Friday, February 28, 2014

A little speeding is ok, right?

So David Staples is complaining that he got a photo radar ticket, for ONLY going 10 kilometers per hour over the limit. And he's using his job as an ... what is it.. opinion columnist, sports writer.. whatever... to gather support for being "bullied" by the law, by telling his little tale, complete with pictures of him and the ticket (side note.. could that pic be enlarged to reveal his personal info? Not that I have done that, nor would I waste the time doing it either) combined with doing an online poll, in an attempt to garner support for his cause.

He states something about a cop telling him back in the 90's that "up to 15 over is ok" (paraphrased), and the general appearances of his two stories posted to date, give the impression that this "going 10 over" is something he does all the time. After all, he admits that he has had a few tickets in the mail.

Let's face facts here. Photo radar is nothing more than a cash cow. You can't bring your accuser into court and question them. You can't offer an instant, and possibly reasonable, explanation as to why you were speeding, or why you ran that red light. And there are valid reasons for doing so.

Everyone speeds a little here and there. You almost have to at times, especially in keeping within the "flow of traffic", otherwise you face the wrath of enraged drivers, and (sadly) even the real possibility of some nut case tailgating you or cutting you off to prove a point on how much more superior they are than you. Of course, these things tend to apply on places like freeways and highways than normal city streets.

We must acknowledge that the law is the law. Yet we also understand that the law is supposed to be tempered with justice. It's clearly impossible for anyone to maintain "exactly" the speed limit. Foot fatigue, a little body shift to get comfortable in the seat, that tiny bit of pressure on the gas that lets you creep up and down in speed... especially on hills and valleys... I mean, those are normal and in fact natural. There is also the legal aspect in knowing that vehicle speedometers can and do go out of calibration, especially if you don't have the right sized tires on. Or the electronic sensors in the newer cars go out of "spec".

So generally, the law will usually avoid giving out tickets when the speed is minor. By that, I mean within a 5 kph range. And the courts tend to get a little pissed with cases within that range so for the most part they will generally look the other way when you are up to 7 kph over.

BUT... (and there is always a 'but') it will always depend on conditions and location. If the weather is bad, you can get a ticket for doing the speed limit, because you are not driving to conditions. This does NOT mean when conditions are perfect, you can go over the limit. And what about school zones, on a perfect day? If you think 10 over is ok, you are an asshat. Hell, 5 over in a school zone with kids around, you deserve a ticket and an ass kicking to boot. (no pun intended)

One major part in driving anyway, is to be aware of your surroundings, and paying attention to the roads. Clearly Mr. Staples doesn't do this, otherwise he would have seen the photo radar vehicle parked on the side of the road, where normally no car is parked.

Nuff said.

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