disgusting) conflict of interest, yet not many people notice or care. Attaching a profit motive to law enforcement is crazy – unless you want Third World-style law enforcement. Which is just what we do have. Clovers will say, but the cop isn’t pocketing the money! Which is true… if you don’t count his salary, or the car he’s driving around in… which may have been seized over its previous owner having been caught at a seatbelt checkpoint with a dime bag of pot.
Tell me since you are the expert, how many tickets were given out on the interstates at 5 mph or less over the limit? Are there no more speeders on the highway? What would people drive like if there was zero enforcement? I have to say that I already know the anwsers to these but I want you to tell us the anwsers.
The point, Clover, is that people can be ticketed for the nonsense offense of “speeding’ even 1 MPH over our under-posted speed limits. 55 was ridiculous; things are better now – but still, most highways are posted at or lower than the average speeds intended by the designers of the Interstate system 60 years ago. I already explained what I think a reasonable maximum speed limit (again, not average speed – the maximum speed) ought to be on most highways today, based not on my opinion or personal prejudices but on the 85th Percentile Rule, which is the procedure for establishing speed limits set forth in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) which is what states and localities are supposed to use to set their limits but almost never do.
So, we have under-posted limits that correspond with low average speeds, which a majority of the cars on the road are already exceeding (rightly so). The fact that speed limits are so widely ignored ought to tell you something (bad) about the limits, not those who ignore them.
Dont forget the poster boy for these stupid laws. Jeffery Daumer was an early release to make room for pot smokers.
It is not possible to take the position that people should be arrested/jailed merely for the act of consuming pot or any other drug so long as other drugs, such as alcohol remain legal. It no more follows that a person who smokes pot is going to commit crime (or has enabled others to commit crime by dint of having bought the pot) than it does that a person who drinks is going to commit crime because he imbibed, or enables others to commit crimes by having funded their activities via the purchase of booze). Only two type of people support the “war on drugs” – idiots who can’t reason and the people who profit from the “war,” including the cops, judges, courts and prison.
PS: I know someone will ask, even though it’s irrelevant to the discussion so, here goes: No, I don’t smoke pot or touch drugs (other than coffee) and haven’t since college, more than 20 years ago. But I did smoke a little in college – like almost everyone else did – and it never made me do anything but eat too much and sleep too late.
“In the midst of this endless variety of opinion, what man, or what body of men, has the right to say, in regard to any particular action, or course of action, “We have tried this experiment, and determined every question involved in it? We have determined it, not only for ourselves, but for all others? And, as to all those who are weaker than we, we will coerce them to act in obedience to our conclusion? We will suffer no further experiment or inquiry by any one, and, consequently, no further acquisition of knowledge by anybody?”
Who are the men who have the right to say this? Certainly there none such. The men who really do say it, are either shameless impostors and tyrants, who would stop the progress of knowledge, and usurp absolute control over the minds and bodies of their fellow men; and are therefore to resisted instantly, and to the last extent; or they are themselves too ignorant of their own weaknesses, and of their true relations to other men, to be entitled to any other consideration than sheer pity or contempt.”…
…”The object aimed at in the punishment of crimes is to secure,to each and every man alike, the fullest liberty he possibly can have — consistently with the equal rights of others — to pursue his own happiness, under the guidance of his own judgment, and by the use of his own property. On the other hand, the object aimed at in the punishment of vices, is to deprive every man of his natural right and liberty to pursue his own happiness, under the guidance of his own judgment, and by the use of his own property.
These two objects, then, are directly opposed to each other. They are as directly opposed to each other as are light and darkness, or as truth and falsehood, or as liberty and slavery. They are utterly incompatible with each other; and to suppose the two to be embraced in one and the same government, is an absurdity, an impossibility. It is to suppose the objects of a government to be to commit crimes, and to prevent crimes; to destroy individual liberty, and to secure individual liberty.”
We’ve learned nothing in 150 years.
When was the last time anyone heard of someone committing a crime while stoned or even in an attempt to feed his pot habit? Pot is so plentiful and cheap even high school kids can afford it.
