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The Cookiepus Conspiracy

Mindless ramblings, leading to perfect clarity.
Friday, August 16, 2002
The wonders of google, my blog rates #1 if you search for millitary penis punishment.

Thursday, August 15, 2002
... in ''Operation Hardhat,'' a new traffic safety program that features troopers cloaked as construction workers to catch unsuspecting speeders. They lurk in dump trucks, peek from behind road graders and pretend to be surveyors. When speeders whiz by, they call ahead to a ''wolf pack'' of motorcycle troopers waiting down the road to write expensive tickets, some in the hundreds of dollars.

... I am a habitual speeder, generally making the 500 mile trip from NYC to Cleveland in 5 hours (that's an average of 100 mph, and the 5 hours includes getting gas / peeing / traffic around Lincoln Tunnel.) But I still realize that the law is the law, and if I knowingly break it, I can't really object when I get punished for breaking it. It doesn't really matter how the law gets enforced - whether they have police cars hiding behind the bushes, or a radar/camera mounted over the road, or the wolfpack deal, we really have no right to be upset if the law enforcement gets to be more efficient at, well, enforcement.

What we can do, however, is work to increase the speed limits. There are various motorist associations that work to that end, and with some success. The state of Pennsylvania (which I have to cross in its 380+ mile entirety on my trips), for example, used to have a 50 or 55 mile per hour speed limit on all the highways, including the interstates. The federal government recently (a few years ago) put pressure on them to raise it to 65, and it happened. What, exactly, made the federal government do this, I am not sure - but the point is, rather than bitch about law enforcement getting better at what it does, we ought to work to raise the speed limit at which we can legally travel.

Personally, I'd like to see a shift in legislation away from using speed as a measure of safety. For example, if I go 110 mph on a deserted Interstate at 4:30am, it's not really unsafe. On the other hand, if I weave in and out of traffic on a congested NYC expressway, that's unsafe even if I do it at 5 miles under the 55 mph limit.

Of course, that put too much subjectivity into the equation - i.e., how exactly do you define 'unsafe driving' for which you can be pulled over and fined? Too much at the officer's discretion.

But having speed limits is stupid too. The speed limits have two purposes. One, they promote safety, but as shown above, fast speeds don't indicate the degree of safety with which one is driving. Two: they keep down gas consumption (or is it an urban legend that the 55 mph limit was enacted during the energy crisis in the 70s?) Either way, while my car certainly does consume more gas at 90mph than it does at 55, it still goes twice as far per gallon at 90 than most SUV's / big cars do at 55, so speed and economy aren't exactly tied together, either.

Sorry for the tangents, it's too hot to write concisely. The point is: don't be upset with enforcement, target the legislation.


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