And THIS is what happens when you drive the speed limit in NJ (Opinion)
Recently my broadcast partner Bill Doyle was pulled over by NJ State Police on his way to work. He was doing 79 in a 65, but maintaining his lane, not cutting in and out of lanes, not tailgating anyone.
He was ticketed.
Basically, he was ticketed for driving with the flow of traffic. Does anyone truly drive at the speed limit? Do troopers themselves when not on a call? Anecdotally speaking, no, they don’t. I’ve clocked them.
So if the game we’re playing here is tickets are about “public safety” and not revenue, what would happen if a person truly played by the rules? What would happen if a person drove by the book and not by the norms of real-world driving?
Two days after he was pulled over I had to drive more than an hour to Philadelphia International Airport to pick up my kids from spring break. I was determined to find out.
I vowed to drive there 100% by the book. This would cover territory in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here’s what happened.
I started out from Flemington, using a blinker even when no one was around, stopping for an extra second at every stop sign, following everything by the rule of law.
Things grew interesting when I got onto 31 South. There’s a stretch for miles of no lane to pass and speed limits from 40 to 50. I maintained the exact speed limit with cruise control, and I was soon being dangerously tailgated.
The first tailgater turned off and was replaced by a second one. This one was even worse in that after one minute or so of reckless tailgating they began flashing beams and angrily blaring the horn because I wasn’t going above the speed limit.
This person eventually turned off and the next guy to come up behind didn’t blow their horn, didn’t flash high beams, but instead blew past me in a no-passing zone.
Once I got to 95 it was more of the same. Even though I stayed to the right, drivers were growing increasingly disgusted with me for doing what police claim they want us to do. Not exceed the speed limit. Even though I was in the rightmost lane people still tailgated, blew horns, and one more flashed high beams.
The closer I got to Philadelphia the worse the reaction. They were having none of this jawn. Some spots where the far right lane was actually a lengthy exit-only lane such as the Girard exit got the craziest.
Not parking myself in an exit lane I drove the speed limit in the first right lane that wasn’t the exit lane and all hell broke loose.
Driving the speed limit I experienced two cars at once were blaring horns at me while one passed on the right (using the exit lane to do so) whipped back in front of me only to brake check me. The other car flipped me a middle finger.
The tailgating as I got below the Ben Franklin Bridge was outright hostile and dangerous. I can only imagine if this were in a center or God forbid left lane.
I made it to Philadelphia International Airport having been blown at, high beamed, brake checked, flipped off, etc., all for driving the way police say they want us to.
Which is my point.
If speeding tickets are about public safety, why was I feeling much safer driving a bit above the limit on my way back? It seems instead of a speeding ticket teaching you a lesson they’re probably better looked upon as the price you pay for not being road raged into a concrete wall.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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