That one is the funniest of all. Pot is a gateway drug! Yea, a gateway to a Cheetos addiction and a fatter waistline.
NEVER! You never hear this and you never will!
My brother would disagree; he’d say pot is illegal so it must be dangerous! Also that “society” has voted to make it illegal, which means the laws making it illegal are good!
Actually I do take issue with speeding and drunk driving. It one thing to complain about going a tad over the speed limit (everyone’s done that) but another when it comes to outright speeding or, worse, racing. I’m sure most people have seen the remnants of cars (even Ferraris)after the driver has lost control at high speed. On the other hand, the show “Mythbusters” proved that both talking on a cell phone and being lightly drunk makes a person an unsafe driver.
To go for the Libertarian belief that “as long as no one get hurt” is akin to Chief Wiggum’s belief that you can’t do anything to someone who’s intent on murdering you until that person begins the attack.
It’s not “speed” – its inappropriate speed (for the car, for conditions… and most of all, for the driver) that is the problem. But there’s a continuum here. Clover may not be able to safely handle a car at 80 MPH; there are plenty of drivers who can, though. Should the good (naturally talented/trained) drivers be held to a dumbed-down standard to accommodate the Clovers? To what extent?
On drinking: Same thing. People process alcohol differently and they have varying skill sets as a baseline. In other words, a great driver with excellent reflexes will still be a better driver after two drinks than a baseline average driver who has had just one (or even no) drinks.
Also, the stat that really matters is that accidents – not being caught in a “sobriety checkpoint” – correlate with BAC levels of .10 or higher (which is why that used to be the standard). Describing as “drunk”a person wo has a BAC of .06 or less is just silly. It’s not just unfair, it cheapens the act of really driving drunk in the same way that hassling people for doing 75 or 80 on the Interstate cheapens the charge of “speeding.”
So, how to deal with the problem? Just like we do other crimes. We wait for someone ( a specific individual,not a generic class, such as “anyone who rolls through a checkpoint”) to give evidence, probable cause, that they might be impaired – whether by liquor or by old age or some other thing. If a person is driving erratically, pull them over and check them out. No one has a beef with that – or ought to. But I – and others – do have a beef with being stopped for absolutely no reason and subjected to an interview and examination of my vehicle and “papers” on the theory that myself or some other person may be doing something illegal. It’s un-American, like these TSA gate rapes and all the rest of it.
That’s the crux of the issue as I see it.
@Gil – if a loved one of yours was killed in an automobile accident would you feel better about it if they were killed by a tired driver who fell asleep at the wheel than if they were killed by a drunk driver who fell asleep at the wheel? Responsibility behind the wheel is responsibility behind the wheel regardless. To pick some arbitrary numbers of speeds and BAC and treat people as criminals is just abusive and irresponsible. You want to ensure no accidents? You can do two things: outlaw cars. Dumb I know. Or make all speed limits everywhere 25 mph. But then that defeats the purpose of having cars. So he is to determine the “right” speed or BAC? Who has such infinite wisdom to do such a thing for a country of 300 million? If the gov feels we’re too irresponsible to take personal responsibility for our actions and we have a gov of and by the people then that means those in gov come from that same irresponsible pool of people. The only just and efficient solution to an imperfect problem is to hold people accountable for their actions WHEN and IF they actually threaten to violate or violate others rights.
In other words, let the irresponsible endanger and intimidate people until someone finally gets hurt. Apparently it’s unfair for drivers to be sober and save very high speeds and racing for the race tracks.
No, that’s not how I see it. Your premise assumes that (for instance) “speeding” (i.e., driving faster than a number on a sign) or having a little alcohol (note – not “drunk” – just a little alcohol) makes you an irresponsible danger by definition. I don’t think it necessarily does, for the reasons explained earlier. For instance, a very good driver in a well-kept modern car may be a safer, less-crash-prone driver at 85 mph on the highway than the Clover doing 62. Why should the good driver be subjected to fines (and tagged as an “unsafe driver”) simply by dint of his driving faster than a number literally pulled out of a bureaucrat’s hat? (Most speed limits are not set according to established traffic safety engineering principles, such the 85th Percentile rule, per the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices).
