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Arizona Backs Off Its Speed Camera Program 513

Posted by kdawson
from the not-so-fast dept.
crimeandpunishment writes to inform us that Arizona is putting the brakes to a controversial and contentious speed camera program. The cameras have been used along highways in the Phoenix area and in vans throughout the state. While the cameras are used throughout the country, Arizona's program was the widest use of the technology, and the decision to drop it is a setback for those who argue that the cameras slow speeders, reduce accidents, and free up police for more serious matters. "The camera program was instituted by Brewer's predecessor, Janet Napolitano, now the Homeland Security secretary. Cameras were introduced in September 2008 and were added until all 76 were up and running by January 2009. Lawmakers considered repeal proposals within months, but set the issue aside and appealed for calmer debate when a passing motorist fatally shot a camera-van operator doing paperwork in his marked vehicle in April 2009."
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Arizona Backs Off Its Speed Camera Program

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  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:58AM (#32125092)

    We're not the UK yet, we don't need this crap here.

  • no way back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:02AM (#32125140)

    Speed cameras, like any other Big Brother tools, reproduce by binary fission. Usually, once you agree to one, suddenly you find yourself facing down the lens everywhere you go. Just look at the folks across the ocean. They used to be a proud empire, now even their most fervent US-mockers recognize the extent to which their freedom has been curtailed.

    The fact that folks in Arizona managed to get rid of the cameras is a testament to the fact that at least some of the U.S. still values their freedom, and that the Big Brother is not yet fully in control.

    Also, if you read the article it appears as if that one incident wasn't the chief reason the cameras were scrapped, but rather that it was a contentious issue for the November ballot that they didn't want to deal with.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan667 (564390) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:03AM (#32125156)
    speeding cameras are really about making money and do little to increase public safety. How many times do people have to catch the read light cameras being intentially set with short yellows to figure that out (the yellow is changed short as many cameras operate at a loss if they don't) If the companies that make and operate them were forced to be a non-profit with the highest paid employee no more than $85k in total compensation I wonder how many people would be pushing them?
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:04AM (#32125176)
    I actually prefer speed cameras to speed bumps, at least they don't damage the cars. In the UK they now have to be bright yellow and can't be hidden - this change has made me a lot happier about them.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IBBoard (1128019) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:09AM (#32125222) Homepage

    speeding cameras are really about making money and do little to increase public safety.

    Surely that depends on how stupid your populace are? If you're dumb enough to repeatedly get caught speeding and not learn from it then yeah, they're not going to improve things. If, however, people go "there's a speed camera - what speed should I be doing? Better make sure I don't exceed the limit" then you're fine. They're only a money making scheme because people are too stupid and arrogant to keep to the speed limit.

    Red light cameras are a bit different - they've got a variable you can tweak. Speed cameras allow a threshold (although they don't have to in the UK, by law) and can be tested and calibrated.

    (Said as a former driver who now mainly cycles - but it applies to both parts of my commuting life)

  • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:13AM (#32125270)

    There are many laws, and the fact that something is law, doesn't make it gospel. Just because it's on the books, doesn't mean it's right.

    On the highways, away from residential areas, speeding laws are generally solely structured to bring in more income.

    In NY, there are areas where highways have 50mph speed limits... or even 45mph... despite a wide, straight (or nearly so) well-paved road.

    Ultimately, laws are meant to be the projection of the will of the people, moderated by the Constitutional interpretations of the Supreme Court... and we don't want the speed cameras.

  • Too Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by antirelic (1030688) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:13AM (#32125272) Journal

    I like the idea of strict enforcement, I hate the currently implemented use of selective enforcement which has lead state and local governments to utilize "speed enforcement" as a revenue generation racket. This was made very clear and apparent in the state of Virginia which, in 2006 implemented "Civil Remedial" fees in order to help fill short gaps in the state budget. This is a very nasty habit state governments have gotten into in order to avoid increasing taxes.

    Strict enforcement will cause a public backlash against the laws. The right choice would be to reassess most posted speed limits, and make the appropriate fixes to traffic areas that have used the invisible barrier of "low speeds" to protect the public.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by compro01 (777531) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:14AM (#32125286)

    That depends entirely on if the speed limit is set with any regard to what a safe speed is for the area.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:15AM (#32125300) Homepage Journal

    You can also hide the speed cameras, artificially lower the speed limit, make the camera on a hair trigger (or even trigger slightly below the speed limit and misreport.)

