Originally Posted by jpalamaro
Rhetoric regarding revenue generation, etc. should be avoided.
And why the qualifier, John? Is it implicitly admitting that is part of the problem, and that people tend to rant about it accordingly?
Yes, speed limits are necessary. Yes, they could be enforced (or just adhered to) more than they are now. And yes, there are those drivers that are easily capable of exceeding the posted limits in may cases, just as there are those drivers who are dangerous at the posted limit or even below. But how do you define different rules for different drivers? You can't, so there are one-size-fits-all speed limits. The discretion of the individual LEO does help in these cases by giving some room to account for individual circumstances. Of course, there are those who will abuse that power (drivers and LEOs both), and there are those who will try and weasel out of any citation given.
Over my 35-year driving career I've had more than my fair share of warnings, more tickets than I'd like to admit to, and I could probably complete a traffic school course from memory alone. Sure, I tend to run at slightly higher speeds than the average driver, but it is a conscious decision made when the conditions allow it. My experience driving and riding as a passenger with others tells me that I'm generally more aware of my surroundings and of the potential dangers than many other drivers, and so I react accordingly to minimize those risks. Being clueless doesn't make you a safer driver, being aware and actively scanning the road and predicting dangers does. It's too bad that more people haven't developed that skill.
And yes, there are some municipalities that take the fines too far. There was a recent story about a small township off I-5 in Oregon that was reprimanded because 25% of their general fund came from speeding fines, whereas the average was around 4% for most cities. And several Oregon towns have enacted 24 hour school zones, with no regard to whether children may be present or not. (If kids are at school at 3 a.m. then you have other problems to deal with.)
But speeding is bad, and dangerous in all circumstances, so who's gonna argue that? For the record, it's not the excessive speed that causes accidents and injuries, it's the sudden stop. Airbags and ABS are well and good, even on motorcycles, but how about increased driver training requirements and a tougher skills testing so that fewer accidents occur in the first place?
Generally, the system seems to work though. And unless someone else can come up with a better system, then this is what we've got. Of course, we could always set the speeding fines related to a person's income, as they do in Finland. Ask the Director of Nokia, who was fined $103,600 for riding his Harley at 47 mph in a 31 mph zone.
Personally, I'd rather see a zero tolerance approach to drunk driving. Maybe it's because I never drink and drive, under any circumstances. But this is a known problem, with innocent people being killed daily, and with a known solution that just isn't being enforced. But then again, the alcohol lobbies spend a lot of money and therefore carry a lot of weight . . .