Similarly, why should a person whose driving gives no reason for suspecting impairment be harassed?
Meanwhile, there are no “drowsy driver” checkpoints, or crucifiction of drivers distracted by children, or addled by senility.
On the latter: Old drivers are greatly indulged in this country, even when when they’re obviously past it – and as clear and present a danger to themselves and others as a hard-core drunk on a bender. For instance, the old coot who can barely see, wandering across the double yellow, breezing through red lights, hitting the gas instead of the brake pedal and driving through a plate glass window, not “seeing” the other car… etc. I’ve yet to see a “senile driver” checkpoint.” And the same cop who will eagerly bust me for not wearing my seatbelt or driving 10 MPH over the limit will patiently follow the old coot doing 27 in a 45… and is highly unlikely to even pull the driver over, let alone give the driver a ticket for obstructing traffic. Right?
Does it not seem more reasonable to base law enforcement on actual harm done (or clearly threatened) rather than continually dumb it down, and base it on the assumption that, for instance, if a Clover can’t handle it (such as driving faster than the speed limit) then no one else can?
Poor diddems. I did point out there’s a difference between someone going a tad over the speed limit and another who treats the streets as racetracks and other cars as racing competitors. Last time I looked streets and highways don’t have to be maintained to racetrack standards or that cars have to be built to racecar standards.
Conversely, a “little” alcohol is arbitrary as drinkers are the worst at guessing their own sobriety. Apparently a lot of people forget alcohol is a sedative and as such the body’s alert and reaction time is dulled.
Yes, but how do you define a “tad” over? Is your arbitrary definition of a “tad” by definition the right one?
Consider: Before Congress repealed the 55 MPH limit, one could get a major ticket for doing 70 – 15 over the limit, much more than a “tad” as most people would probably define it. Was that fair? In many areas today, speed limits on highways and secondary roads are similarly ridiculous – and driving a lot more than a “tad” faster than the officially allowed maximum is by no means necessarily “unsafe” – let alone remotely equivalent to firing a gun into a crowd.
On alcohol: What is the objective standard for assessing that a driver is impaired? The old .10 BAC standard was based on data that showed a clear correlation between accidents and that level of alcohol in one’s system. The .08 BAC standard is a political standard; it posits “impairment” but does not correlate with actual accidents. And defining as “drunk” (or even significantly impaired) drivers those with even lower BAC levels is just silly, absent some evidence that they are actually operating at diminished capacity, such as erratic driving.
Defining BAC? That’s easy – get people tipsy and have them do a driving test and watch people who think they’re fine fail test after test after test. In “Mythbusters” the testers were below 0.08% hence other countries have 0.05% limit. Guys who think they’re better drivers when drinking also think alcohol sharpens their ability to speak better, chat up women and fight.
I didn’t ask you to define BAC. I asked you to define what BAC constitutes impaired driving in every person. Because if not every person is in fact impaired at a given BAC, then it is inaccurate to describe them as such and unjust to punish them for it. Every person who steals is a thief. But not every person who has a drink or two in their system is “drunk.”
You can certainly say (and prove) that some people are impaired at “x” BAC, but that doesn not mean all or even necessarily most people are. And, again, impairment is relative. As an example: I would bet you – I know – that I would do better negotiating an autocross with two or three beers in me than my 80-year-old father completey sober. Despite the beer, my vision and reflexes are still better than his. Yet he’d sail through a “sobriety checkpoint,” his glaucoma and arthritis notwithstanding.
I’m not saying I would or should drive with 2-3 beers in me. I am just making a point, using logic and reason.
“Mythbusters” is not definitive/omniscient. Neither are you. Or me. So, what’s the reasonable answer? Base impairment on tangible, real evidence of impaired driving. Not hypotheticals, not “what the Europeans do.” They also ban guns – in the hands of people who obey gun bans, anyhow. Should we emulate that, too?
If someone is driving erratically or irresponsibly – fine, go after them. But if not, then there’s no reason to bother them.
