A call for sanity on speed limits

Yeah, I’m in a bit of a “stupid traffic law tricks” mode. This draft has been sitting in my drafts folder for about a month, and the article dates from July of this year. However, the issue at hand is still very current as Michigan is not the only place this happens.

Car and Driver recently reported on a situation in Michigan where local governments continue to enforce outdated speed limits which are set much lower than the prevailing speed of traffic, despite a specific state law to the contrary. This is a practice which happens to line the pockets of small “speed trap” towns at the expense of the motoring public.

Now, I agree in principle with reasonable speed limits being set on public roadways. However, all too often I see limits clearly set for revenue, such as the stretch of Jones Road through Jersey Village posted at 35 which, surprisingly, jumps to 45 as soon as you leave city limits. A post to survivalistboards.com also mentions Jersey Village and speed traps, and I know I’ve seen many others out there, including a post mentioning a ticket for 38 in a 35 (yes, three over the limit, when usual tolerance is five or ten) which I conveniently can’t find at the moment.

And it’s not just the small towns. A stretch of  Briar Forest between Gessner and Beltway 8, well inside Houston city limits, was posted 30 for years and was a frequent speed trap. However, in a rare move of actually doing something that made sense, the limit was raised to 40 briefly before being dropped down to 35. I haven’t been through the area recently (moved away) so I’m not sure if it’s still a “speed trap” now.

With speed limits frequently set too low on purpose for revenue, it’s a wonder that the violation rate is so high. It is simply not right for a government to create a dangerous situation by setting artificially low speed limits, then taxing the drivers that drive at a reasonable speed. (Yes, I am using the word “taxing” instead of “fining” on purpose.)