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:17AM (#32125322)

    I agree it sounds that way, but in this case it's a real and present danger. We're not talking about some obscure law or politicians whim. Speeding through a school zone during school hours is just a _stupid_ thing to do.

    Shit, I worry about driving on side roads for fear of a 5 year old chasing a ball at dusk. Obviously you can't stop driving in school zones or in residential areas, but you can _stop_ being a jackass and at least realize you're driving a 2 ton chunk of metal that will snap a kid in two in an instant.

    That is why picture enforcement of school zone speed limits _is_ something I would support.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:19AM (#32125362)
    That's the typical short-sighted libertarian response: Rather than advocate fixing the timing on the yellow lights, which is the correct solution to the problem, you want to throw the baby out with the bath water and remove the lights entirely.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:20AM (#32125380)

    I personally think they are needed for specific places. Construction zones. Too many idiots go flying through construction zones putting construction works and other motorists in danger. maybe speed cameras all along the construction area will actually slow down those idiots.

    ...by having chronic offenders see the "Photo enforcement zone" sign on the side of the road, lock up all four wheels to slow down in time for the van a quarter mile away, and then speed right back up again as soon as they're past the van, secure in the knowledge that there won't be another van for several miles.

    ...and by having tourists and inadvertent speeders drive blithely by the camera, wonder what the flash was, and keep going at whatever their original rate of speed was, blissfully unaware they were speeding until a ticket shows up in the mail.

    Y'know what gets people to slow down? A real cop, lighting you up, pulling you over, and having to sit by the side of the road (as you watch every car that was doing the speed limit glide on by for 20 minutes :) as you await your fate.

    I got my first ticket in 20 years of driving during a recent road trip. I knew I was speeding, he knew I was speeding, and after he wrote me up, I actually thanked him for the reality check. Had it been a camera, I'd have paid the fine and not changed my behavior for the rest of the trip, because I wouldn't have known about it until I got home. As it was, I kept it to within 5 of the limit for the rest of my trip, and to my surprise, even in the extremely remote areas of the state - we're talking the kind of places where you're the only car within miles miles - slowing it down wasn't as boring as I'd thought it would be.

    Speed cameras don't deter speeders. Immediate negative feedback does.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rootofevil (188401) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:21AM (#32125382) Homepage Journal

    legislating against jackassery is impossible.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JohnnyGTO (102952) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:21AM (#32125386) Homepage
    Follow the money not the murder. There taking them out because too many people ignore the mailed ticket at it's too expensive to hand server everyone. Remember the accused has legal rights to be properly server, you can't just charge, try and convict someone. It is a slippery slope we don't want to go down. Besides I have seen more accidents and near accidents from idiots looking up too late and slamming on their brakes to count.
  • Re:Too Bad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:25AM (#32125444)

    Public backlash against onerous revenue-generating speed limits will never happen, because the targeted revenue stream typically aren't represented by the jurisdictions which set artificially-low speed limits. The majority of speeding tickets are exacted by small burgs as a measure to extract toll from outsiders passing through.

  • Re:no way back (Score:1, Insightful)

    by asukasoryu (1804858) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:27AM (#32125470)

    Maybe I'm naive, but is it such a big deal to have lots of traffic cameras to enforce speed limits? It sounds a little ridiculous to say we can't have traffic cameras because there exists a possibility that they will be used to create "Big Brother." Shouldn't we be able to implement traffic cameras without using them for unrelated surveillance?

    In Taiwan, there are cameras everywhere (not for traffic purposes), their crime rates are very low, and Big Brother is not a concern. It seems like they prefer having someone looking over them in case a crime is committed. I'm not doing anything wrong so Big Brother can look all he wants to.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjc AT carpanet DOT net> on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:28AM (#32125484) Homepage

    > Surely that depends on how stupid your populace are? If you're dumb enough to repeatedly get caught speeding and not learn from it
    > then yeah, they're not going to improve things.

