The LCD

46
1837
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Think about something you’re better-than-average at. Better yet, something you’re good at. Now imagine being required by law – backed by the threat of violence for failure to comply – to dumb yourself down to the level of the average. Performance at a higher level puts you in violation – and subject to punishment.

Ridiculous?

Of course. But that doesn’t prevent it from being the basis of traffic law (and other laws besides).

Consider “jaywalking.” The law says this occurs when a pedestrian crosses a street before an “ok to proceed” light tells him he may. The legal premise is that the average person is too low-performance to gauge when he may safely cross the street. And he may well be. But – and here’s where it gets interesting – rather than using the situation as a teaching moment, our system immediately, reflexively, puts up a crutch (the “walk/don’t walk” light) and – much worse – turns a punitive eye toward the able and competent pedestrians who don’t need the light. Incentives, on the one hand, are created that encourage passivity (mindless compliance) while on the other, another salvo is fired at the exercise of initiative for the sole purpose of defeating it and encouraging an ever-more-passive populace.

Think about it.

And I choose the word think very deliberately.

Why, if the way is clear, should one not cross the street – irrespective of signs and lights? Because it is The Law, will be the reply of the authoritarian equalizer type I call Clovers. And The Law does not consider it relevant whether, in fact, the street was devoid of cars and it was safe therefore to cross. Not only reason but a defense based on the assertion of no harm done is no defense at all. Submit and Obey. That is what’s required. No matter how arbitrary, no matter how unreasonable. Just – do as you are told.

Laws against speeding are now similarly premised. There used to be a legally viable defense which amounted to convincing the judge that even though you may have been driving faster than the posted speed limit, the speed you were driving was not unsafe for conditions. The road was a major highway; the day was clear, traffic was light. You get the cop to concede your car was under control, that you were not weaving, drifting or otherwise doing anything obviously dangerous to others.

Forget about trying this line of reasoning today.

Because today, most speed limit laws are what lawyers call per se speed limit laws. It means you’re guilty of “speeding” regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions. In other words, your actual driving is irrelevant. All that matters, legally speaking, is that you have been caught exceeding whatever speed the bureaucrats have posted. Guilty. $300 fine plus court costs. We’ll be sure to let your insurance company know, too.

It’s exasperating because it’s both unjust and corrosive. Unjust, because arguably, no one should be subject to punishment absent provable harm having been committed. A truly guilty person (provided he’s not a sociopath) will feel guilt if he has done something to cause harm to another person. And he will accept his punishment with equanimity.

After all, he deserves it.

This is – or was – a fundamental tenet of Western (and American) law. It found expression in the old saying – no harm, no foul. That has been upended. Now people who do no harm are routinely judged “guilty” who have committed no foul – no harm – at all. And they resent it – rightly. You are just driving along, in full control of your vehicle, in no way causing or threatening to cause harm to anyone. But you are traveling faster than an arbitrarily decreed number. A cop observes you, not driving dangerously, merely driving faster than legally allowed. He pulls you over with much sturm und drang (usually accompanied by a cant-choked lecture about The Law) culminating in the issuance of a piece of paper ordering you to pay a large sum of money for no reason at all – other than your having “exceeded the posted speed limit.”

It makes you angry. Think about this. Most of us – who are not sociopaths – would not be angry at being caught (and punished) for having done something to harm others. But to be threatened by an armed man (or woman) merely for flouting some arbitrary convention – some “law” – when you know in your heart (and mind) that you were no threat to anyone? That “the law” in question is a technicality at best and an absurdity at worst? That will make any reasonable person very angry indeed.

And righteous anger of that sort is no good for the health of the system. It undermines legitimate law – and legitimate enforcement. It creates enmity where none ought to exist. It is responsible for the transformation of what used to be peace officers into law enforcement officers. Note the distinction. It is important. Peace officers maintain the peace. This is something all but the sociopaths among us would probably agree is desirable. But what does it mean to be a “law enforcement” officer? It means, to be a guy (or gal) with a gun and a badge who enforces whatever law happens to be on the books. To be callously, robotically indifferent to reason.

