Downward variation

Downward variation

I came across two strange articles recently. One claimed reducing speed limits reduced the speed of traffic. Another claimed reducing speed limits reduced crashes. Of course it’s not that simple. Reducing the speed limit in areas of heavy fog may have reduced speed more than the fog alone did. Reducing speed limits during snow storms […]

Sounds of silence

Sounds of silence

A little birdie told me the age of the car alarm is over. In the 1990s my life’s background noise was car alarms. They were especially a problem at the car wash next door. They were also part of general urban noise. My Escort had an alarm only because I saved more on insurance than […]

Ghosts of convictions past

Ghosts of convictions past

Earlier this year a truck driver was arrested in Connecticut then killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire. Now Massachusetts drivers are being punished. Why is it our fault? In the American system of traffic law the punishment precedes the trial. The truck driver, Mr. Zhukovskyy, was accused of DUI in Connecticut. The arrest was supposed […]

Ex post facto

Ex post facto

I wrote recently about what happens when the unwritten rules change. Aspirational speed limits became computer-enforced speed limits. Or the school bus driver waits for everybody to sit down. A sheriff stalks the wrong victim. Or most recently, a police officer fails to anticipate the result of the next election. We have a victim of […]

Blowing up the system

Blowing up the system

A traffic court judge in Kentucky made a minor splash. She just threw out the state’s entire speed limit system. A driver was ticketed for 93 in a 55 zone. His lawyer found there was no record of any order setting a 55 mph speed limit. Instead of ignoring the speed limit signs in the […]

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