What speeding tickets are REALLY about

I don't think any of us need much convincing when it comes to the question of why speeding tickets are issued. In the majority of cases, the incentive is more heavily weighted in favor of revenue generation as opposed to the promotion of public safety. Law enforcement people will look you squarely in the eye and tell you that speed enforcement is done for safety purposes and that there is no financial incentive for speed enforcement andonandonandon. Nonsense.

Truly hazardous situations are easy to witness -- just drive a congested interstate highway and you will witness a dangerous move every few miles. Drivers lolling around in the fast lane forcing faster drivers to change speed and pass on the right, drivers weaving through traffic making excessive lane changes, drivers following too closely to the vehicle ahead, and so on. I'm sure that safety-concsious LEOs would be delighted to hand out citations for these offenses, knowing that in so doing they might actually contribute to the public safety. Unfortunately, detecting and prosecuting these offenses is much more difficult than doing speed enforcement. In order for a LEO to effectively enforce many of these truly dangerous behaviors, she has to happen to be right there, at the right point in traffic, at the right time, and probably has to be in a disguised vehicle so as to observe drivers in their normal behaviors, rather than on their best behavior as they will be when they see that they are near a LEO. Further, these offenses cannot typically be measured with a calibrated instrument -- the LEO's expert observation is the only instrument available and is subject to impeachment at trial.

On the other hand, it is very easy to precisely measure a vehicle's speed and very easy to present hard evidence of speeding should a ticket end up in court. It is also very easy to set up a stationary speed trap and harvest speeding tickets with production line efficiency. What could be simpler? Just set up a trap at a known good fishing hole, and rake in the revenue - er - safety violations. And the public, in general, accepts this after being bombarded for generations with slogans like "speed kills", and flip statements like "speed is a factor in X% of all crashes" (of course it is a FACTOR, if the vehicle was proceeding with zero speed there would have been no crash).

I am offended every time I see one of these traps, particularly those that employ several LEOs at once. I always wonder how many miles of highway are going unprotected while these public servants are manufacturing speeding citations. How many bruised and broken motorcyclists are bleeding in a ditch while the patrolman who could otherwise be rendering aid is instead handing out speeding tickets as if they were coupons to Burger King? How many woozy drunks are on their way to their next manslaughter while that trooper crouches in the tall grass accurately measuring the speed of passing vehicles, oblivious to the dangerous driving behaviors going on a mile further along the road? When I see the Highway Patrol running a radar trap at the bottom of a three mile straight down grade miles from any interchange in ideal weather I know with absolute certainty that they are not there ensuring my safety. They are there collecting taxes.


Got something to say? Say it here by sending it to info@yzf600r-usa.com.

Agree or disagree with the above statements? Talk about it on the forums.