Breaking with convention, Virginia DOT recently posted the real speed limit, 80 mph. That’s the number where your pay-some-money speeding ticket turns into a hire-a-lawyer reckless driving ticket. Revenue for the lawyers, revenue for the state. You could go to jail at that speed, and if you get caught in the mid-90s a few tough judges will throw you in jail no matter how good your lawyer is.
Across the border in North Carolina the speed limit is 95, or 80 on two lane roads. By law, you can pay a fee to turn a speeding ticket into a no-points “defective speedometer.” Used to be you could get “defective speedometer” for anything, but these days that bribe isn’t allowed for more than 25 over. For less than 25 over the ticket still is all about the money, and for more than 25 over a few people take it seriously.
Illinois cracked down equally hard. There the deal is called “supervision.” For a fee, the judge makes the charges go away. Used to be you could get supervision for anything, but a few spectacular wrecks by repeat offenders ended that. Now you can’t usually get supervision for more than 25 over.
So the speed limit in Illinois is also 95 on Interstates and 80 on two lane roads. Below that it’s about money. About that somebody takes it seriously.
New Hampshire imposed a 100 mph speed limit a few years ago. The signs may say 55 or 65 or 70, but 100 is where you get handcuffs instead of a piece of paper.
Connecticut is stricter, with an 85 mph speed limit. Maine is more tolerant, allowing up to 105 on some Interstates.
A long time ago I started a web page listing speeds that turned “just a ticket” into “you’re in trouble.” Of course the cop could give you a break and write you up for 75 instead of 95. But that’s a gamble. Once you hit these speeds the cop can hurt you without feeling guilty.
Wouldn’t it be easier if we just posted the real speed limit, like Virginia did?
Even better, couldn’t we track the speed of vehicles operated by politicians and mail them a bill each time they exceeded the limits they insist are necessary to stop the rivers of red blood?
$1,000 per day per politician would at least slow the rivers of red ink.
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