    I wouldn't say I have been repeatedly caught, I have gotten one speeding ticket and two that would have been but they did me a supposed "favor" and ticketed me for something else. Either way they get their hour and a half on their time sheet for a ticket (yes they do here in MA) and my insurance company still got to bilk me for supposedly being less safe.

    What have I learned? Be more vigilant in looking for pigs on the road. I have learned that my government does the bidding of insurance companies. Thats about it. Overall, I try not to be intimidated by thugs and let them dictate my driving style since, I know I am safe. Just look at my record. Its mostly paperwork violations (because, as we all know, paying $50 to the RMV for a renewal is one of the most important habbits of a safe driver) and speeding stops... the one accident thats still even on my record was when some road raging moron slammed on his breaks in front of me while I was trying to change lanes in heavy traffic, called the police, and went about raving about how I was swerving in traffic because I made one lane change to avoid blocking an intersection at a red light. Seriously.

    All they do is enforce laws, whether its absolutely retarded to do so or not.

    -Steve

  • by JohnnyGTO (102952) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:28AM (#32125492) Homepage
    Come live here for a while, have your property stolen your wife assaulted in SCOTTSDALE of all places. They get a bus ride home I get a bill for $2500. Ya we need to stop all illegal activity at our boards, our highways our cities and suburbs. Its just to bad for the hard working law abiding workers that the majority of crime is associated with illegal aliens. Bring back the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Program and modify it to allow for other forms of work. They should have to follow the same rules and be monitored in the same way by US Immigration as I am!!
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bsane (148894) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:29AM (#32125510)

    Multiple anecdotes (let alone single ones) aren't data.

    The question in your case would be: does lowering the speed limit to 45mph in the construction area actually make things safer? If it then causes a mix of 75 and 45 traffic, the answer is- probably not. The goal here is to make things safer, right? Not enforce arbitrary limits because it makes you feel better. Has the big push for low work zone speed limits mixed with 2-5x fines actually reduced fatalities and serious injuries? If so- thats the cite requested.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jamesh (87723) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:34AM (#32125568)

    I used to think the 'council worker' type workpeople had it easy, leaning on their shovels all day etc. But they are out there in 40C degree heat, and 0C degree cold, working meters from cars that are supposed to be doing 40kph but aren't doing anything like it (i never realised how scary that was until I had to change a tyre on a busy road - i got as far off as I could but was nervous the whole time. I definitely have a whole lot more respect for the job than I used to.

    As for the "citation needed" statement, if the OP had spent the 5 minutes providing some sort of citation it would save everyone else spending 5 minutes. Too many people post opinion and speculation as fact on the internet and they should be called on it, especially on a public forum where stuff gets re-quoted as fact (see here [slashdot.org] :)

  • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:35AM (#32125588) Homepage Journal

    You speed, you're break the law, plain and simple.

    When you start following speed limits and making complete stops when you're on duty in a patrol car, I'll start to think that you really believe that law is important. Until then, you're just a meter maid in my book, and I'll treat you as such.

  • by iceperson (582205) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:43AM (#32125684)
    Where is the percentage of accidents that would have been avoided if the driver were traveling at the posted speed limit?
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bsane (148894) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:44AM (#32125696)

    I wasn't arguing that the workers aren't in danger- they do a tough, dangerous job, and if they are killed doing it, its a footnote on the back page, not a full front page spread that cops get. I really appreciate the work they do.

    Thats certainly a step in the right direction study-wise (a world better than the above AC's 'cite'), but I don't see anything in the study that says speeding vehicles and/or lower limits made things safer. In many semi-permanent construction sites things could be done to make things safer for all, and mixing 45mph traffic with 75mph traffic isn't the first one I'd try. Unless of course, someone has done that kind of study and found that regardless of the chaos it causes it is the best way to go.

    The common knee-jerk reaction to problems on the road is- lower the limit 10, 20, 30 mph. Guess what? It rarely works, but it does create a nice revenue stream.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:51AM (#32125780)

    I personally think they are needed for specific places. Construction zones. Too many idiots go flying through construction zones putting construction works and other motorists in danger. maybe speed cameras all along the construction area will actually slow down those idiots.