The BAC is relative and as such a man has to drink more than a woman to reach 1.0% I suppose the only way you would have people figure out whether they can drive drunk is when they have a crash – much better.
Gee didn’t you see the “Mythbusters” episode where actually had people behind the wheel on a test course. How is that not simulating street driving? You’re being hypothetical saying people are fine driving when they’re drunk. The big factor against drinking is Change Blindness – drunks may be able to drive mostly straight but are slow to react should something out of the ordinary happen like someone crossing the street.
No – again – the way to deal with this fairly and reasonably is to have cops patrol the road and look for drivers who are exhibiting signs of impairment, such as erratic/reckless driving. Then test them – and charge/prosecute/punish them. You appear to endorse blanket, probable cause-less “sobriety checkpoints” that subject everyone to an examination/interrogation, very much like Soviet proles. America used to be a place where you had to do something or at least give some specific reason for a cop to believe you were doing something or had done something or might be about to do something. Not anymore. Courtesy of Clovers and Cloverite attitudes.
These loathsome “sobriety checkpoins” are an affront to bedrock principles of Western law; specifically, that you are innocent until proved guilty. Instead, things are reversed. You must prove you are not “guilty” (been drinking) and if you decide, seeing an annoying roadblock up ahead, to turn around and avoid it because you just don’t want to be hassled and have to deal with a cop for no reason – bet your ass they’ll run after you and possibly Taser you and certainly give you the 9th degree (plus as many tickets as they can think up) even if you haven’t had a drink since last year sometime.
And: You keep referencing “Mythbusters” as if a TV show were dispositive. Does that mean because I saw Gilligan surf a tidal wave that I can do that, too?
Are you so obtuse as to compare a show with real people doing real activities against against a fictional show? Do you presume any TV show that shows drunk people failing behind the wheel as acting? Uh oh! I guess no one landed on the Moon either.
Gil, It’s a freaking TV show! Semi-serious, but for entertainment primarily! And you’re treating it as though it were some sort of peer-reviewed study!
Putting drunk people in a car on a test course is replicable experiment which just happens to bring up the same results for different people most of whom are surprised because they thought they were fine. “Mythbusters” isn’t the only ones who have done it. I would like to see a show where drunk people drove fine because such a show has never aired.
It’s a freakin’ TV show! It’s not science; it’s entertainment.
You keep dodging the point here. Yes, some people are impaired with “x” amount of liquor in their system. But not all people. And some people are also impaired by poorer than average reflexes and vision, too – even if they haven’t had a drop to drink.
The relevant thing is whether they are giving evidence of impairment in terms of their handling of their car – in which case, they should be taken off the road. Subjecting random drivers to “stop and frisk” searches for absolutely no reason is an outrage. But to a Clover, it is fine and dandy because there’s no degradation of privacy or dignity that’s not justified in the pursuit of “safety” and “doing right.”
I think lowering the speed limit makes people less aggressive. That’s probably one of the reason other than confiscating more money. They want your money, and they don’t want you be aggressive. They are doing this here and there, little by little over time, boiling the frog in warm water. That’s the objective. It sounds like conspiracy theory, but without that, you can’t explain why all the changes in past 10 years.
My experience has been that artificially low speed limits (i.e., speed limits set at or below the normal/average flow of traffic) actually make drivers more aggressive, not less, because of the increase in stress and tension that comes from what amounts to a rolling roadblock created by Clovers “doing the limit” (or less). People tailgate and swerve. I’m not justifying that; tailgating and swerving are just as bad as Clovers. But Cloverism leads to tailgating and all the rest of it. Reasonable limits that enable people to drive at reasonable speeds for the road without having to constantly worry about being ticketed for “speeding” or having to deal with Clovers impeding their travel, leads to less aggression (and tension) on the road. And that, in turn, makes the roads – and driving – safer. Consider, for example, the German Autobahns. Much higher speeds, but less aggravation, tension and what we call “road rage.” Clovers can drive at their pace; faster drivers at a faster pace. Slower drivers are taught to yield as a matter of course – and this is enforced very aggressively, too. (Failure to yield on the Autobahn is treated the same as we treat “speeding” – or even more seriously).
