Laws of surpassing murkiness

Jack Baruth notes that there are stretches of Interstate hither and yon upon which literally no one observes the posted speed limit, and proposes the sensible question: Cui bono? Who benefits from this?

There’s always someone, of course:

Perhaps you’ve heard of the book Three Felonies A Day, written by civil-rights attorney Harvey Silverglate. In the book, Silverglate argues that the law has become so complex, particularly as regards technology and chain-of-custody issues, that it is almost impossible to get through your day without committing a felony of some type. Not everybody agrees with the specific examples and assertions made in the book, but I think it’s fair to say that most of us have unknowingly done something that would be punished much more severely than you would expect. That goes double for people who work in tech. I’ve seen people violate multiple federal privacy laws, totaling dozens of years’ worth of prison time, in a single email. And don’t get me started on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its repugnant, pernicious effects on ordinary human beings.

Mental note: Don’t get Jack started on the DMCA.

Outrageously low speed limits do not protect the freeway motorists of Cincinnati or Northern Virginia. In fact, you can argue that they increase the risk of driving on those freeways. So Cui bono? I think you know. Changing the limit from 65 to 45 on Route 71 benefits law enforcement. It creates the following benefits:

  • It turns a normal flow of freeway traffic into a river of cash into which the police can dip at will. Want to write ten tickets a day? A hundred? A thousand? It’s all possible.
  • It increases the cash value of those tickets for both insurance companies and municipalities while simultaneously making it harder to fight those tickets.
  • It allows profiling.

After all, they don’t have to bust you on some trumped-up nonsense if they can just write you up for 59 in a 45 zone.





1 comment

  1. McG »

    5 January 2017 · 5:50 pm

    I don’t know the ratio of miles to vehicle-miles on Georgia interstates, but I suspect the density of traffic on metro Atlanta’s 55-posted freeways could actually make the vehicle-miles on outlying 70-posted roads a minority.

    But people come into the jumble of urban freeway accustomed to doing 70, and be damned if signs and slower traffic are going to get in their way! Hence, you get 70-plus MPH in urban right lanes while the left lanes 50 miles from town are clogged behind somebody doing 55.

    Same goes for Nashville, the second most chaotic Southern metro area I’ve driven in. And ain’t no way I’m going into South Florida.

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