Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Take: Speeding Laws

Traffic laws, in my opinion, are among some of the most arbitrarily enforced laws in our society. They are a clear example of the concept of lack of absolute right or wrong.

Traffic speed cameras in Maryland do not ticket people unless they are traveling 12 MPH over the posted speed limit. We believe that police, on the other hand, grand only 10 MPH before a citation may be given. Now in Washington, DC, they want to significantly increase traffic fines for people going 25 MPH or more above the posted speed limit. The Washington Post article titled $1,000 speeding ticket, other proposed traffic fines in D.C. likely to be cut

Maryland Speed Camera
We need a better way of enforcing speeding laws. Some areas have such unreasonably low speeds that they clearly are going to be violated and are perceived as a "speed trap." There is a stretch of road near me that goes down a hill with no houses on either side for about a half mile on which the speed limit is 30 MPH. This area should have a 45 MPH limit. Why? Because everyone does it and 30 MPH should be reserved for residential areas.

Arbitrary speed limits with inconsistent enforcement generates contempt for traffic laws. I have a theoretical traffic situation: It is 2AM, no one else is in sight on the highway in any direction and I am at a stop light waiting for it to turn green to proceed. Why? At that hour and in full recognition of the local condition should I not be able to proceed cautiously through the light?

Speeding is similar. Sometimes going the speed limit is too fast based upon conditions.

I'm not sure there is an answer--but I think Washington, DC, may be onto something but trying to set a truly enforced limit.

My Take: All speed limits should be raised 10-15 MPH, except hospital and school zones, and enforced with no grace factor. A 55 MPH limit would become 70 MPH and speeding tickets with significant fines would be given starting at 71 MPH. It takes the fudge factor out of driving and places the responsibility for determining the correct speed for conditions squarely on the driver.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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