It does not matter to an “LEO” whether you are peaceful and harming no one. Whether you are competent – and your judgment sound. Whether – as in our original example – there was no traffic around and it was perfectly safe to walk across the street, even though the “walk” light hadn’t turned white yet.

All that matters to the LEO is – you guessed it – The Law.

Your judgment, even if provably sound, makes no difference. Your demonstrated ability to handle something with skill and competence – especially, higher skill and competence than the officially decreed “safe” average (however defined) – will only cause you problems if exercised. Slow down. Stop thinking so much. Wait for the light.

Submit. Obey.

Throw it in the Woods?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

46 COMMENTS

  1. Good points Eric. Howerver, you are not only bucking ‘City Hall’, but you are also challenging an entire industry, or several, since there are other simlar situations.

    This is not only a revenue source for governments. There are also a million underemplyed and hungry lawyers who would not like to see the end of traffic enforcements.

    The greatest crime in this structure is as you suggest, ‘that it diminishes reliance on common sense and individuality. I know Canada is a tiny bit exceptional, but I have seen busy intersections that functioned better when the traffic lights are not working. Human nature sometimes functions best when there are no ‘legal’ or insurance protections. In an intersection without traffic lights, nobody has an advantage under law if they enter the intersection.

    Sadly, to make this “Lawless” travel work there would need to be some attrition of idiots first.

    • Hi Paul!

      Good to have you with us – and, agreed. There have been experiments done (in Europe) with “lawless” intersections. Result? People learned to deal with it by learning to exercise their judgment. Traffic flowed smoothly – and safely.

      One of the worst attributes of our system of Submit and Obey is that it actively punishes the exercise of judgment, even when that judgment is demonstrably sound. A good example being “no right on red” laws. These assume everyone’s inept because some are inept – and punish the not-inept merely for declining to accept laws that treat them as though they are in fact inept.

      Maybe we’ll make some progress in 2012!

      • Don’t expect any change. This is a part of control politics and beyond that is nothing more than a part of the ongoing make-work process. Probably as much is spent on ‘traffic control’ as is spent on traffic infrastructure. In spite of the lack of new highways, I am expecting massive new taxes on gasoline in the near future.

        • I’m cynical abut this, too. So I practice avoidance and evasion. Among other things, I never drive without my V1 radar detector, which has kept me ticket-free in the PRV (People’s Republic of Virginia) for five years now.

  2. To me, this is a Cloverish statement: MikePizzo wrote, “Certainly, most jurisdictions enforce traffic laws with intent to generate revenue rather than maintain safe road conditions. But some places do need speed limits. For instance, those 25mph limits in school zones when kids are around.”

    Imagine a giant car-swallowing hole in the road which goes unrepaired for decades, at some point the group responsible for maintaining the road is at fault for damage caused by not repairing the hole,… right? The hole is known, the danger is known, placing a sign up saying slow down and watch for holes does not remove the negligence of those who maintain the road,… right?

    Why is it different for school zones?

    There is known danger, yet Nothing is done to Remove the danger. Are there plans to build pedestrian overpasses near schools to remove the danger from crossing the street? Are concrete walls being put in place between the street and the sidewalks to protect pedestrians? Why not?

    Some might say it’s too expensive (or worse, it’s too ugly) in which case the whole issue is one one of convenience over safety? It’s too inconvenient to remove the danger so we’ll all pretend things are safe because of a sign saying, slow down?

    Psft… wish I had time to write this up better, but I hope some People get the point I’m trying to make.

    The harm and the foul is in not building roads and such so that danger is removed all the while pretending “something” is actually being done.

    • Seven years late reply, but, there is a danger in this line of reasoning… see, it could also be used to justify straightening every somewhat fun road that hasn’t already been straightened to death.

