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The speed limit

  1. Aug 19, 2008 #1
    I think that the speed limit should be strictly enforced. It is horrible that we try to teach teenagers to obey important rules such as no drinking, no smoking, no harassment, no violence, etc but then when they start driving they are bombarded by examples of people blatantly breaking laws going 50 MPH in a 35 MPH zone or even worse with no consequences. Furthermore, sometimes it is even the norm to go over the speed limit. I would say people take the speed limit more as an average than an upper bound. People have even honked at me and flicked me off for driving at the speed limit.

    The most obvious problem with this is that it is dangerous to go above the speed limit. I am sure that the people who made the speed limits first conducted studies to see what is safe and then made an intelligent decision about how fast drivers should go. The less obvious, but perhaps more important problem with this is that the disregard for the speed limit provides a bad precedent for adherence to other laws. It undermines the strength and the sanctity of all of the laws that allow society to operate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2008 #2
    I drive 10 mph over the speed limit except in school zones and residentials. A lot of times the safest speed is the speed of surrounding traffic. Someone driving 55 on a highway may be abiding by the law, but they're putting themselves at risk if everyone else is going 70.
  4. Aug 19, 2008 #3
    This is so absurd its funny. :rofl:
  5. Aug 19, 2008 #4
    Sorry, but this part made me laugh too :biggrin:
    Not only teenagers but everyone (except old people :rolleyes:) would hate you for that.

    That doesn't make sense if you are thinking that we don't teach teenagers about driving safe
  6. Aug 19, 2008 #5
    Didn't they take into account the fact that many people go over the limit? If not, I admire their ability to get paid for what they do.
  7. Aug 19, 2008 #6


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    I'm afraid to say that drinking and smoking are quite legal for adults in most parts of the world. I don't think a strict adherence to the speed limit could be enforced, nor do I think it encourages people to break other laws.
  8. Aug 19, 2008 #7
    I think they make it "actual speed limit - 10 or 20"

    so maybe that's why fines are up to 10,000$ if you go over 150 km/hr on 100 highway (most people go at 120).
  9. Aug 19, 2008 #8
    Enforcing speed laws is expensive. You would need to hire a lot of police officers for that. Of course, the fines would help pay for the cops. But only if the project failed to work. If you hire all these cops and they start handing out tickets left and right, then before they cash their second paycheck, people start obeying the law. Then you have a bunch of cops with nothing to do except draw paychecks. So you fire them. Then people start speeding again.
  10. Aug 19, 2008 #9
    Slower traffic keep right.

  11. Aug 19, 2008 #10


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    Given camera surveillance systems and computer generated summons the process and ubiquity of locations can be expanded to the point that compliance was virtually universally assured. Sending the operator a picture of themselves with the clocking and time and date, seems fairly sure-fire.

    Not that I advocate letting Big Brother reach into such detail.
  12. Aug 19, 2008 #11
    I fully agree with the OP. The most dangerous situations occur when speeds are underestimated. Who would expected somebody to do 140 in a 80 zone (fill in miles or km, whatever). So you're in for a heck of a surprise if you'd expect everybody else to adhere to the limits. Also the 140 guy needs three times the braking distance as the 80 guy and for the environmentalists, three times as much gas as well.
  13. Aug 19, 2008 #12


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    Much of the surrounding traffic will go the speed limit if you do. :tongue:

    That aside, the cruising traffic is only one of the dangers on the roadway. And while that one might be mitigated by speeding, many others are made much worse by speeding, such as:
    . Slowed/stopped traffic just past a hill or bend
    . Cross streets and driveways, particularly with low visibility
    . Merging traffic, particularly when tailgating is involved

    And even if we just consider the surrounding traffic just cruising by you... if some sort of irregularity does occur, you have a much better chance of avoiding it if you are going the speed limit rather than 15 over (and even if you can't, the damage will be much less severe)
  14. Aug 19, 2008 #13
    To cut costs and to raise revenue a lot of cities have started using photo radar vans. The ones operating in Tucson allow 11 mph over the speed limit. They determined most people drive at least 5 to 10 over.

    Oddly enough traffic cops here usually only allow 5 over....depending on what mood they are in.

    The photo radar vans are operated by a private company. A policeman does have to see the photo before a citation can be mailed.
  15. Aug 19, 2008 #14

    Chi Meson

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    The generally accepted speed in eastern Connecticut is "posted limit+10 mph." I don't know of anyone who has been pulled over for less than that.

    If you drive at the speed limit on one of our country roads, a cop will tailgate you mercilessly, leading to a conundrum: do I speed up?
  16. Aug 19, 2008 #15


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    Not exactly. In the US, Federal speed limit laws were imposed by Nixon, entirely to reduce gasoline consumption during the 70s oil crisis. Individual states have since (particularly in the 90s) been raising their limits. Before the 70s, speed limits in most states were higher than they are now. And one would expect that road quality and vehicle safety standards have only improved since the 60s.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  17. Aug 19, 2008 #16
    The GPS and computer systems can monitor your driving, they could just have a machine built into your dash that prints you out a ticket when your car senses you have broken the law.

    The thing that bothers me around here is that everyone goes 5 to 10 miles an hour over, and the cops have still managed to get me for a 7 and a 10 over. I dislike the way they hide on the side of the road behind something on downhill stretches.

    The last time I was pulled over, it was night and the cop was on the side of the road around a blind corner with his lights off, and he got me for 7 over. I thought it was kind of lame because he was being more of a danger to peoples safety than me.
  18. Aug 19, 2008 #17
    No, they shouldn't.
  19. Aug 19, 2008 #18
    I didn't mean they should, I just meant it is possible. Maybe for a quick budget fix they could read everyones vehicles computers and issue tickets for all the recored speed limit breaks.

    I would probably be owing over a million at least.
  20. Aug 19, 2008 #19
    The speed limit in some parts of the west used to be "drive at safe speed" You never got speeding tickets, but if you got in a wreck you got hammered.
    I'm a bit waffleish on this subject. On the one hand, there is a huge difference in the quality of roads and cars nowadays as compared to 20-25 years ago. It is possible to drive much faster today and still be safe.
    On the other hand, I saw a study once that showed a 95-99% decrease in the amount of children killed by being hit by a car with the addition of speed bumps in neighborhoods.
  21. Aug 19, 2008 #20


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    I thought speed limits currently are set by the speed that 85% of the drivers drive less than, at least on major highways. If everyone speeds, the speed limit can be raised. :biggrin:

    If you want to drive the speed limit, fine, just stay to the far right and allow people to pass you.
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