In sum: The root of the problem is two-fold. First, absurd traffic laws based not on realistic considerations such as reasonable rates of travel but rather on arbitrary and often least-common-denominator “rules.” Second, Clovers – a breed of person who reflexively worships rules – because they’re rules. Clovers are encouraged by absurd traffic laws rather than chastened by reasonable ones. So we get more Clovers – and more absurd laws. It’s a feedback loop that just gets stronger and stronger over time.
I don’t think it’s possible to state this more clearly than you have above!
I agree that it should be illegal to destroy Ferraris, but as it isn’t yet illegal for a person to lose control and wreak a Ferrari, I don’t quite get Gil’s argument.
At one time, it was common to believe people were innocent until proven guilty.
Now, a person doesn’t even have to commit a crime – merely being accused of being dangerous will bring on the fines, jailtime, forfeiture of assets, etc, etc. Who cares if the speeder didn’t hurt anybody or anything (besides their own liver), the mere thought that someone could possibly have been hurt is so offensive that the speeder is made to suffer and pay.
At one time, it was considered noble to die for freedom. But now, people don’t want to be free to die, and don’t want anyone else to be free, either. And yet, for whatever reason, we have hundreds of thousands of Americans spread around the globe, dying for causes unrelated whatsoever with our freedom, while we willingly give it up for a false sense of safety here.
I’d vote for repealing the drunk driving, speeding, seat belt, and all other nanny-state laws, and harshly punishing those who wind up hurting other people — a real crime against another person.
Well-said Mike. Amen. Expect Clover to be chewing the carpet about now…
Gee, by your reasoning a person should have the legal right to fire a gun into a crowd as long as he doesn’t hit anyone. If people feel intimidated by the shooter then that’s their tough luck because it’s his right and he’s not hurting anyone.
No, that’s quite a different thing. Discharging a gun into crowd is by definition dangerous (homicidal). Not just sometimes. Every time. Without exception. “Speeding” isn’t. Neither is having a little alcohol in your system.
I’d much rather see traffic enforcement based on at-fault accidents – objective evidence of poor/unsafe driving. This (a determination that you caused an accident) could be the basis for severe sanctions, such as mandatory loss of driving privileges and remedial training/retesting before they are restored.
To me, this is not only much more fair than ticketing and otherwise punishing people over what often amount to “technical fouls” that may and often do have absolutely nothing to do with whether they are good drivers – it would actually do something about genuinely bad drivers,by identifying them based on objective criteria and getting them off the road.
Yes it’s the same thing – both are potentially deadly if something goes wrong but if something doesn’t then it’s perfectly safe.
Completely disagree. How can you equate shooting a gun into a crowd with driving faster than a number on a sign chosen arbitrarily by a bureaucrat? Do you honestly see this as equivalent? I know Clover does. I’m hoping you don’t!
So if someone can do 200mph on the highway in a Ferrari Enzo weaving back and through lanes passing others cars because it’s fun to do – is that safe? Losing control of a car on the highway at very high speed and smashing into another car is going to be a death sentence. Hence if a person is shooting into a crowd delibately missing people then he’s exercising his right to use his property anyway he sees fit providing he doesn’t hurt anyone.
Aren’t you being just a bit hysterical here? I said define a “tad” (your word) and you respond with “200 MPH and weaving back and forth… ”
c’mon. Be serious.
Is 15 over too fast? Or just 5?
What is the “right” speed limit?
I would argue a “tad” is no more than 5 mph over the speed limit. In other words enough that no one would know your over the limit unless they have testing equipment. However I don’t go your Sorites Paradox Fallacy – 1 mph over the speed limit doesn’t increase the danger nor does going 2 mph over therefore 150 mph isn’t dangerous because it’s collisions that kill not speed in itself.
So, you think it’s reasonable – fair – to give people tickets for exceeding an arbitrary, artificially low limit by as little 5 MPH… ok. That’s your opinion. I don’t think it has anything more to it than the arbitrary personal preference you express. Example: According to your logic as just expressed, driving 60 on a highway prior to to repeal of the 55 limit was a “tad” too much – and deserving of a ticket. Even though it is now (once again) legal to drive considerably faster than 60 on most of those highways.