      I, on the other hand, would be agitating to restore some curves on the logic that making roads too straight and boring makes it easier to fall asleep at the wheel.

  3. Jaywalking laws (and the signs) are absolutely a detriment to safety. You are right that people mindlessly obey them. When the walk signal turns white, they proceed with no regard for traffic. Will the perpendicular traffic stop before the crosswalk? Is someone going to run a red? More dangerously, is someone in the parallel traffic going to make a turn? I’ve seen many near collisions this way.

    On the other hand, when you jaywalk, you assume all the risk. So, when I make a decision to cross the street, I am cognizant of what traffic is doing everywhere.

    • Me too. But nowadays, not only does one risk being fined for doing that, you risk being assaulted by the cop (Tazered) for doing that.

      But ahm proud to be an ahhhhmerikun, where at least ah know I’m freeeeeeeeeeeee!

  4. here in ontario, it mostly comes down to extracting $ from motorists. Canada, not being in the “oppressive empire” business, (yet), the thought of gov’t conditioning the populace to ‘submit and obey’ dogma comes secondary to a stream of revenue. At least that’s how it appears to me. Every time I turn around, there’s a fine or fee for something.

    • Here too!

      Most egregious of all is the regime of automated cameras operated and administered by private companies. In other words, explicitly, openly, for-profit law enforcement. The company typically gets half the revenue stream. It amounts to millions of dollars.

      And when you put the profit motive into law enforcement, what do you suppose the result will be?

  5. While I appreciate these type of articles and the malevolence they reveal, we are dealing with a symptom here. The article speaks to facts of what is happening, but the why is even more important.

    The first rule of government is that it is always about money and power, and power is just control for future money extraction.

    Next is the fact that governments do not think. They are made up of individual actors that use the power imbued in government to pursue their own benefit–the “invisible hammer.”

    Therefore the cop is just a thug tax collector who arbitrarily taxes behavior. The judge has been let in on the resulting lucre with “court costs.” The political class then leverages the resulting “revenue” into votes, spending and padded personnel bank accounts.

    Of course if everyone quit “speeding” or “jaywalking,” the government would then have to turn to some other restriction for your “benefit” to extract revenue from–which is exactly what do.

    The end result of this continued shakedown, as the author states, and I embellish further, is the conversion of the people into submissive “piggy-banks.”

  6. Ted: “I’m a little jealous of the mindless clover. They’re oblivious. They probably have a lower incidence of hypertension, stress, strokes, heart disease, etc.”

    They got “the sugar”, though — as you can see when you look in their grocery carts. Mrs. Smith pies, Klondikes, Entenmann pecan rolls, Eggos, Cheese Puffs, Snickers Funpacks, Count Chocula for the kids … They lumber out to the parking lot, a Hostess Snoball in one hand and a Mountain Dew in the other, and climb into their SUVs, their brains freshly aflame with sugar, to drive, God help us.

    There’s a stretch of road between town and my turnoff that I call HUA Alley, after the L.A. cops’ description of the California Clover driving style: Head Up Ass. It is the most dangerous stretch in America. It starts at the Walmart turnout, and it is lined with eateries featuring ptomaine hotdogs and corn chips for those who didn’t refuel — or refuel enough — at Walmart. I drive through there on hyperalert, because you can rely on every stupid dangerous maneuver in the book happening right before your eyes. It’s like Klown Kars. Very little Visible Presence, presumably because the cops know they’re licked going in.

    • It must be relaxing to be oblivious. The problem is that, as in The Matrix, once you take the pill and see reality for what it is – and your fellow creatures for what they often are – there’s no going back and you’ll spend the rest of your days exasperated, angry or depressed.

      But you will be alive and alert. Awake.

      I’d rather be awake and more, am glad I am awake.

      Being a Clover – going through life a slavish, Obedient Worker (as George Carlin so beautifully phrased it) is a prospect so repugnant I’d rather proceed on my current path and stroke out or end up in a FEMA camp somewhere.