    If it's a legitimate safety issue, then it's worth having an actual human police officer monitor or patrol the area. That's quite a bit different from the "administrative" issue of going a little faster than the speed limit on an open highway with no such hazards. The joke there is that speeding is not precisely illegal, it's just taxed. Which leads me to another point (from the summary)...

    a setback for those who argue that the cameras slow speeders, reduce accidents, and free up police for more serious matters

    If we really cared about freeing up police for more serious matters, we'd stop prosecuting nonviolent drug users. Do the research sometime and look at how many cops, courts, and much jail/prison space is currently devoted to these victimless crimes. Then imagine what that effort would accomplish if it were put towards violent criminals and scammers who directly harm other people with their crimes.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:08AM (#32126030)

    So whats the relevant conclusion? That work zones should have a 20mph speed limit? Of course getting hit by a slower moving car is less likely to kill you. What is less clear is whether artificially low speed limits on freeways/hiways prevent accidents.

    Your bias is showing a bit, I think. Your challenge:

    Specifically that people speeding in construction zones is an actual problem in AZ that causes injuries/deaths.

    Since we can now all read the links above and agree that 'artificially low speed limits' reduce fatalities, you've opted to shift the discussion to just 'accidents' in general, without any respect to "injuries/deaths". However, this would NOT obviate the value in the limits. The reduction in death is enough to slow drivers down while in construction zones. The cost of doing so is assumed to be far lower than even a single human life... ...unless you're ready to shift the debate between the value of life and the right to drive as fast as you want.

    You asked for citations, got them, and now are re-framing the debate. Why?

    Again, I suspect bias.

  • Re:no way back (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tibman (623933) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:13AM (#32126106) Homepage

    My state recently pushed the highway speedlimit to 70mph. You should get yours to do the same.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:18AM (#32126176)

    My guess is that their beef isn't with people who drive the speed limit, but rather with people who drive no faster than the lane to their right.

    If you aren't driving faster than the lane to your right, then you should move over. Sure, it's the law if that's what motivates you, but more importantly it's the right, proper, social, moral thing to do. Share the road.

    This message is not directed at the parent AC; it is directed at anyone who thinks it's okay to ignore lane courtesy out of a misplaced sense of speed superiority.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:20AM (#32126218)

    Red light cameras are a bit different - they've got a variable you can tweak.

    Except, of course, speed cameras have a variable too, the posted speed limit. Several times now we've seen speed limits intentionally lowered in ways to make conditions less safe, but provide greater revenue. We've also seen instances where speed limits change radically in areas where visibility of the sign is poor. The basic problem is, we can't trust the people placing the cameras and deciding the speed limits to act in the best interests of the people instead of the best interests of their department's budget. Until that problem is addressed (either by placing the decisions in the hands of a neutral party or establishing strict regulation and enforcement of how they are used), both red light cameras and speed cameras will likely create as much risk to the public as benefit.

  • Re:Good? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:21AM (#32126244) Homepage

    What you can't do is just say that you don't agree with the law.

    You "can't"? Do you seriously not understand that bad laws only get changed when people of courage and principle stand up (or in Rosa Park's case, sit down) and challenge them?

    The repeal of prohibition, universal suffrage, race rights, women's rights in the workplace and inside their own uterus, and a silly little thing called the American republic, all of these were won, not granted.

    At this point, I'm not sure who's trolling who, so I'll leave you to advocate jailing the likes of Rosa Parks for saying that she didn't agree with a law. Go on, have the courage to say it.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tibman (623933) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:28AM (#32126368) Homepage

    Hundreds of children get out at the same time, they are like you on the way home after work. Some kids are dumb but it's more like unobservant or distracted. For SAFETY reasons the speedlimit is temporarily reduced. Nobody slams on their brakes at the 20mph sign, do they do this when leaving the 70mph highway to the 35mph side road? no, you slow down.

    I'd rather inconvenience you for 500meters than have hundreds of kids crossing a potential killzone.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:29AM (#32126378)

    the guy we caught was an Engineer with a graduate degree that had no idea of how to build a bomb or avoid detection at even the most basic level. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I find it incredibly hard to accept the "he's stupid" hypothesis.

    Okay so a guy with no real idea how to build a bomb builds a bomb that doesn't work. He has no idea how to avoid detection and is quickly identified and captured because he did not destroy the VIN number of the vehicle he used. I'm not sure I understand where you're seeing a disconnect that would lead you to think something is amiss with the "he's stupid" hypothesis.

