The Need For Speed … August 14, 2013

I enter the ramp for the freeway and accelerate. My trusty steed, my Honda Silverwing, does not hesitate to answer my call. As I enter the freeway I have reached the posted speed limit.

Soon, I notice, a car approaching. It passes, well, perhaps they are in a hurry. Then, however, another and another cruises by. Have I stopped, parking in the lane of traffic?

I take it up another ten miles an hour, I am now in violation of the law; those who still cruise by are doubly so. Another five miles per hour added, I’m now at eighty. Cruising along the air breezes by swiftly. At this point I am only keeping up with traffic. Everyone is keeping pace at fifteen miles an hour above the set limit. Even Semi’s do not recede behind me, these behemoths, these gargantuan monsters of the highway, even they cruise at eighty.

I would much rather travel at the set speed limit, but I fear if I do, I will become an obstacle. Whether the stories are true or not, I have heard of officers pulling over someone traveling at the limit and then warning them they must keep up with traffic. Why, I wonder, do they bother then to set a limit for safety purposes, while no one obeys it. Why just the other day I observed an officer traveling down the road at forty-five, passing me doing the legal thirty-five. I assumed he was on his way to a call, even though his lights were not flashing. Then, surprise, he stopped at the light and waited like everyone else to be told to go. No emergency there.

My beef then, I suppose, is with those who set and post these legal limits. If they are only going to enforce them when they please, when they must meet some denied quota, then why have them there at all?

If society wants some speed obeyed, a maximum we can travel, why not put governors on each vehicle so no one can go faster? This, to me, seems reasonable enough, since no one seems to have the self control, the common sense, to travel safely. After all, if they had the smarts, they wouldn’t have to be told that they must wear safety belts when driving. To rely on someone to obey the set limits on their personal recognizance  and yet tell them they must be safely buckled in by law seems inconsistent.

Perhaps it’s a case of giving up, throwing up your hands, and realizing no one will let a posted speed limit sign tell them what to do. Possibly it’s a case of the mice playing while the cat’s away. In that case, the enforcers must also at times be mice.

Maybe the way to hit the mouse where he lives, is to make the penalties steeper when caught violating the speed set. Give them four miles per hour over the speed limit wherein only fines result, increasing incrementally. Then at five above make the penalty loss of license for the rest of their lives. I am sure that many then would be driving without a license, so what to do then? Well, laws as for locks, as they say, are only for the honest any way.

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