      Just looking at them is enough to creep me out. Servile. Passive. Usually overweight. Dull expressions, Defeated body posture.

      Ready to be ruled.

      • Like the Eloi in H.G. Wells’ Time Machine; they’ve been bred to be prey animals, and the Morlocks are licking their chops.

        When I learned of Wells’ history with the Fabian Society, and his role as an early proponent of the NWO, I couldn’t reconcile it with his vision of Morlocks and Eloi…until I understood a hideous truth: he WANTED it that way and relished being a Morlock.

        The Elite are very little people, in fact. But to maintain their delusion of superiority, they have to tear down excellence in the rest of us; poison the brains with fluoride, vaccines, psychotropic drugs, stupefying TV and “education”. Destroy the bodies with GM foods, fructose, statins, a cornucopia of toxic pharmaceuticals, and low-fat diets. Et Voila! A class of undermensch is created, justifying the inflated Elite ego.

        I used to marvel at the Soviet leaders, for what did they gain? Sure–they ruled Russia. But their perks sucked–I mean, come on, Zil limousines? Peasants in America had better Toyota Camries. But that wasn’t the point. No, the point was they had power to fill their empty souls.

        So if in the final plan we’re reduced to bovine blobs somnabulating through a short and bleak existence–but pumped so full of excitotoxins and SSRI’s that we’re ecstatic at the prospect–they’ll feel smug.

        God it’s all so small-minded. I WANT people smarter than I so I can have things to aspire to. I WANT everyone to be prosperous so Lamborghinis become a volume car and I can afford one too. And I want us to be looking upward and outward so we’ll colonize this solar system, get our eggs in many baskets, and open up some frontiers again.

        But the collectivists want stasis, stagnation, statism…and death.

        • Seven years late reply, but I don’t think you went far enough. I don’t think it’s quite right to say the collectivists want stagnation. What they really want is a version of “progress” so odious that I’d honestly prefer stagnation.

          But, in a way, there is stagnation too. Others have said things about this – where we once pushed the boundaries of what was possible, we now seem to have given up, admitted that all the major quality-of-life improvements have already been made, and gone off chasing poorly-thought-out “zero visions” (zero emissions, zero accidents, etc. etc. etc.) instead. So all the technological advances that could have gone towards making cars faster, more agile, more economical, and less expensive are instead used to comply with endless lists of heavy-handed and poorly-thought-out (if not actively malicious) rules and regulations while still retaining some semblance of capability.

    • I’ve often often wondered if blissful ignorance of the state of the world would be a blessing. But I’m a hardwired “red pill” personality. The truth may hurt, but it’s pain I’m willing to endure. I find that by knowing what’s really going on around me and society I’m seldom surprised or disappointed by the performance of my contemporaries. On the contrary, understanding how statist trained sheeple typically respond to given stimuli, one is able to practice a form of mental Aikido. You can often use the momentum of a clover’s own misconceptions and ignorance to guide them right past you in life and even get them to do what you want thinking it’s their idea. This is how I’ve managed to survive over 25 years of working in bureaucracy with (most of) my sanity intact….

      • “Mental Aikido”

        You know, I’ve been practicing aikido for well over a decade (karate as well), but have never put those two words together. -nice

  7. So which one is a clover? The one who mindlessly complies with these laws, or the one who mindfully complies? Both, right? I’m a little jealous of the mindless clover. They’re oblivious. They probably have a lower incidence of hypertension, stress, strokes, heart disease, etc. I think the mindful clover will eventually drive themselves crazy. They’ll eventually hit their limit and get marched off to some camp for “kicking against the pricks”. The same camp the mindless ones went to earlier because of the Big Macs, Wifi, and HD TV. I”ve noticed that there are a number of people who are “flexing their rights”, and documenting their success with video footage they upload onto the internet. Quite impressive, but not for long. One of these days they’re going to say, “Am I being detained?”, and the LEO is going to say, “Yes”, as he pulls out his tazer and fires. “Indefinitely.”. Twenty years ago you could get arrested for jaywalking, spend a weekend in jail and go before a judge Monday morning. Oh for the good ol’ days when you could work the system. Those days seem to be rapidly disappearing. I’d think about getting out before they tell you you don’t get a lawyer, or your day in court. If you don’t feel like a clover now, you will then.

