Speed Cameras: In Tennessee, The State Volunteers You!

According to the Chattanoogan.com, a recent traffic study performed on Signal Mountain roads revealed that more than 90 percent of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit. Can you guess what the city’s response was to this fact? If you guessed “let’s install speed cameras and ticket everybody,” then you’re absolutely right: “Signal Mountain Police Chief Boyd Veal, who presented the report to the council, said he believes the town should consider using traffic cameras mounted on trucks to catch speeders, as Chattanooga and Red Bank already do.” This is how speed cameras have spread across states. If a city hears that another city nearby is making a bunch of money after installing cameras, you can bet that cameras are going to be first on their list when a “speeding problem” shows up. Not everyone is on board though . . .

“If 95 percent of the town is speeding, then the speed limits are too low,” argued Noah Long, a frequent critic of council actions. “Studies show that most people drive at speeds consistent with road conditions . . . Now there are always fools. There are always kids . . . But I’m absolutely, totally against cameras.”

This is exactly right. When over 90% of drivers are breaking the speed limit, the problem lies with the speed limit itself. Ninety percent of the people driving through Signal Mountain don’t magically transform into dangerous drivers.

As is often the case when there is outcry over a city speed limit, the heart of the problem lies with the disconnect in priorities between the people living near the road and the people who drive on that road:

Mr. Long, the retired engineer, took particular aim at an earlier town council action setting the speed limit on Taft Highway – the main road through town – at 35 mph.

Low speed limits make sense in residential neighborhoods where children play and adults walk along the streets, he said. But Taft Highway is a four-lane “collector . . . major arterial . . . road.”

Unfortunately for motorists, the people living near a road are often able to dictate lower speed limits because they have more influence over local decision makers.

National Motorists Association
National Motorists Association

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  • NotFast NotFast on Sep 16, 2009

    Politicians are our representatives. If they fail to represent our interests, their actions need to be publicized and then voted out. Simple.

  • Confused1096 Confused1096 on Sep 16, 2009

    These things are all over the place in a couple of towns outside of Knoxville. Sad to see other parts of this state catching up with us.

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
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