  • Re:no way back (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:29AM (#32126394)

    "Just look at the folks across the ocean. They used to be a proud empire, now even their most fervent US-mockers recognize the extent to which their freedom has been curtailed."

    4,000 of the UK's speed cameras are Gatsos which are stationary, are not networked, do not monitor in real time, and are only trigged to take still images when they detect someone speeding. There's no real freedom issue here if you agree that it's acceptable to capture individual still images of people breaking the law as evidence for court and nothing else. The remaining speed cameras are mobile cameras, and so have police officers present with them anyway, so the only difference here is that the police are using automated tools to gather evidence rather than a separate speed gun and standard camera or something old fashioned like that.

    I fully accept the UK has a surveillance problem, and that really stems back to the use of CCTV in UK cities, as well as ANPR at service stations, in some city centres, and on motorways, but again, this is irrelevant to the discussion of speed cameras.

    The point is that you can fix the UK's surveillance society problem without ever removing or disabling a single speed camera because they're not part of the surveillance equation. I suspect the problem mostly stems from the fact people assume that speed cameras are permanently monitored or something, but that's simply not the case here. The issue with the UK's CCTV network is that it films everyone, innocent or criminal, all the time, it doesn't discriminate, but the speed cameras here don't do that, they can only catch people if they do actually break the law in front of the camera.

    It's also worth pointing out that in the UK, by law, people have to be warned of upcoming speed cameras too. So even in this respect it's not as if they're used to catch people out of the blue, because you get warning that a speed camera is coming up somewhere ahead, so effectively not only do they catch speeding motorists, they have to also not be paying attention. The system isn't perfect, sometimes signs aren't put up for mobile cameras for example, but people have also had their speeding fines overturned when this isn't the case too, so the law works. In this respect they really do just do what they're designed to, they warn people not to speed in areas where they are placed (which are determined as dangerous areas by high incident rates etc.), and if people do ignore the warnings in such an area, and do speed, then they are caught on camera. I really struggle to have much hatred for this system, I'll admit myself I speed sometimes, but I'm not stupid enough to do it where it's dangerous, and especially not where there's a camera.

    The issue is, nearly everyone speeds at some point or another, some just don't pay attention, get caught, and are angry they got caught, but you shouldn't really be driving if you can't pay attention to the road. That's most commonly the real reason there's backlash against speed cameras, not because they somehow infringe on any freedoms as again, breaking the law isn't a real freedom. I do agree sometimes speed cameras are put in stupid places, often for political reasons, and this is a problem, but again even then, only if you do actually break the speed limit- often the fundamental issue in these cases is not the camera itself, but the fact the speed limit in such an area is simply lower than it should be for people to drive safe, for example, long open roads with no activity near the sides of the road, but that are limited to 30mph - 40mph when 60mph would be perfectly safe. Sometimes even this can be explained though- i.e. the area is prone to flooding, or black ice, but because those are uncommon occurances, most people don't realise that's the reason, but to play it safe the speed limit is low for that reason, to avoid accidents when those events do in fact occur.

    So yep, I suppose you could say I'm anti-surveillance state, but pro-speed camera, I do not believe the two things need be related quite frankly, and if they are, I believe it's the government for doing so that's the problem, not the cameras which have in fact been contributory in making a massive impact in decreasing road deaths and injuries in the UK.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xaxa (988988) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:35AM (#32126496)

    Sounds like the speeding idiots saved Daily Mail readers £73 million in tax. How can they disapprove?

  • Re:no way back (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asukasoryu (1804858) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:37AM (#32126546)

    Really? Define "wrong". Oh, that's right, it's not what you define as wrong, but what Big Brother defines as wrong that matters.

    If there is more surveillance enforcing the laws we already follow, laws which we have "democratically" agreed on, then I am fine with it. I like to think the people set the laws and Big Brother enforces them. The existence of Big Brother should not alter the laws that are already established. If you're saying Big Brother will watch me and judge me by a different set of laws which are not set by the people, I think you're going a step too far. This is not V for Vendetta.

