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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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To: SALChamps03

Been trying to tell my representatives (?) this for years and get the same ol' shiess about saving gas. Notice at 75 you get better gas in a new car than 60 at the old standard?


141 posted on 03/03/2006 3:48:40 PM PST by Safetgiver (Noone spoke when the levee done broke, Blanco cried and Nagin lied.)
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To: Palmetto
However braking distance, all others things held constant, increases proportional to the square of the initial velocity.

I should have been clearer: available stopping distance will be proportional to speed minus a constant; required stopping distance is proportional to velocity squared plus a constant times velocity. So assuming vehicles enter every R seconds and are L feet long, and required stopping distance is proportional to half A times velocity squared plus T times velocity, the "excess" stopping distance will be:

RV-L - 1/2 AV^2 - TV

or

-1/2 AV^2 + (R-T)V - L

This establishes maximum and minimum speeds that would allow any vehicle to stop safely even if the vehicle before it were to stop instantly. In practice, vehicles generally don't stop instantly and thus it's usually possible to get away with shorter stopping distances.

I should mention, btw, the importance of leaving extra stopping distance behind vehicles that can or might stop suddenly. If one is following a passenger car ahead of which is visibly-clear road, that car isn't going to come to an instant stop and one's own vehicle won't have to. On the other hand, if one is following a semi that's too tall for an overpass, the trailer might stop extremely suddenly--to the great detriment of anyone immediately behind it.

142 posted on 03/03/2006 3:52:03 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: SteveMcKing
"A = A" is for dopes!

Then you don't understand the reflexive property, it's role in math or Aristotelian logic (which brings us to another point: Ayn Rand did not come up with this gem... it comes from Aristotelian dialectical reasoning: the base of reasoning by logic---or do you think that's for dopes, too?)

A=A for example may be used as a point of departure for any logical argument, such as that what we believe to be right derives from natural law. Without such a property, you cannot argue the validity of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The concept that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights derives from Natural Law. If you don't accept Natural Law as the basis for a discussion on what it right and wrong, then you have no basis for discussing the legal basis of our society... and the whole thread unravels.

Ergo, the reflexive property is useful and interesting because without it we have no common basis for discussion, we can agree about nothing because we cannot agree upon a starting point, and logic and reason cease to exist. If you still believe that this property is "for dopes", I suggest reading a little more on the basis of Western Civilization and Aristotelian logic. If you *still* don't change your mind, then you must believe that logic, reason and Western Civilization are for dopes. :-)

143 posted on 03/03/2006 4:08:17 PM PST by austinTparty
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To: Safetgiver
How does moving to the right after passing a slow moving car clog up the Road? Donut munchers? You must be from NJ?

Assume allowable braking decelleration of 0.5g (16 feet/second^2), and that "bumper to bumper" traffic would represent one vehicle every 16 feet. Reaction time is 1/2 second, and one vehicle enters a stretch of road every two seconds.

If all traffic is in one lane, the minimum and maximum safe speeds would be 16 and 32 feet/second (11 to 22mph). If the traffic is divided evenly among two lanes, the maximum and minimum safe speeds would be about 5 and 107 feet/second (3.5-73mph).

In the former case, at 32 feet/second, vehicles would be 48 feet bumper to bumper. A vehicle would travel 16 feet during the driver's reaction time, and would then take two seconds to stop. During that two seconds, it would travel an average of 16 feet/second. Total distance would be 48 feet.

In the latter case, at 107 feet/second, vehicles would be 412 feet bumper to bumper. The vehicle would travel 53.5 feet during the driver's reaction time, and then take 6.7 seconds to stop, going another 358.5 feet. Total distance would be about 412 feet.

Thus, in the presence of a 900 vehicle/hour traffic load, having everyone pull over to the right all the time would reduce the safe speed of the road from 73mph to 22mph.

144 posted on 03/03/2006 4:10:36 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: relictele

The congestion is in the opposite direction's morning commute. He did a good job at getting drivers to tailgate and fume though.


145 posted on 03/03/2006 5:12:04 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: Temple Owl

ping


146 posted on 03/03/2006 5:18:29 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: SteveMcKing

You must be a city boy. You just go drive across the desert at a mile a minute. I'm the guy doing 90.


147 posted on 03/03/2006 5:29:25 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ( 2006, Ravin' Lunatic since 4/98)
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To: SteveMcKing

To Hell with a constitution, huh? Hope you got your asbestos handy.


148 posted on 03/03/2006 5:33:25 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ( 2006, Ravin' Lunatic since 4/98)
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To: SALChamps03

I am a big fan of the passing lane. It is not practical where there are left exits, ect. I am saying that if the road is filled with people driving 55, then people wanting to drive faster are causing problems and vice versa. I think the law should change. Also, the sleep deprived are not the people I would prefer to have speeding around.