    • Agree.

      It’s not being a Clover to comply with reasonable laws. For me, the question is about exercising judgment. If there’s a good reason to ignore a law – for example, laws that prohibit turning right on red even when it’s obviously clear and one can (assuming one is competent) make the turn safely – then by all means, ignore the law. Assuming you can get away with it, of course. Stupid, unreasonable laws don’t deserve respect and should be obeyed only when one has to for reasons of expediency. (There’s a cop nearby.)

      That said, you’re right about it getting to the point that non-compliance/gaming the system without major repercussions is becoming or may soon become impossible.

      If I were younger, I’d seriously consider emigrating to somewhere Else. Where Else, I don’t know because I don’t see liberty’s flag a’ furlin’ anywhere else, either.

  8. Eric, there are a couple things to add to this excellent article.

    The LCD mentality destroys respect for the rules that do matter. Just one or two laws that are ridiculous can get people thinking they are all that way. Especially the ones that are non-obvious. For instance something that helps the flow of traffic but not obvious to the driver who is to do something.

    Essentially why bother using turn signals when the speed limits are so low and the cops only ticket for speeding? Why not blow a stop sign, after all it’s just placed by the same people who put a 30mph speed limit sign on a 60mph road.

    And then there is the worst thing of all… it builds a better idiot. Society wise people will form a distribution based on what is expected of them within rational limits. The LCD mentality lowers the mean. The hump of the bell curve then moves lower and lower. Why? because people are naturally going to put in as little effort as possible if it’s not something they are interested in. So lower the expectations, shift the entire bell curve lower.

    • Gee what happens to the good ol’ days when men could fistfight when they felt like it? No man had the incentive to be a smartarse in those days and he was quickly put in his place.

    • Yes, absolutely.

      The proof is all around us, too.

      Drivers (on average) are lower-performance than they have ever been. They literally appear to be mildly drugged, like people who’ve been given a sedative of some kind. Dull stares; incredibly slow/delayed reactions.

      Meanwhile, as you note, cops are held more and more in contempt – much as they are touted as “heroes” so endlessly by the media. Very few people I know really want a cop nearby – either in their rearview mirror or as a neighbor next door.

  9. Sounds like the city in Germany is using traffic circles. They recently installed some of those here in Mesa Az, where roads cross over the newest freeway. Seems like they slow you down a lot, but the average time through is probably faster than waiting at red lights.

    So where there are traffic circles, I’d agree……don’t need no stinking signals.

  10. Certainly, most jurisdictions enforce traffic laws with intent to generate revenue rather than maintain safe road conditions. But some places do need speed limits. For instance, those 25mph limits in school zones when kids are around. If someone blazes through that zone at 85mph but manages to not hit the kid in the crosswalk……..well…. “no harm no foul” doesn’t really seem to be a sane perspective.

    I do agree that most speed limits are usually set way too low.

    And if we take that jaywalking rationale to its ultimate conclusion……the states could save taxpayers a huge amount of money by no longer installing signals or stop signs at intersections. We’ll just expect every driver to exercise good judgement before he drives through. 😉

    • “..the states could save taxpayers a huge amount of money by no longer installing signals or stop signs at intersections. We’ll just expect every driver to exercise good judgement before he drives through”

      Actually this has been tried – successfully – in Europe. Lookee here:

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,448747,00.html

      People learn to exercise judgment – and cooperate. It seems perhaps a bit counterintuitive, but it’s no less true for being so.

