Viewed from the Proper Angle

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Speed limits are as much about saaaaaaaaafety as George W. Bush’s invasion of Poland – whoops, Iraq – was about (beady-eyed squint into the camera) “weapons of mass destruction.”

This is easily demonstrated.

In my neck of the Woods, there is a roughly 15 mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that has been posted 45 MPH since the ’70s, at least – if not since the Parkway was built, back in the 1930s.

This is a limited-access secondary highway. People have been driving 45-50-something MPH  for a long time and for the most part, without triggering the Apocalypse.

All speed limits are arbitrary because they are based on the idea that one size fits all. That Driver A must driver no faster than Driver B is competent to drive – all based on a supposition about the abilities of both.

But this one was almost reasonable. 

You could get where you were headed in reasonable time – at a reasonable pace – and without repercussions


50 would have been more reasonable – and no speed limits at all even better, on the supposition that arbitrarily punishing people for driving faster than “x” and for no other reason (such as harm caused) is inherently . . . arbitrary and so inherently unjust.   

But at least you could risk 50 without too much risk of a roadside fleecing on a trumped-up charge of  “speeding,” since the unwritten rule here as in most areas is you’ll usually be left alone for up to about 5 MPH over whatever’s posted.

And regardless, you could drive . . .  45, which comports with speed limits on similar limited-access secondary highways.  

Presumably, 45 was a safe speed – since it was the legal speed.

Well, all of a sudden, this stretch of Parkway has been reposted 35 MPH. A ten MPH reduction – just because.

The very definition of arbitrary.

Even by the standards of government.

Without so much as a traffic study having been done. And by law, they are supposed to do a traffic survey prior to setting or changing any speed limit and the speed limit eventually arrived at is supposed to be set according to the 85th percentile rule – a traffic engineering dictum that speed laws at least roughly parallel the natural flow of traffic, such that 85 percent of the drivers are not “speeding” – as opposed to using speed laws as a way to punish drivers for simply driving.

And that’s what’s happened here. Just like that, what was legal and (presumably) safe no longer is.

And not just here, either.

It is happening all over the country. A friend wrote me recently to describe a similar thing in his neck of the Woods. Without legitimate rhyme or reason, overnight his whole town went from 45 to 35.

This is vicious – as well as ridiculous.

Under the new regime, a driver traveling 40 MPH – 5 MPH below the previously legal speed limit – is subject not only to being waylaid at gunpoint and compelled to hand over money to the government for what is now arbitrarily redefined as “speeding,” he can expect to be characterized as an “unsafe” driver by the insurance mafia when it gets wind of his “offense,” and the mafia will then mulct him again.

A double injustice.

What has changed to make it thus?

Not the road. Well, not for the worse. The road has been improved. They just got finished resurfacing it, in fact.

But that merely provided the cover for the changeover.

Just before the work began, armed government workers – Park Police, the same federal law enforcers who are paid with tax money mulcted from the citizenry to mulct more money from them via the enforcement of arbitrary speed laws – covered up the 45 MPH speed signs with plastic garbage bags and erected what at first appeared to be temporary 35 MPH signs.

This seemed reasonable – at first. Because the 35 MPH signs were assumed to be temporary – on account of this section of the Parkway being – temporarily – a work zone.

But it’s no longer a work zone. The work is done – the road crews are gone. 

There’s no longer any legitimate reason for the speed limit to be cut back almost 20 percent – a tax on your time enforced by a threatened tax on your wallet.  

But there is a reason.

It is to discourage driving by making it an unpleasant, time-consuming hassle. There is no other way to explain it. Certainly not saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety – for all the reasons just adduced.

It is part of the effort – coordinated and as effective as the invasion of Poland – to get us out of our cars by making us sick of being in them. At least, sick of being behind the wheel.

At 35 MPH, the greatest danger is falling asleep at the wheel.