Does this make sense to you? It doesn’t to me.
Well why not go the other way and tell me whether a person should be alloewd to do whatever hell speed they like whenever and wherever they like provided they don’t lose control of their car and hurt (or kill) anyone else? If some own street legal cars that can easily go 200mph they ought to be able to do just that because such high-powered cars also have other built-in features that makes such high speed relatively safe for them even though most people own cars that can’t go much over 100mph.
You’re the one being hysterical here – not me. Why do you equate criticism of any speed limit with advocating “…200 MPH driving, weaving and out… and being allowed to do whatever the hell speed they like”… ? It’s silly, Clover-like reasoning.
All I’ve written about here is that current speed limits are set well below reasonable/safe rates of travel and that to a great extent speed enforcement is about revenue enhancement, not “safety.”
How about debating that rather than setting up these Cloverite straw men?
What strawman argument? If a person owns a vehicle that can do 200mph and they want to drive along an open highway at 200mph then why can’t they? If such a person only does it during fine weather and light traffic such that the chances of hurting others is minimal then why should they be prevented from doing so?
It’s a straw man argument – by definition – because you are arguing against something I never advocated (200 MPH cars running 200 MPH; and let’s not forget the “weaving” parts, either).
What I did advocate is for reasonable speed limits and traffic enforcement, which we don’t have now.
You admit up top that speeding isn’t dangerous. So why should there be a limit at all? If someone owns drives a Buggati Veyron or a Aero SSC and on a long straight stretch of highway with few to no cars and want to go as fast as they can for a short spell, why can’t they? Since such cars are meant to very high speeds then they’ll be find and will hurt no one. Suddenly you’re becoming a “clover” and argue maybe there is a maximum speed limit for everyone regardless of the car they drive.
You keep setting up straw man arguments.
I said that current speed limits are underposted and therefore unreasonable. Your straw man argument is that I am advocating any speed and specifically, extreme speeds ((200 MPH and weaving, too!) ). I never did anything remotely like that, though. Instead, I have been advocating for reasonable traffic laws and enforcement. I suspect you realize you can’t effectively argue that current speed limits and enforcement are reasonable, so you posit your straw man extreme argument in lieu of what I actually stated, so that you can impute unreasonableness to me instead of to yourself.
So why is 80mph “reasonable”? That’s your opinion. And if someone think 120mph is “reasonable” to them? Or 200mph? Why not let people with supercars drive as fast as they think “reasonable”? That’s why they paid the big bucks for.
80 (or thereabouts) is reasonable, Clover II, because it comports with the 85th Percentile Rule for setting speed limits, which I have already explained several times. But let me try again, because I know that with Clovers it takes a long time to get through… if you ever do get through:
* Do a traffic survey and measure the average speed of traffic on the highway.
* On most non-urban highways, traffic currently flows around 70 MPH, on average.
* The speed limit should be higher than the average flow of traffic. It is idiotic to call it a “limit” (implying the fastest safe rate of travel) when virtually all the cars are toddling long at that speed – or faster.
* Given the above and given the 85th Percentile rule, a reasonable limit for most current U.S. highways would be around 80-85 MPH.
Think about it, oh Clover II.
First, the Interstates were designed to handle safe average speeds of 70 – assuming the cars of 60 years ago. We have had six decades of advances in engineering and technology.
Second, most states have re-set their highway limits to at least 65, if not 70.
Is a limit of 80 really that crazy sounding? All of 5-10 MPH higher than current posted maxes?
Yeah. I forget. To a Clover, speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeding is worse than pederasty.
That should read “80mph feels about right to you”. Why care about the average speed when most people drive average cars? What about those who own high-powered cars especially compared to the high-powered cars of 50 years ago? Those with a modern 8 or more cylinder car could probably drive safely in the 120mph or so range even though those who own 4-cylinder car wouldn’t. So why is even 100mph “unsafe” to you? You like quoting a government study about speed limits yet dismiss all studies about drunken driving as quackery.
