What does a speed limit actually mean?
How’s that for starting with a loaded question? But, wait, friends: I’m serious! When you’re driving along and you see that the speed limit is 55 miles per hour, how fast are you supposed to drive?
55? 60? 65? Or 80, like the rest of traffic?
A new law being considered in Georgia will leave some of the more responsible, law-abiding drivers among us scratching their heads. That’s because the law, designed to force people to either speed up or move out of the way of faster drivers in the left-hand lane, establishes a penalty for people who slow down traffic in the left lane who travel at a speed less than the speed limit.
Let’s ponder that one for a moment, shall we?
The speed limit is 55 and you’re in the left lane. Some jerk behind you — they’re always jerks when they’re behind you — rides up to your bumper, angrily flailing his arms and blinking his headlights. You can’t move to the center lane because there are cars there. So this new law would force you to break the speed limit so as not to slow the speeder down.
Does this make sense to anyone else? This one ranks pretty low on the common sense scale.
How fast is now acceptable if you’re in the left lane and you want to make sure you’re not causing a slowdown? Can you now speed up to more than 10 miles over the limit if the guy behind you wants to go 20? And if a state trooper is there with his radar gun beeping away, who gets a ticket? The first guy he sees who’s speeding, or the jerk behind him who’s legally forcing that speed?
One wonders how such an idea wouldn’t make speed limits next to impossible to enforce on a busy multi-lane road.
If you’re the one going the speed limit, and someone’s trying to run you off the road to zoom past you, it seems to me the lawmakers — not to mention the cops — should be targeting the faster drivers, not the ones who are actually minding the law.
If 55 isn’t fast enough, up the speed limit to 65. If that is fast enough, ticket the drivers who won’t follow the same rules the rest of us have to.
Isn’t that the common sense solution?