Tag: Speeding

By on May 6, 2016

Fuzzbuster II Radar Detector, Image: dave_7/Flickr

by Richard A. Ratay

In 1974, Congress passed legislation establishing the national highway speed limit of 55 mph. The original goal of the law was to conserve gas during the first OPEC Oil Crisis. Later, proponents of the lower limit argued it reduced highway fatalities. (Remember “55 Saves Lives”?) In time, studies showed the lower limit accomplished neither objective. It did, however, irk just about every driver across America.

Truckers were already equipped with their own means of skirting the new limit. Using their CB radios, long haul truck drivers kept each other informed about the whereabouts of “bear traps” and “Smokeys” lurking along the highways.

But drivers of automobiles sought their own weapon for combatting enforcement of the new lower speed limit. They found it in a device called “The Fuzzbuster.” Released a year before passage of the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit, the Fuzzbuster was the creation of Dale Smith, an Ohio driver who had earlier found himself seething at the side of the road after being nabbed in a police speed trap.

(Read More…)

By on April 1, 2016

Debadged Audi A4 on Ohio Turnpike, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

My father, may he rest in peace, grew up in Brooklyn, but met a Detroit girl while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent him to the University of Michigan for a quickie associate degree in civil engineering during World War II. My sisters have both lived in the New York City area for decades. As a result, though I’m a native Detroiter and proud Michigander through-and-through, there’s probably never been a 12-month period in my life when I haven’t been in the Big Apple.

The construction of Interstate 80 was a great moment in our family’s life, as it meant taking at least two hours off of the Canadian route through Ontario and then down the New York State Thruway. It also meant finding out that people in Ohio take the Ohio State University versus the University of Michigan sports rivalry very seriously. (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2016

Clovis police car courtesy sott.net

Gather a bunch of factory guys together in a bar and you can smell the bullshit flying from a mile away.

In this case, the factory guys were myself and other field sales managers from American Honda Motor Company, and the bar was located inside the Marriott in Torrance, California. The talk turned to working with Honda dealerships.

“I made that dealer take more green del Sols, and I told him to build a new facility and to get his CSI up,” said Ed. “Then I screwed his daughter.”

CA Distributor Plate Courtesy dmv.ca.govHaha, sure you did!

Shortly thereafter, the conversation turned to the new California Distributor license plates used by “import” car corporations on company-owned vehicles. The new version did not spell out the word “Distributor” and instead displayed the letters “DST.”

CA DST Plate Courtesy dmv.ca.gov“The next time I get pulled over for speeding and the cop asks what ‘DST’ means,” said Tony, “I’ll say that it’s short for ‘District Attorney’ and I bet he will let me off with a warning.”

Haha, sure you will!

A few months later, I would attempt that very ticket-beating tactic myself.
(Read More…)

By on September 16, 2015


Earlier in the day on Tuesday, as I drove my brilliant little Ford Fiesta ST on Route 15 through the rolling hills of Kentucky on my way to Kingsport, Tennessee, I was wondering what the topic of my Wednesday column would be.

Thankfully, later in the evening, Kingsport’s Finest solved that issue for me.

In the interest of full transparency, the drive from my home in Central Kentucky to Kingsport should take about four hours, according to MyFordTouch Navigation. I did it in about 3:15, including a stop for a large, unsweetened tea and an apple pie at a McDonald’s along the way. The Fiesta is just too fun for interstate driving, so rather than the I-75 route I could have chosen, I took the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway until I reached Route 15, which took me to US 23 into Virginia and then into Tennessee for the final few miles. Obviously, I didn’t adhere to the posted speed limits for the vast majority of the drive.

(Read More…)

By on July 2, 2015


Or, as I call it, Virginia is stupid… (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2014

Traffic stop courtesy northescambia.com

There is more wacky traffic enforcement news coming out of Missouri this month than any other state. Last week, the Missouri attorney general began proceedings to shut down the ability of thirteen speed-trap-infested towns to generate excessive revenue from traffic tickets. Also last week, the cities of O’Fallon, Lake Saint Louis and St. Peters filed suit against St. Charles County saying its residents illegally voted for a ban on red light cameras. The suit actually admitted that the rationale was the potential loss of revenue rather than due to any safety concerns. Even better, the former mayor of St. Peters was convicted in 2006 of accepting cash kickbacks from a red light camera company. (For a truly astounding list of government officials who have been caught taking bribes from photo enforcement companies, go here.)

The big story is that the Missouri ACLU is going after the police department in the Kansas City suburb of Grain Valley for issuing tickets to motorists who tried to warn other drivers of speed-traps by flashing their headlights or high beams. My first thought was: wow, people really still do that? (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2014

Benz traffic stop courtesy www.mirror.co.uk

I drive around 30,000 miles a year and so it is inevitable that I occasionally get stopped for speeding. Thanks to taking “Traffic Safety” schools that allow scofflaws like me to avoid having the infraction appear on my driving record, I have a spotless history: numerous arrests, no convictions.

A few weeks ago I blundered into a small-town speed trap while going 67 mph in a 50 mph zone, ignoring a radar detector signal that I wrongly assumed was false. Throw in the fact that it was at night and that I was in unfamiliar territory meant I absolutely deserved getting pulled over.

Little did I know that the online ticket-beating traffic school I chose to attend had a curriculum written for 10 year olds. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2013


In January 2010 a Swiss court handed down a $290,000 fine on a traffic violation. To be sure , the violation in question was a big one and involved speeds approaching 180mph. Police say that, once they rolled in behind the speeding car, it took it nearly a half mile to come to a complete stop. Apparently the driver had avoided earlier detection by radar controlled cameras because his speed was so high that it exceeded the cameras’ ability to measure the car’s velocity. Despite the severity of the offense, it was not the car’s speed that caused the severity of the fine, it was the driver’s income. That’s an idea I think I could get behind. (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2012

ATS photo

The city of St Petersburg, Florida uses camera systems sold by American Traffic Solutions (ATS, formerly American Traffic Systems) to issue tickets to drivers allegedly running red lights. According to The Newspaper, when the activists at St Petersburg Red Light Cameras reviewed logs of the 21,602 photo tickets issued in the city from October 29, 2011 to April 30, 2012 they discovered that the ATS cameras were reporting that they “measured” Bugatti Veyron level speeds from cars not realistically capable of that kind of velocity.

(Read More…)

By on April 21, 2012

With the release of the SciBaru FRZ just weeks away, everyone’s been caught up in the sticker price, available options and aftermarket support for the car, but nobody has asked a crucial question; what about insurance?

(Read More…)

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