No, Clover II, it’s like this (and I have already explained it multiple times):
The average speed of most cars on most rural Interstate highways is now in the 70 MPH range. Most rural speed limits are currently in the 65-70 range. In other words, current typical highway speed limits correspond with the average flow of traffic. But a limit is supposed to be just that – a limit. The fastest reasonable speed for that road. Not the average speed. The limit should be higher than the average speed, in accordance with the 85th percentile rule and to allow for cars that are (reasonably) going a bit faster than the average speed of traffic.
80-85 MPH would be just that – a reasonable speed limit; about 5-10 MPH faster than the current average speed of traffic.
Cars traveling faster than the average speed would use the left lane(s). Slower traffic, the right lanes. Slower traffic yields to faster traffic. Everyone’s happy. It allows, safe, efficient travel at reasonable speeds. This is how it’s done in Germany and some other European countries – and they have higher speeds and fewer fatalities than we do.
Apparently, speed does not kill over there, oh Clover II.
Part of the reason why is that people exercise lane courtesy and yield to faster-moving cars – automatically, reflexively. Just the opposite of Cloverites such as yourself who think it’s their role in life to make sure no one drives faster than they do and who think posted speed limits must be the righteous, because, after all, they’re the posted speed limit! Government bureaucrats always select the right limit. They are just trying to protect us. Safety! What about the children!
Once again most people drive at “average” speeds because most people own “average” cars. Since most people own 4-cylinder cars should speed limits be dictated by what is believed to reasonable to 4-cylinder cars. Tough luck if you own a car with 8 – 12 cylinders. Likewise you 80-85mph is reasonable which translates in “reasonable by your standards”. You want to drive 80-85mph so why can’t someone choose to drive 100-150mph if they have a car that can? You would be a “clover” to them. After all, what would you think if the sign are changed to 85mph only to find many people want to driving faster again?
Sigh. Clover II, you need to update your hard drive. First, modern four cylinder cars – “average” cars – have as much or more power than the V-6 powered (and even V-8 powered) cars of the 1970s and ’80s. Many have 200 hp or more. (This is more hp than a late ’70s Trans-Am or Z28 with V-8 engines as large as 6.6 liters.)
Even a new Kia or Hyundai subcompact economy car can effortlessly handle cruising along at 70-75 MPH. I test drive new cars every week and have been doing it for 20 years. I’ve driven virtually every car made. I know what I am talking about from direct, personal experience. Can you say that?
Any current-year or recent vintage (within the past 10 years) V-6 powered car can easily do 130 or more. Etc. Etc. So “average” cars are more than capable of dealing with a speed limit of – gasp! – 80-85 MPH. And no one is saying they all need to drive tha fast, oh Clover II. That’s why it’s called a speed limit.
The point, again, is that a speed limit should be higher than the routine, average flow of traffic. Gawd. How many times does it take to get that concept through the Cloverite skull?
I like Gil. He makes sense. Eric says that speed limits are too low. Ok, increase them 20 mph and then he will say a day later, speed limits are too low, increase them another 20 mph and a day later, speed limits are too low. It sounds like Texas is changing some roads to 85 mph. Eric will say the speed limit is too low. I can safely drive 120 mph. changing speed limits would be a never ending job. There are always people that drive 10 mph over the limit and then complain speed limits are too low. They change them by 10 mph and they go 10 mph faster. Yes there will be people with brains driving slower to save fuel for one thing like the guy that said when he tried 80 mph he could see his gas gauge go down so he dropped to 72.
Actually, Clover, I would perfectly happy with reasonable speed limits. What is reasonable? A limit – that is, a maximum; not the average speed of traffic – that is about 10-15 MPH faster than the average speed of traffic. In other words, a limit that comports with the 85th percentile rule (which is how speed limits are supposed to be set). So, what would that be? On most rural highways, it would be around 80-85 MPH.
Given that the Interstate Highway System was designed (60 years ago) for average speeds around 70 MPH, surely even you won’t find this excessive, let alone unreasonable. Not everyone would have to drive 80-85; most cars would still probably be running around 70. But people running 80-ish would not have to fear being issued trumped-up “speeding” and “reckless driving” tickets, as they are today.
