Skip to comments.Drive 55, Try to Stay Alive (students film the results of going the speed limit)
Posted on 03/02/2006 7:29:00 PM PST by Turbopilot
They knew it was dangerous.
"We could have really been hurt," said one of the Atlanta college students after their experiment.
It won't win an Oscar, but 'A Meditation on the Speed Limit,' a short film that was the brainchild of college student Andy Medlin, is quite a hit.
Some strange scenes, including a car passing in the emergency lane, were the product of Georgia State students simply following the speed limit.
"I was pretty sure that I was doing something stupid," said another.
That may be true. But, young and brash, they had a plan.
They wanted to go the speed limit on I-285.
In four cars, on all four lanes, the students from Georgia State University and other local colleges paced the entire midmorning flow of Perimeter traffic behind them at 55 mph for half an hour. They call it "an act of civil obedience."
"I get a lot of tickets," said Andy Medlin, 20, the Georgia State student who came up with the idea. "The best way to expose the flaws in the system is by following it."
Thankfully, they survived unharmed, though much maligned. The eight students captured it all on video for a student film competition, and the five-minute piece has fired up the country this week on blogs, talk radio, and national news broadcasts.
"NPR was the first biter," said Jordan Streiff, 21, the group's experienced filmmaker and an Asian Studies major at Georgia State. "Initially, we were going to be on ABC's cable network and Web site, but overnight the traffic to the video spiked so they put it on World News Tonight."
The film, "A Meditation on the Speed Limit," was intended as a drama, but won best comedy for Georgia last month at the Campus MovieFest, a traveling movie competition. It will compete against other states' winners for a national title later this spring, said David Roemer, one of the film festival's founders.
In the meantime, driven by blog attention to the video that Streiff posted on Google, a national discussion has bloomed about what is legal and what is right. One of the filmmakers, Georgia State student Amanda Hunter, was interviewed about it on Neal Boortz's radio show on WSB.
"It's just so overwhelming," Hunter said Thursday, after leaving a midterm exam on Sufism and Islamic mysticism. "Jordan's calling me today like, 'Do you have time for CBS?' I called him back and he said, 'Don't worry about that now, just take your test.'"
David Spear, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said if the students weren't blocking emergency vehicles and were going the speed limit, "they didn't do a thing wrong." Spear added that the speed limit was lowered to 55 because it saves lives. "In Atlanta, the actual effect of it is we expect the people going 75 to move over so the people going 95 can have the right of way," he said.
There was little doubt what the students' companions on the road thought that sunny Friday in January. The video shows drivers' steadily mounting hostility to the blockade. Cars honk. They drive onto the shoulder to speed around the students. Obscene gestures are made. The money shot, however, was captured beautifully by Hunter, who stood with her camera on the Church Street bridge over I-285 to watch the approaching traffic.
What she saw was ... nothing. An empty highway, with one or two stray cars. And then, like the hordes on the horizon, over the rise come the students backed by a phalanx of cars, cars, cars. The film plays it for all it's worth, bouncing the image back and forth to the funky beat of the Guru Fish song "Plush."
"It was so fantastic," said Hunter. "I just started jumping up and down and going crazy. There's beeping horns and craziness."
Then it passed, Hunter said, and a woman driving on the bridge stopped and asked, "What was the point of all that?"
Hunter explained the project. It was to make people think, she said.
The woman amicably rolled her eyes, Hunter recalled. "It was kind of like, 'Oh, you kids and your statements.'"
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
I flubbed the title. Could you please either delete everything after the opening parenthesis or finish the descriptive statement I meant to add, which was "Students film the results of going the speed limit"? Thank you.
No sane person can drive in Atlanta.
I think they have a law against it...
Speed limits of 55 miles an hour on highways designed for much faster speeds are stupid. Not only are they a revenue enhancement device for government, they suit the Lowest Common Denominator of society, the dumb idiots that shouldn't be driving anyway. Only in America can some dumbass with nothing more than a heartbeat going on for them can get a driver's license.
They were lucky no one got shot.
"Spear added that the speed limit was lowered to 55 because it saves lives"
In Houston the EPA mandated that we lower the speed limit from 70 to 55 to lower pollution (even though it was shown it would not impact Houston's pollution problem). The speed limit was relaxed and raised to 60-65 in some areas but no posted limits of 70mph in city limits anymore. And not for safety. The city likes those tickets (for revenue).
If she is still alive and failed to detonate her suicide bomb, she failed the exam.
60 should be the national speed limit.
Not 55, not 65.... 60.
Just one more clever attempt to destroy America by impeding commerce by the tree-huggers.
Too bad you can't cite politicians for impeding traffic. Otherwise the fines from that could fund the government.
Problem is, I don't think all states have that law (although I'm not sure about Georgia - though from having learned to drive there and living there for years it's certainly not enforced). Even better would be a law requiring you to keep right except to pass, but I don't think anyplace in the U.S. has such a law on multilane roads.
Of the 4 vehicles, the 3 in the left-ish passing lanes could have been cited for impeding traffic, as they should have been passing. Not sure if it was "illegal" in a technical sense.
I witnessed a police officer on mototcycle do this one day (zigzagging on the highway to keep all 6 lanes compliant). He rode like this for a few miles and then sped off (breaking the law, ass he did to also take the lead of the pack). I witnessed his full ride and never saw any traffic condition to warrant his morning commute behavior.
And I never saw him ticket any offenders who attempted (unsuccessfully) to pass him by going faster than 60MPH.
He never turned his flashing lights or siren on.
Shouldn't some blame go to the people who posted the speed limits in the first place?
I should think that if obeying the law impedes commerce, it is the law that is wrong and not the citizens.
Personal opinion.... (or, "God's Word" to me!)
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