It is taken for granted in America that speed limits are posted to be ignored and exceeded, safely by 10 miles but, with progressive riskiness, by 20, 30, or more, “risk” here meaning not physical or mechanical danger associated with high speed but the likelihood of getting nailed by the cops. The trick is to look out for them hiding in ambush with their speed gun and slow down in time. This cat and mouse game is honed to a fine art, starting from the moment one leaves the privacy of home and jumps in the car to interact with society, with the world, where law kicks in, until he or she returns home.
Is such behavior, such mentality consistent with a conscientious law-abiding citizenry? Not at all. America will end up a country of cynics who despise and flout the law, play with it, sneak around it, the more expertly the more they learn about it, say, by going to law school, as shown recently by the DOJ and FBI lawyers shamelessly, arrogantly lying and defying the Congress, a degree of deviousness abhorrent and unthinkable to the Puritan founders of the nation.
The damage has been done, the US recording the world’s highest incarceration rate, 655 out of 100,000, which is 15 times Japan’s 45 and 6 times South Korea’s 109. The US murder rate is 5.35 per 100,000, which is 20 times Japan’s 0.28 and 8 times South Korea’s 0.7. Nor is the home safe from the inroads of fundamental duplicity mirroring the public mindset, the US divorce rate inching above 60%.
The only way to turn the tide is to take down all the speed signs and trust the individual driver’s good judgment by instituting a rigorous and thorough driver education regime prior to licensing, modeled after the fighter pilot training program. Considering the deadly consequences of mishandling an automobile, truly astonishing is the laxity with which driver licenses are handed out, seemingly in collusion with the auto industry lobby to maximize car ownership and operation. DMV should require each applicant to complete weeks or months of video assisted classes subject to tough graduation exams, followed by virtual road tests in all possible situations. Only then the applicant is taken out for an actual road test, thorough and rigorous enough to certify the right instincts and reflexes in all conceivable driving as well as parking scenarios. So licensed, the novice driver will be as good as a veteran and know not to slow down in a school zone, for example, when the school is closed and no children are around.
Only on freeways with no traffic controls physically, mechanically unsafe limits, say 100 MPH, may be enforced with electronic surveillance and automatic fining. On arrow straight roadways stretching from horizon to horizon in states like Utah 200 MPH may be considered, if auto technology supports it.