Mission Accomplished – as that past grandmaster of the bait-and-switch (Bush) would say.

. . .

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I’m still pissed over the goddam 55 bullshit. It literally took food out of the mouths of those in transportation.

    Now we have 75 on the same roads that are 20 to 45 years older and most are in worse shape now.

    So tell me what was the point again. Damned if I ever knew and you wouldn’t want to have to explain it to a trucker.

    The badged crowd would always be at the bottom of hills to catch truckers just desperate for a little speed to get over the next hill.

    No telling what the cost in fuel alone has been racked up in moving goods.

    I’ve even heard cops who didn’t know shit from shinola say trucks used less fuel at slower speeds.

    Even if that hadn’t been totally false, it wasn’t govts right to kill someone’s livelihood.

    That’s the very thing presidents and bureaucrats excel at, fuckin up. That may not be the PC way to say it but nobody could ever accuse me of being anything some shrink could sum up in a couple words. And to quote Rhett Butler, frankly darlin, I just don’t give a shit….well, not an exact quote.

    • Amen, Eight.

      And “55” was sold as a conservation measure, yet enforced and punished on the basis of saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety. Well, how did it become saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe to drive 65 or 70 or 75 on the same road that was 55 for almost 20 years?

      And why no refunds for all those tickets, if driving current legal speeds was – as one assumes – quite saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe when the limit was 55?

  2. This has been an ongoing trend for almost 20 years, but has accelerated in the last 5 or so. A dichotomy has been taking place. Highway speed limits have been steadily increasing (until last year) while local limits have been dropping by 10 and 15 mph in some cases. There never is a study to show if the speed limits have reduced travel speeds. My bet is not at all.

    • Hi Swamp,

      On this same stretch of road, the Parkway Porkers have painted over at least two of the formerly legal passing zones. Now the speed limit is 10 MPH slower – making passing even harder.

      For saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety? Or just to make us miserable?

      • To make you miserable. I have visceral contempt for those who lower speed limits devoid of justification. I suppose it is to accommodate the clooooovers who can’t keep it between the lanes.

  3. Get out of the East. Utah increased most of their highway speed limits to 85. Colorado improved I-25 in the south metro Denver area and raised the speed limit after from 50 to 60 (although the bumper to bumper traffic basically means no speeding). Not sure if it’s even possible to get a speeding ticket in Wyoming, Montana or the Dakotas.

    But watch out for Nebraska and Kansas, especially if you’re driving while Coloradan. Evidently the cops can smell fictional pot smoke as you pass the speed trap.

  4. Same thing in my neck of the woods, Eric – SW Florida. Residential/side streets were generally 35 mph. Handful of clovers complained about the dangerous “speeding” that threatened the lives of their precious children, so now all residential streets are 15 mph. 15 effin mph!! And the cops are sitting on every frickin side street in the middle of nowhere, just waiting to steal your money. Unbelievable, I have an old bang around weekend beater with a manual tranny that I can barely drive anymore. If I keep it in first gear, it screams like a bitch, but if I shift to second it lugs like it’s gonna shake itself apart. Shameful part is, as far as I can research, there hasn’t been a single child injured, nor a major accident with injuries (let alone death) on any of theses streets in the past 10 or 15 years. Total bullshit, the only goal being A: steal my money, and B: make driving more of a pain in the ass. Absolutely no justification whatsoever in terms of safety.

    • Vz, when’s the last time you even saw a kid playing outside…or walking…or riding a bike- much less in the street? What these Nazis are doing is criminal! 15MPH! Why drive? I can go faster than that on my bicycle…. No wonder millenials aren’t interested in cars. Who could stand to drive at such a ridiculous speed? Cars with turbo chargers and 500HP…to go 15MPH….

      This just shows ya…if people don’t revolt over this, there will be no revolt over ANYTHING!

      This crap is on the coasts and the commie interior states like IL and KS now….but it won’t be long till it’s everywhere.

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