Visions of speed traps

Boston city councilors unanimously approved a request to allow police to ticket anybody who drives a car on a city street. Formally it’s a request to lower the speed limit to 20 everywhere, except where the city reduces it further. This requires legislative approval. The legislature previously gave Boston permission to post 20 mph speed limits on individual streets, but what have you done for me lately?

We know what Boston does with blanket speed limits. Same thing as most cities. They are an excuse to ticket on the fastest roads, not the most dangerous.

Some years ago, the 40 mph speed limit signs on Cambridge Street in Allston mysteriously vanished. Police were told to target anybody driving over 30. They obediently ticketed people driving safely and legally.

Safely, because the road hadn’t changed. Legally, because the speed limit hadn’t changed.

Did anybody think that 30 was a ridiculously low limit for that divided highway? Did anybody care?

Boston police don’t care about safety. They care about tickets, except when the previous mayor told them not to ticket bicyclists.

And they care about pretext stops, of course. Expect a lot of suspicious looking people to be pulled over for “21 in a 20 zone.” Would you like a “voluntary” search of your car or a ticket to punish your disrespect for authority? (Or a bullet if you have a really bad attitude, but that’s not as common as Twitter makes it out to be.)

The Boston Transportation Department — the people who can’t even keep track of stop signs — has authority to post 20 mph where needed. But that’s too much work, and what the city really wants is unposted 20 mph zones where they aren’t needed.

This isn’t about safety. It’s not even primarily about revenue. This is a show of authority. What good is ruling half a million people if you can’t make them dance to your whim?

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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