    • School zones: While they are a special case for the 85th percentile method I really don’t understand why arterial roads need to have 20mph school zones going past a high school for anything other than revenue and LCD kids. I also wonder if the school zone is actually obsolete. I just don’t see kids walking to and from school like when I was a kid. Bike racks are empty too.

      As to traffic signals and stop lights, they are often installed and timed to cause traffic congestion and generate violations. Doing without at least those certainly would be safer. Also there have been small towns in europe that just yanked all the signals and signs. I don’t see that scaling well but I can see it working where traffic volume and density stays below some threshold. It would probably work in much of the USA provided people can be retrained to think for themselves.

      • In the small Midwest town I pass through everyday there are still a lot of kids walking to school. In addition to the flashing yellow 25 zone, they even have a crossing guard. Everyone slows to 25 through there. And to the town’s credit, they actually do turn the flashing yellow off during holidays, spring break, etc. For the most part, people around here seem pretty courteous and obey all the signs and lights (to a fault). Since the system here “works” you’d never convince the town council (or the sheeple) to take down the traffic controls. Although more and more of them are getting Ron Paul’s message and speaking favorably of him, so there is hope.

        • In my area of Virginia, the deference shown “the children” verges on the demented. Example: People will stay 50-100 yards behind a school bus – and the busses themselves have flashing strobe lights now that stay on all the time. Because, apparently, people were not noticing that huge yellow thing up ahead, which already had numerous flashing red lights.

          Meanwhile, drivers will routinely slow to a crawl anywhere near a “school zone” – even on weekends and so on when school is out and so the “school zone” law is imoperative.

          I find myself passing 3-6 people over the double-yellow every day now.

          • I have a stretch (about 7 miles) that connects two major roads. Anyhow this stretch has about five radar fed “Your Speed Is” signs. Going over 48mph the sign starts flashing a display “Slow Down.” Would you fucking believe these morons slow down for the sign! Oh man it drives me crazy. Sometimes I can use that very moment to my advantage and pass as they slow. On the bike it’s common for me to pass over 20 cars. Then at the end of that stretch there is a road block set up once a month.. I mean “safety check.”

            P.S. This road is straight as an arrow, wide open, and can easily be traveled well in excess of 100mph.

            • Every once in a while, the Fuzz will erect one of those things at the end of this mile-plus long straight stretch near us. I like to “tilt” the machine by going past it as fast as possible. If you are just a few MPH over, it flashes your speed. If you are a lot over, that triggers cop-like red and blue flashers, too. I once rode my sport bike by this stupid machine at 147 MPH. I thought I gave it a heart attack!

          • I love those “your speed is” signs! They give me a chance to make sure my Valentine One is working properly…not to mention validating my speedometer.

            An interesting note: if you’re accelerating too rapidly, they won’t give a reading. It bums me out because there’s one about two hundred yards from a red light, and I try to set a new personal record each time. Unfortunately I have to back off just as I approach it or it won’t read.

            The local stasi has been pulling a dirty trick lately–they camp out a block north of the sign, hoping unfortunates with normal radar detectors will ignore the alert from the sign and be trapped. THAT’S when the Valentine really shines–it notes two alerts and my daily drag race is off.

            A few times they’ve used laser. The limit is 45; I go by at 60 with my laser invisibility cloak on “full”.

            The best revenge is laughing at these bloated tax-parasites with their inadequate little steroid-shrunken genitalia and buffoonish swagger. And the men, they’re even more laughable!

          • What does this mean? “I go by at 60 with my laser invisibility cloak on “full”.” Do you have something other than the V1? My V1 is the BEST auto accessory I’ve ever purchased in my life. -I’ve purchased a lot

          • I’ve managed to get clocked at over 30mph on my bicycle with those ‘your speed is’ signs. Fun to make it blink on a bicycle 😉

            What I am concerned about is a speed camera being placed inside them.

          • @dom:

            My “laser invisibility cloak”–the Laser Interceptor jammer. Doesn’t throw jam codes on their guns, just renders your car invisible.