    As far as the efficacy of traffic cameras, it's hard for me to accept that it's a bad thing for people to slow down and observe the speed limit. I think we, as a culture, need to change our mindset when it comes to driving. People should not exceed the speed limit. People slowing down should not cause accidents. Seems like too many people think they have the right to do whatever they want with no regard for others.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:38AM (#32126568)

    You touched on it at the end of your comment, but my preferred solution is improved technology: is there a way to design roads and cars that can be safely navigated at the speeds people want to drive? Can we make a highway and a car both safe at 100 MPH?

    The angry people always harumph and tell everyone to slow down, and I don't understand that. If we MUST choose between safety and convenience, then I'm willing to go with safety (to an extent), but in this case I think it's a total false choice. Let's have both!

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:41AM (#32126630)

    Obviously it's too late to solve this problem now, but I always wondered by schools are ever built near busy streets. Forget about the safety issues -- the distracting noise alone is a good enough reason to tuck them away in the middle of residential neighborhoods. Busy streets should be near commercial businesses.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:42AM (#32126646)

    What we need is driving education that actually teaches people a thing or two about the actual dangers of speeding, and do something about the roads that have an unproportionally high rate of accidents. Also, make sure the roads are safe enough for what most people consider a sensible speed limit for that road

    Do some research and try to find accidents that were caused solely by speeding. I do not mean accidents where "speed was a factor" but the actual impact was caused by the at-fault driver failing to yield right of way (indeed, the fact that someone is speeding is all the more reason not to pull out in front of them). I mean accidents caused by speeding alone; for one example, a case where (let's say) the tires could not come up with enough traction to keep the vehicle on the road at that speed, resulting in an accident. Or an accident caused by a hazard that the vehicle could have maneuvered around at the speed limit but could not maneuver around in time when exceeding it. Good luck, for these are difficult to find.

    What my years in the auto insurance industry taught me were that two things are the primary cause of all the accidents and claim reports I saw: following too closely and failure to yield right of way. Most of the single-vehicle accidents did not involve high rates of speed, or at least the police reports did not mention speeding. Most of those involved people who fell asleep at the wheel, were drunk, were texting or otherwise engaged in distracted driving, or things of that nature. Yet "strangely enough" the emphasis of traffic enforcement is placed on speeding, likely because it happens frequently, is easy to demonstrate in court, and produces a lot of revenue for the state.

    I laugh when my state plays public-service commercials on the radio talking about how you shouldn't speed and you should wear your seatbelt because the cops and the state care about your safety. Every time I hear those, I think "yeah, and if the ticket money went to charity I might just believe that."

    The one place where speed limits make a lot of sense is also a place where accidents are relatively rare: residential neighborhoods where there may be children playing. Yet the cops don't seem to pay much attention to these areas because they don't generally have heavy traffic. I am much more likely to see a cop sitting near the 65mph highway running radar than anyplace where people live. If you assume that ticket revenue is what the state cares about, then this makes perfect sense. More traffic == more vehicles == more traffic violations == more tickets == more revenue for the state. To say this is about safety is a joke.

  • Re:no way back (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:49AM (#32126786) Journal

    What they do do is cause traffic

    Schizophrenic road design that can't decide on the purpose of the road is what causes traffic.

    What you describe is "driving the speed limit", which may or may not be set by insanity.

  • by jayme0227 (1558821) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:03AM (#32127082) Journal

    Because, of course, you can't stop sooner at a lower speed or have more time to make an adjustment when going slower.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:06AM (#32127138) Journal

    Then maybe they should have murdered them all. Laws definitely will change when facing a violent uprising.

    Yes, because speed cameras are worth reaching for the ammo box.....

    Fucking idiot. I love the 2nd amendment as much as the next guy but you don't reach for the gun over a goddamn speeding ticket. Here's an idea, how about the good citizens of AZ vote the morons out of office who passed the bill to install these things?

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:06AM (#32127150)

    Well, what can I say, I think you are driving like a jerk. You decline to share the road, and I think that's jerkish behavior. Obviously, many people think that anyone who goes above the limit are jerks, too; and reasonable people can disagree. It is my opinion that not only are you driving like a jerk, but also causing unsafe conditions. I wish you would reconsider your rude driving habits and drive in the lane appropriate to your speed.

