AP: Speed Limits Enforcement

James Joyner (Most States Let Drivers Exceed Speed Limit) summarized the importance of this AP story concisely.

The Associated Press has learned that highway patrol officers in the United States tend to allow drivers a cushion of ten miles per hour over the posted speed limit before issuing a ticket, something that every single American not employed by the AP has known since they were old enough to drive.

Perhaps if the posted limit had some relation to actual risk, as is the case in Germany for example, people would take them more seriously.

Speed limits are a scapegoat and some folks get into quite a lather about imposing their view of a proper speed on others. This AP story may have been stimulated by just such people. The fact is that many or most of the arguments these people make to support their idea of proper speed limits are falsely based.

Since speed can be so easily measured in what appears to be an objective manner it is an attractive enforcement option. This, in turn leads to misuse. The best option to control this misuse is to contest any and every speeding ticket. Just pleading not guilty and requiring the state to produce witness and evidence will up the ante. A bit of research or even obtaining knowledgable legal representation can have more of an impact towards keeping the government honest.

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