on speed – and only speed – as the Number One Road Safety
Issue is emblematic of the emoting that drives policy in this country.
It’s of a piece
with the emoting about guns – “assault rifles” in particular.
Hysterias erupting from a wellspring of ignorance.
driver operating at 40 MPH can be a greater hazard to himself and
others than a skilled and attentive driver operating at twice that
speed. Even on the same road. Just as a .22 fired from
a revolver can kill you just as dead as a 7.62×39 fired from an
“assault rifle.” Indeed, if handled carelessly, a .22 revolver
can be infinitely more dangerous than the “assault rifle.”
target the “assault rife.” Not careless handling.
Just as emotions
roil over “speeders.” Not careless driving.
are based (leaving aside the issue of revenue for the moment) on
the lowest common denominator. A cop once told me so, openly. It
was said in the context of a question raised about what to do when
one finds oneself stuck behind a hyper-cautious senior driver operating
significantly below not just the speed limit but the flow of traffic.
As in, 25 in a 40. The cop stated: “We’ll all be old one day” and
that we should be patient – and not attempt to pass. He
also said he’d ticket anyone he witnessed doing so, if they
exceeded the posted speed limit (even for a brief moment) while
doing so – or if they did so over the double yellow, even
if they only transgressed it for a few seconds (just long enough
to pass the codger) and even if the opposing lane of traffic was
completely free of oncoming traffic.
The law accommodates
the least common denominator – and punishes anyone who rises above
it and dares to assert it.
no longer correlates to harm done – or even plausibly threatened.
It is enough merely to fail to abide by whatever collectivized,
least-common-denominator edict is promulgated by the authorities.
To disobey “the law.” That is all that matters.
accept this as reasonable and equitable – which only demonstrates
that they have no conception of either.
to a cop who pulled them over: “I know I was speeding, officer…”
as their preface to some hopefully exculpatory excuse that
will soften the cop’s heart and result in him giving them a “break.”
But their language reveals they have already accepted their guilt.
never ask: “What harm have I caused?” Because that would
be a challenge. Instead, they supplicate – which is a polite
way of saying, they beg for mercy.
In court, it’s
pointless – as a matter of law – to argue that one’s
driving was faultless. It would not matter even if you
got the cop to so testify, openly. Because your driving capabilities
are not at issue. The only thing that’s on the table is: Were you
in fact driving “x” MPH faster than the law says you may?
This is exactly
the same dynamic playing out as regards “gun control.”
As in the case of the man
in NY ( a “troop,” no less – who ostensibly
fought for “our freedoms”) who found himself charged
with multiple felonies and facing years in prison based solely
on his possession of “high capacity” ammunition magazine
arbitrarily forbidden by the bureaucrats. It is exactly of a piece
with being “pulled over” for the non-crime of “speeding”
– though of course the consequences in the case of the “speeder”
are (usually) not as severe.
the rest of the article
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automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2013 Eric Peters
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