    For the record, I'm an American, and on highways I find my preferred driving speed is about 65-70. On some roads, despite a 65 MPH limit, this puts me at the very bottom of the speed of traffic, and I have no problem driving in the slow lane. Sometimes, less often, it puts me at the top of the speed of traffic and I use left lanes. I don't try to justify forcing other people to drive my speed -- those other drivers doing 80 are almost always driving perfectly safely, and I do not beef them for getting where they are going at their own speed.

    Good luck. Really, consider driving in the slow lane. The slow lane can be very nice and relaxing.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:10AM (#32127220)

    "I've seen some good systems which focus on indicating to drivers when they're going too fast."

    It's called a speedometer. Part of earning a license to operate a motor vehicle on state roads involves training on its proper use, and acknowledging you're supposed to look at it from time to time to obey the posted limit

    Driving, let alone speeding, is not a right. If drivers need "gentle little reminders" that "maybe they should slow down," they have no business behind the wheel of that much metal moving that fast.

    Nothing like a Slashdot posting involving traffic regulations to find a bunch of self-entitled +5 posts talking about how they're safe drivers and such regulations shouldn't apply to them, because obviously it's some vast government conspiracy by governments to impose regulations on the roads they built. How many of the people here complaining about speed limits actually bothered trying to contact their legislators or other elected representatives? Or is it just about having a sense of justification to do whatever you want?

    It's not the economy, it's not the environment, it's the fact that I don't have to put up with all the other self-entitled asshats on the roads that is compelling me to use public transportation more. Speed limits, turn signals, right-of-way... all that crap is for other drivers, right?

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:24AM (#32127466) Homepage Journal

    You sound to me like a douche who shouldn't be allowed to drive. I KNOW that there are signs in Arizona that state that the left lane is for passing only. It doesn't matter whether you've seen them - maybe you should pay more attention. It doesn't even matter if those signs are posted on the specific stretches of highway that you drive on. You OBVIOUSLY know that it's the law, and the right way to drive.

    If coping with traffic is to much for you, then quit driving. Get an apartment within walking distance of your job. Or, biking distance.

    GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE LEFT LANE UNLESS YOU ARE PASSING!!!

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:30AM (#32127574) Homepage Journal

    The beltways are pretty special. As many as 8 lanes going in one direction. No, no one expects you to cruise in the rightmost lane. Cruising should be in the second and third right most lane, and the speed should increase as you move left. It doesn't change the rule stated by GP.

    As for smaller city and urban highways (less than 4 lanes each way) the rules don't change either. Merging and slower traffic on the right, faster traffic on the left. If everyone did this, the traffic jams called "commutes" would be less severe, and wouldn't last as long. Every idiot who violates this most basic of rules adds a couple seconds to the endless traffic jams. Doesn't matter if it's D.C., L.A., Chicago, Houston, or wherever.

    Everyone wants to think that his situation is special, and that he needs to change to rules to meet his needs, but everyone is an idiot too.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spazztastic (814296) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [citsatzzaps]> on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:23AM (#32128478)

    I'm against cameras as well, same as marked police cars sitting on the median. All it does is make people slam on their brakes who were going the speed limit anyway, so now everybody is going 15 under all because of that one police car.

    I'm curious why you assume I'm going to ask for citations. I'm not talking about a car going 75 hitting my car going 45. I'm talking about a roadside worker or pedestrian getting hit by a car going 45. When I mentioned the ability to maneuver, I was talking about the person in the car. I doubt my reaction time would be fast enough to dodge a car going 45 or 75.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:28AM (#32128564)

    Dude, wow, even though I disagree with you I certainly don't agree with whoever modded you Troll. How is that a troll?

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:44AM (#32128868) Homepage Journal

    The problem with that is that the ballot that goes in that ballot box usually looks something like this:

    O - idiot who won't listen to the populace, because he's got his own agenda.
    O - idiot who won't listen to the populace, because he doesn't understand the issues.
    O - idiot who won't listen to the populace, because they're in the back pocket of the corps.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mister_Stoopid (1222674) on Friday May 07, 2010 @12:12PM (#32129322)
    The majority of that post was pretty much describing how much pleasure the poster gets trolling everyone who is unlucky enough to share the road with him. I like to think he was modded (-1, troll) for real-life trolling that could get people killed.

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