A few days ago, NewsOK was asking online visitors if they’d ever driven over 100 mph. I duly checked the Yes box and moved on.
Now comes the very model of a modern slow-news-day above-the-fold feature: Oklahoma law seems to give 100 mph speeders a pass. A brief glance at the article will tell you that it’s not that they’re getting a pass; it’s just that the state hasn’t been ratcheting up the penalties in a manner acceptable to the Oklahoman.
Some of the paper’s complaints, after analyzing a couple years’ worth of records:
- In one out of four cases, violators either avoided prosecution, pleaded to lesser charges or received probation, which in some instances allowed them to have the citation removed from their public record.
- Authorities filed reckless driving charges only in about 10 percent of the cases. Some states mandate the often harsher penalty of reckless driving for those who exceed certain speeds. Oklahoma has no such mandatory requirement.
- In Oklahoma, drivers caught traveling at excessive speeds do not automatically lose their licenses. Some states have taken a tougher stance.
“Other states do it,” I must point out, does not mean it’s a good idea. The Oklahoman knows this, having insisted that Governor Fallin’s rejection of an Obamacare-style insurance exchange is the right thing to do no matter what those other states do.
And “reckless” is meaningless unless there’s a threat. Captain George Brown of DPS:
“If somebody’s on the turnpike with 9-foot shoulders and there’s no traffic and they’re just speeding, well that’s just speeding unless there’s some circumstances that make it dangerous to the public.”
I expect some government agency to invent a threat. Call it “secondhand speed.”
In the meantime, until I see some criticism of Life Members of the Anti-Destination League crawling along at twenty under the speed limit, I refuse to take seriously any whining about going twenty over.
Addendum: AMA on reddit about the article and its findings.