But – oops! – I forget…. you’re a Clover!
I bet you like Gil. He is obviously a clover! Your logic is solid and the pattern is easy to recognize. You want to move backward. Why even have vehicles in the perfect clover world. We’ll just locomote via sneaker power.
I disagree with your premise.
/changing speed limits would be a never ending job./
There will be a point of diminishing returns. Regardless of the PSL, most people will not drive faster than what they think is safe for their abilities and/or vehicles.
If there was no speed limit, I would rarely travel above 80mph on the interstates. Some would travel faster, but do not think there would be many (as a percentage).
If traffic density is light, then I think the Interstate could accommodate some variation of speed provided:
1) People kept to right except to pass
2) People yield the left lane to those traveling faster than they are traveling when safe to do.
If these fast travelers were traveling erratically, then the police could pull them over for their erratic behavior.
Once traffic density builds up, it is IMO impractical for high speed (>60mph) travel. This is especially true in the North East or urban areas.
IFR equipment to catch people not wearing their seat belts!? You have got to be shitting me!
In the small west Texas town where I grew up drag racing was “allowed” by the local authorities; a line of 20-30 cars would make the journey from the Sonic drive-in out of town to a 1/4 mile marked with spray paint on a two-lane road between two cotton fields. The crimes committed by this group on the way there were almost uncountable, and then there were a few races. The sheriff’s dept. had followed the group and after a few runs would pull up and tell everyone to go home. Tickets were seldom issued.
My BFF and I did get ticketed in the summer of 1981 for “Competition for Speed” however. We were at the edge of town in a 35MPH zone. The cops caught up to us at his house, and said they had clocked us at 118.
What happened to us? Did our cars get seized? Hauled off to jail? Felony charges?
Nope: $40 fine. No speeding tickets.
I can’t figure out what happened to my generation. I’m 47 and it’s people my age who are coming up with all this “zero tolerance” BS in schools and carrying the same ideas with them when they get to the state house. What planet are they from? I never met them when I was growing up…
I’m not far behind you and I don’t get it, either.
America has gone off the deep end. I think part of the reason has to do with decreasing economic stability, which makes people feel insecure and yearn for “order.” Also, there has been a juggernaut of authority worship since 9/11 that I will forever hate The Chimp and every Republican who enabled him and his deconstruction of the remains of the Bill of Rights for having done. The Chimp double-timed the march toward the abyss. We were headed there anyhow, but he really moved things forward. Just look how far we have come in ten years:
* Public acceptance of openly probable cause-free wiretaps.
* Public acceptance of “night and fog” Nazi-style arrests off the street, on nothing more than the say-so of the head thug.
* Public acceptance of felon-style pat downs just to get on a damn airplane.
I don’t recognize the country anymore. If there were anywhere left to go, I’d consider going there….
Hey AngryOldMan, I’m a 47-year-old as well and I get what you’re saying. I’ve recently reconnected with colleagues from high school on Facebook and I’ve come to find out that I went to school with a bunch of socialists. So many of them work for the gov and/or in public education. Some have flat out told me: we all need to sacrifice for the good of the whole. Wow! I felt like I’d fallen in the hive of the Borg. One school teacher even said after going through the TSA imaging machine: I don’t mind getting violated in order to be safe. I think it’s great that our female school teachers advocate being violated by the government. I’ll make sure my daughter is never “educated” by her.
In NC, we have a number of “declared rights”, but the chief and most interesting point is the recognition of “God, sovereign ruler of nations”.
I have repeatedly asked lawyers and judges why, if we are asked to swear on the bible to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God”, we can’t simply open the bible and base our defense on it, especially we took the oath on it, and not state laws. I have received no answer, only silence, crickets chirping. perhaps they’re enforcing their own right against self incrimination?
For example, Exodus 23:1-2, from the boof of North Carolina’s recognized sovereign, we see that no man is permitted to testify in a suit as a representative of “multitudes”. Such a person is called a “malicious witness”. Sounds like traffic cops to me.