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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Most Disobeyed Traffic Sign

You are having a discussion with a few of your friends on a variety of topics. It could be on the state of the economy, future family plans, or the just played Super Bowl game. All of a sudden, one of your friends starts griping about a speeding ticket he or she received a few days ago. Your friend states "it is those cops that are just out there for the sole purpose of giving out speeding tickets and are not really out there arresting the real criminals". Many drivers externalize (or "cop-out", no pun intended) their ticketed speeding violations by placing blame on extraneous factors. These include: "blame it on the cop", not enough speed limit signs on that road, insufficient visibility to notice the speed limit signs, and a few others. Consequently, this can become a habitual defense mechanism to hold themselves unaccountable ("not my fault") for their speeding violations and therefore not allowing them to analyze their speeding behaviors. This externalization process can impede the ticketed from realizing the dangers that speeding produces.

If you asked a group of people what the most disobeyed traffic sign is most of them would probably say the "Stop" sign or the "Yield" sign. In fact, the most disobeyed traffic sign on our roads, streets, and highways is the maximum "Speed Limit" sign.

Speed limits are most frequently set through statutes. Speed limits can usually be lowered, or sometimes raised, from the legislated speed limit through a process called speed zoning. Common factors included in speed zoning are: 85th percentile speed, design speed, road features, crash records, administrative judgment, engineering judgment, and political influence. Even though specific speed limits may have been established via legislation, state laws usually allow either state or local authorities to set highway speed limits above or below the statutory ones. Prior to taking such action on any portion of a highway, the law normally requires that governmental authorities conduct a study to determine the safe speed limit for that part of the highway. State laws may also allow such authorities to specify different speed limits on all or selected highways (or portions thereof) either for various times of the day or for various types of vehicles (e.g., trucks).

Governmental powers & law enforcement are diligent in setting the appropriate "speed limit" for our streets, roads, and highways. Speeding, which justifiably could be driving just one mile over the maximum speed limit, continues to be a prevalent factor contributing to traffic crashes. In 2008, speeding was a factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes and more than 11,000 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes. Many of those lives lost were of children. Remember, our children depend on your driving.

Please be a responsible driver and be aware of the posted speed limit at all times. A 55 MPH speed limit on a highway means 55, not 65. Remember, the speed limit applies to all lanes- right, center, and yes, even the left lane. A 30 MPH speed limit sign in a residential street means 30, not 40, even when there are no other cars are around.

If you receive a speeding ticket points are assessed your drivers license and in some states requires a defensive driving course. In New York State, if you receive a speeding ticket from 11-20 MPH you receive 4 points on your license. When you complete the defensive driving course you'll remove those points from your NY driver record and be eligible for a mandatory insurance reduction for 3 years.

Let's not limit ourselves to obey that very imperative "Speed Limit" sign.

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