149 posted on 03/03/2006 5:38:57 PM PST by Unassuaged (I have shocking data relevant to the conversation!)
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To: Turbopilot
but I don't think anyplace in the U.S. has such a law on multilane roads.

CT does, on the local blotter it's called "failure to drive right." Being new to the Least coast, I once asked an orificer if that meant failure to drive right, or failure to drive correctly. He, not surprisingly, said, "yes."

150 posted on 03/03/2006 5:51:00 PM PST by j_tull (Remember, before rap came along, we thought disco sucked.)
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To: SALChamps03; Star Traveler

Of course both of you are right in that there are traffic laws against impeding the flow of traffic. I happened to be taking a Freerepublibreak from studying a particularly challenging theory of electrodynamics when I read Star Traveler's following comment:

"If the flow of traffic is faster than you are driving, regardless of whether or not you are driving the speed limit, then you are impeding traffic."

So in a wry moment of inside joking where I was the only one privy to my (lack of) humor, I read the statement as a general physical law (it kind of has that form). The word 'regardless' made me think of someone driving 170 mph with another guy driving 190 zooming up on his bumper. The 170 mph guy might get a ticket, but I meant I doubted he was breaking any law of "impeding traffic", thereby violating Star Traveler's law of traffic. Yes, that is all extremely nerdy.


151 posted on 03/03/2006 5:54:58 PM PST by Flightdeck (Longhorns+January=Rose Bowl Repeat)
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To: PleaseNoMore
Why is everyone in such a hurry all the time?

We lost the war once by being slow. Not gonna do it again. ;-)

152 posted on 03/03/2006 6:05:01 PM PST by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken.)
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To: Cyber Liberty
I would be the first to revert to a confederacy, believe me!

But we lost that war, unfortunately. More to the point, I don't particularly care for the constitution as a defense of anything. I do believe in the right to bear arms, but only for the many good reasons that we should have such a right (and the right to speech, privacy, etc).

That some government document coincidentally agrees with God's gift of freewill shouldn't mean anything.

As long as we are tying this in with Ayn Rand for some reason, the same should be asked of her "A is A" obsession: Why is the obvious treated as genius? Why is the Constitution so worshiped, given its highly redundant declaration that "We may talk..." (Gee thanks, Maaaay I???)

153 posted on 03/03/2006 6:06:30 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: supercat
had an emergency vehicle needed to get somewhere at faster than 55mph, their actions would likely have prevented it from doing so

Nonsense. It should have its sirens and lights on, which should compel all intervening vehicles to yield. When the EMT was behind the "pace cars" then they would be obliged to move to the right as well and no doubt would have. But if you need an excuse to be angry, I guess any one will do.

154 posted on 03/03/2006 6:57:03 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: salexander
A guy trying to get an injured child to the hospital would be within his rights to shoot at anybody blocking highway lanes at 55.

Nice try, moron. Back to the minors at DU for more seasoning.

155 posted on 03/03/2006 6:58:53 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Turbopilot
I avoid I-285, but then again, I have a straight shot down
Powers Ferry to work. I also have the privilege of looking
out of my office window at I-285 and the waterwheel on
the other side all the day through.
156 posted on 03/03/2006 8:49:03 PM PST by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken.)
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To: supercat
How does moving to the right after passing a slow moving car clog up the Road? Donut munchers? You must be from NJ

Thus, in the presence of a 900 vehicle/hour traffic load, having everyone pull over to the right all the time would reduce the safe speed of the road from 73mph to 22mph.

Your given assumptions are flawed. You wouldn't need to slow down again after you passed a slower moving car. You would simply move over in front of him to fill the gap he caused by driving slowly. You would then continue on and outdistance him at a normal rate of speed.

157 posted on 03/03/2006 9:11:27 PM PST by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken.)
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To: sarasmom
No sane person can drive in Atlanta. I think they have a law against it...

Same goes for Houston. I evacuated their a few hurricanes ago. Even though I have family there, I hope I never, ever go back!

158 posted on 03/03/2006 9:27:13 PM PST by jamaly (I evacuate early and often!)
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To: freepatriot32

NOT breakin' the law, NOT breakin' the law [insert Judas Priest riff here]


159 posted on 03/03/2006 9:49:08 PM PST by LibertarianInExile (Freedom isn't free--no, there's a hefty f'in fee--and if you don't throw in your buck-o-5, who will?)
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To: weegee

I was stuck in a pack of people on I-75 behind a couple of FHP cars doing this. It just shows how absurd the !@#$@!%$@ speed limits are in the first place. The sad thing is that nobody seems to care. I hope this film is enough to jog the heads of some folks in the U.S. I doubt it.


160 posted on 03/03/2006 9:53:57 PM PST by LibertarianInExile (Freedom isn't free--no, there's a hefty f'in fee--and if you don't throw in your buck-o-5, who will?)
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