Friday Frivolity: Detection versus Intimidation

Driving throughout our wonderful country, I often notice great variances of how jurisdictions differ in enforcing the speed limit laws.  In particular, how speed is monitored.

Sometimes there were signs warning me such “observation” was possibly taking place and sometimes I did notice actual “observers”.  Though monitoring speed might have occurred, rarely did I see any evidence of detection—as in “I pulled you over because I detected you violating the speed limit.”  Most of the officers in those cars seemed preoccupied with such things as books, sandwiches or phones — distracted for sure, but the vehicle was not moving

Oh, sure, there were many times when I spotted police vehicles actually “monitoring” traffic.  Usually they were strategically parked in the median.  I say strategically, because I suspected the ploy was to be intimidating rather than enforcing.  There were far more instances of patrol cars clearly evident, rather than the “hiding in the weeds” speed trap.

Part of my intimidation-not-enforcement supposition is founded on my van being slower than most other vehicles, which were passing said stationed police presence, AND I WAS SPEEDING (excuse: to forego being a traffic hazard at the posted limit).  However, there were no pulled over cars in the vicinity. Thus, I concluded such intimidation tactics weren’t worth the price of idling engines.

Of course, signs are not particularly intimidating either.

Aircraft are monitory your speed in this area.  …After dark?

Without a doubt, such aircraft can detect my speed, but what are they going to do, drop a “paint ball bomb” to tag my car?  Even in broad daylight…regardless of whatever delineates “broad” about certain daylight conditions…I have witnessed overhead aircraft AND excessive speeding in the area, but no violator ever pulled over.  I’d be willing to bet, no speed-policing-by-air has produced fines sufficient to pay for the warning signs much less the fuel to keep the plane aloft.

I do have a friend who once piloted a police chopper and he admitted there was no clear protocol of how he was to stop a speeder.  He supposed it was NOT to spear the tail pipe with the chopper’s landing rails. I suggested maybe that hovering low, in front of a speeding vehicle, would get the point across rather vividly.  He suggested I had watched way too many 007 movies.  He feared that if he was to try this tactic, he’d likely hover backwards into the rear of a semi.

In Georgia, I recall seeing a sign I’ve not witnessed elsewhere.  SPEED CHECKED BY DETECTING DEVICES     Wow!  Does that mean there are methods other than devices.  Emergency rooms are full of humans who were woefully inept at judging the speed of something  thrown at them.  Does that mean they are no longer utilizing overhead geese?

Detecting Devices?  Really?   Considering as much road kill as I’ve seen, I’d suggest that animals are not particularly adept at speed checking.  So what is left but devices?   I imagine the wording of the sign is to replace “radar” and now include checking my speed by satellite.  After all, my GPS reports my speed in red when my vehicle exceeds the local limit.  I can only wonder when a law will be enacted to allow my GPS to “DETECT AND REPORT” my vehicle to local authorities whenever it surpasses the speed limit.  You will clearly notice the use of “my vehicle” rather than infer that “I” might ever be guilty.

Nevertheless, until the time such a law is passed, the signs and strategically place police cars are hardly intimidating. Until motorists actually witness hordes of violators being pulled over, intimidation will continue to be ineffective.  Whenever my mom waved her hand as a SIGN of potential punishment for my misbehaving, I knew full well I had been detected. Trust me…violators were prosecuted.  That’s truly how intimidation works.

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