Friday, August 8, 2008

Stopping speed traps

Florida lawmakers recently announced an effort in that state to cut down on speed traps.

That sounds great to most people. But others ask an obvious question: Why are those speed traps a problem as long as you’re running the speed limit? As one trucker said, “If you break the law, you break the law.”

The problem, and what makes these speed traps and not just speed limit changes, is when a town puts a sign where it’s hard to see till you’re right on top of it, dropping the speed limit so far that you can’t possibly get your speed down in time.

Let’s try a scenario that I’ve actually seen: You’re going right on the speed limit for hundreds of miles. You suddenly turn a tight corner and see a sign just a few feet up the road dropping the speed limit 30 or 40 miles an hour.

You tell me how likely you are to succeed at that task driving a fully loaded rig with 80,000 pounds and a 53 foot trailer.

My view: No way.

Some of these towns deliberately set up that very situation with a goal of raising their city budget not from honest taxes, but from fines on out of town truckers and other out-of-town drivers.

That’s the kind of thing Florida’s lawmakers and lawmakers elsewhere are trying to stop. And I think they have a point.