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Drive 55, Try to Stay Alive (students film the results of going the speed limit)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | 3-3-2006 | Ariel Hart

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.'"


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: badlaws; brats; civilobedience; donutwatch; selfinfatuatedbrats; speed; speedlimit
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"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

1 posted on 03/02/2006 7:29:03 PM PST by Turbopilot
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To: Admin Moderator

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.


2 posted on 03/02/2006 7:30:43 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Turbopilot

No sane person can drive in Atlanta.
I think they have a law against it...


3 posted on 03/02/2006 7:35:09 PM PST by sarasmom (I don't care who John Galt is, I just need his email address.)
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To: Turbopilot
It will be educational to red the real people's reaction to the experiment.
No. Not the traffic behind them, that is a sample skewed big time. And in more ways than one.
4 posted on 03/02/2006 7:36:31 PM PST by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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To: Turbopilot
Snore.

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.

5 posted on 03/02/2006 7:37:33 PM PST by Looking4Truth (FOR SALE: 1 slightly used U.S. Citizenship and SSN. Make Offer. Will trade for Matricula card.)
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To: Turbopilot
It's a good thing no one was killed trying to get around them... It also seems to me that the law requiring slower traffic to the right was being violated. They were definitely impeding traffic which is also illegal.
6 posted on 03/02/2006 7:37:58 PM PST by DB ()
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To: Turbopilot

"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).


7 posted on 03/02/2006 7:38:38 PM PST by weegee ("Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but Democrats believe every day is April 15.")
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To: Turbopilot
"It's just so overwhelming," Hunter said Thursday, after leaving a midterm exam on Sufism and Islamic mysticism.

If she is still alive and failed to detonate her suicide bomb, she failed the exam.

8 posted on 03/02/2006 7:39:12 PM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 10-17)
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To: Turbopilot

60 should be the national speed limit.

Not 55, not 65.... 60.


9 posted on 03/02/2006 7:39:28 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: Turbopilot
Movie here
10 posted on 03/02/2006 7:40:17 PM PST by cabojoe
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To: Looking4Truth

Just one more clever attempt to destroy America by impeding commerce by the tree-huggers.


11 posted on 03/02/2006 7:40:32 PM PST by pankot
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To: SteveMcKing

Why?


12 posted on 03/02/2006 7:40:47 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Looking4Truth

Good post.


13 posted on 03/02/2006 7:41:15 PM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: DB
They were definitely impeding traffic which is also illegal.

Too bad you can't cite politicians for impeding traffic. Otherwise the fines from that could fund the government.

14 posted on 03/02/2006 7:41:39 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: DB

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.


15 posted on 03/02/2006 7:42:29 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: DB
They were definitely impeding traffic which is also illegal.

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.

16 posted on 03/02/2006 7:42:37 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: Turbopilot

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.


17 posted on 03/02/2006 7:43:17 PM PST by weegee ("Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but Democrats believe every day is April 15.")
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To: pankot
Just one more clever attempt to destroy America by impeding commerce by the tree-huggers.

Shouldn't some blame go to the people who posted the speed limits in the first place?

18 posted on 03/02/2006 7:43:26 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: pankot

I should think that if obeying the law impedes commerce, it is the law that is wrong and not the citizens.


19 posted on 03/02/2006 7:44:00 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Turbopilot

Personal opinion.... (or, "God's Word" to me!)


20 posted on 03/02/2006 7:44:04 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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