            I try not to JTG (jam to gun) when I can avoid it; I slow down and turn it off so they can get a reading…”nothing to see here, move along”

            Here in Houston, where the parasites mostly use laser, it’s a miracle. $700 but worth every penny.

          • That is awesome. I need to investigate into these jammers. I would like a full on jam everything unit, if possible. That would be asking for trouble though, if even possible.

          • @dom:

            Laser jamming just this year became a Class C misdemeanor in Texas–but they have to prove it. Hence the sotto voce “turn it off, slow down” trick.

            It’s not a federal felony like radar jamming because lasers are FDA-regulated; nice little loophole.

            Don’t even think about radar jamming. It’s very difficult and expensive, and a massive (5 years, $50K) felony.

    • Oh, that!

      It’s a catchphrase (doesn’t everyone have one?) I acquired from this old country guy I know. You’d ask him about something – hey, what do you think about the election? – and he’d say… throw it in the woods!

  11. As much as you want to Stand Your Ground Eric, it sounds as though you would be happier here in Mexico. Your Article does not apply here.

    • Might be!

      But, my dilemma – the dilemma facing a lot of us – is this:

      I have a nice home/land; paid for in full. But if we tried to sell it now, we’d be lucky to get what we paid back in 2003 (and after putting in almost ten years of work and probably $100k in improvements).

      Then there’s the rest of my life – our lives. I’ve invested 20-plus years in building what I have – everything from my assets to my means of earning a living, my friends and family – etc.

      If I were in my early 20s, single and just starting out – moving to another country would be very appealing.

      As it stands, I’ve got too much baggage now to do it. I may regret this choice a few years from now – when the state takes away everything.

      But for now, I’d rather stand my ground than start all over.

  12. You’re forgetting one very important player in the “speeding is illegal” game: The radar gun. Here is the perfect tool for law enforcement. Over the years it’s become more and more refined to be exactly what the legal community wants it to be. The first generation detectors used “low” X-band frequencies and traditional timing pulses to establish your speed. These were not very precise and hard to calibrate (at least for Buford T Justice), so it was somewhat hard to introduce radar in court. Then the Ku and Ka bands were made available, along with Doppler technology that made it much easier to calibrate and pick out an individual cars. Over time the courts began to side with the police department since they had some law-accepted device that “proves” you were speeding at a given spot on the highway. And the fines weren’t enough to fight in most states, so it just added to the credibility of the radar units.

    Over time, the officers’ ability to produce evidence of any other violation of the motor vehicle code went out the window. It’s incredibly dangerous to tailgate, for example, but on my daily commute (through 5 different municipalities, on a state highway… I call it the gauntlet) I regularly see people tailgating at excessive speed. When I see them come up on a speed trap, often times the lead car will instinctively slam on the brakes, nearly causing accidents, yet the cop just sits there, knowing he’s not going to “win” if the unsafe driving ticket goes to court.

    Meanwhile, we can’t fight technology with technology. I used to run a GPS with a logging function. One day I got pulled over for doing 45 in a 35 zone. The cop was sitting in the area just before it went from 45 to 65, knowing people tend to speed up a little early. When I got home I downloaded the log which showed a data point at the area in question, with me doing 38, and the next point about 1/4 mile down the road had me doing 50, well within the 65 zone at that point. However, this isn’t admissible in court since GPS isn’t able to be calibrated, the manufacturer won’t produce accuracy documentation of any kind, and in fact most of them make you click through a disclaimer that basically says the technology doesn’t work.

    There is hope though. Radar detectors are getting integrated with smart phones with apps that map out speed traps. As these get more users the network effect might just make the speed trap worthless.

    • So with GPS your car can tell whether you’ve been speeding so it could be made to send a automated text to inform cops you’ve been speeding or cars could be made to have electronic speed limiters so you can’t speed even if you wanted to?

LEAVE A REPLY