I don’t mean the blue light specials that K-Mart made a household word.
I mean the kind seen on the highway – a law enforcement vehicle with a flashing blue light in back of a speeder. I just love to see those blue light specials! Especially on a long holiday weekend like we just had last weekend.
That flashing blue light means someone who thinks their time is too valuable to follow the speed limit is going to pay a triple digit fine for their arrogance. And if it’s a holiday weekend, then they’ll have that much less to spend on their vacation. Lots of folks say people need to be held accountable for their actions. I’d say a speeding ticket is being held accountable. Their insurance company may be interested in holding them accountable too.
I regularly get to see blue light specials when driving on the Interstate. The adjacent counties east and west of me are notorious for their blue light specials, especially the one to the east. That’s because these counties are poor and need the money. Who better than to contribute to their tax base than speeders, especially unsuspecting tourists heading somewhere else?
(What’s that saying? If you don’t want to pay the fine, don’t let your speedometer cross the 70 line!)
Whenever I travel through that eastern county, I always see a number of blue light specials. They’re almost always near both sides of the county line. Last weekend, I came across a blue light special in the westbound I-10 lane as we headed towards St. Augustine. I asked Susie if we were in Jefferson County yet and then I noticed the “Welcome to Jefferson County” sign ahead. The vehicle had been pulled over about 150 yards from the Leon County line.
In the next mile, I saw two more blue light specials. There were two troopers and two deputies racking up tickets within that last mile in western Jefferson County. When we were in the last two miles of eastern Jefferson County, I saw a lone trooper. Fact is, issuing speeding tickets around here is like shooting fish in a barrel. So many speeders, not enough law enforcement officers.
To the west, it used to be different; I rarely saw any blue light specials. But with the poor economy, Gadsden County has taken to blue light specials too. On a trip to Panama City Beach, I was on I-10 in the central portion of Gadsden County and noticed a trooper in the median visible to all.
My first thought was, this guy’s an idiot – everyone can see him. But then I noticed that about 150 yards in the direction I was heading was a bend in the road. My military thinking concluded: he’s a decoy. He wants to be seen! Folks will slow down and then once past him will speed up again, thinking it‘s “safe.” Since my cruise control was set to 62, I didn’t have to worry.
Sure enough, once I came through the bend, there they were – two deputies, a police car and a trooper. Two vehicles had already been pulled over. The road was straight for a few miles so I kept checking my mirror. They stopped at least another two vehicles before I couldn’t see any more.
I’ve no sympathy for speeders. Just Google “speeding highway deaths” and you’’ll find lots of research that speeding is a significant contributor to fatal accidents. And that when the speed limit was raised back to 70 from 55, highway fatalities increased. Studies show that most folks acknowledge speeding is dangerous, yet also acknowledge that they speed. So much for rational thinking guiding our actions…
In a Louisiana study, folks gave two reasons for speeding: “lack of attention to speed” and “didn’t want to be late.” Now if you’re on the Interstate, how can that first answer be possible? Just set the cruise control and relax. I believe that second one is the principal reason folks speed. Every year, tens of thousands folks die, and even more are seriously injured, because they (or someone else) didn’t want to be late.
I’d rather arrive late but alive. How about you?