Sunday, October 12, 2008

Speed traps

Don't speed here!This weekend we went to a neighboring state and finally experienced the local shopping Mecca, of which our neighbors  had been speaking since we moved into the area. It was ridiculous, and had a massive craft and fabric store - of which I will never hear the end!

While there, I was told by locals that there's stretch where it's 25 MPH, and "you'd better do 25, not 26, or you'll get a ticket." He went on to tell me he'd been written up for 27 in a 25, and that it cost him.

My opinion on the law and enforcement thereof is colored by having worked (in a non-sworn capacity) with many officers whose opinions I greatly respect. One said that law enforcement is there to enforce the law, where needed, but also to persuade with good judgement, those who need a little nudging to the right side of the law. In other words, use good sense, especially in enforcing traffic ordinances. Warnings should be liberally given, except in cases where it make more sense to cite. Otherwise the impression of the public (me, in this case) will be that the money and not public safety are what's important.

There are obvious examples of areas where zero-tolerance makes sense, such as school zones where children may be present, or in dense residential neighborhoods (like apartment complexes), but those have wide support and obvious public benefits. In other cases, motorists, in many cases are actually paying attention to traffic conditions rather that noticing exceeding the speed limit by one or two miles-per-hour. In those areas, speed awareness devices like that pictured make a lot of sense and build public awareness.

I think speed traps give the cops and the community a bad name. I will avoid that shopping area, despite the cool craft store...

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