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.'"
The politicians prolly told him if the Highway Patrol kept that stuff up he'd make clear that the beltway boys were doing exactly what Rand says implementing the double-nickel in the first place. Can't have that, not with control at stake.
"Which section of the Constitution authorizes the federal government to set speed limits?"
The same section that allowed the feds to build highways and impose gas taxes for their construction and maintenance, I'm sure.
I don't know about any other states, but Maine has such a law as does Illinois.
"If you *still* don't change your mind, then you must believe that logic, reason and Western Civilization are for dopes."
I don't think that will be compelling argument to many folks on FR, who think that logic and reason are what politicians do every day, i.e., state talking points, insult the other party, impugn the motives of the other party, bring up irrelevant conflicts of the other party, repeat talking points, etc. This is the political dialogue that currently exists, and what many have subsequently confused with logical argument, since they've heard that it is 'argument' between the two parties. I sometimes wish that just one candidate would explain basic logic to his crowd before speaking. Just seeing a single one say that because we know A->B does not mean B->A or -A->-B, and give an example, would warm my heart.
IL actually has made it a law that the left lane is the passing lane. I think it just went into effect Jan 1.
Last fall I fell from my treestand while deerhunting and hung upside down for 9 days. Odin arrived and told me that the rate should be 12 spear throws per mug of mead.
Ive spent the last several months testing to come up with a MPH rating.
If my car can be pulled out of the ravine again to finish testing or if this hangover ever clears up to try to decipher my notes then Ill get back to you...
There should be NO set speed limit at all, which used to be true in some states before the Fed. blackmailed the free states into compliance with their demands.
Basic Speed Law, do not drive faster than the conditions will safely allow.
Crowded road = slow down.
Bad weather = slow down.
Crap car = slow down.
Open road, good weather, good car = GO FOR IT!
The lower limits are for revenue, nothing more.
If speed really killed airlines would only do 55 MPH, not 550 MPH!
There should be no national speed limit.
All we need is some bunch of slick politicians or bureaucrats 2000 miles from here telling us how fast we can or cannot drive in rural North Dakota. NO thank you.
Besides, in Wyoming, the death rate went UP when the 55 mph limit was passed. People accustomed to making a 600 mile trip in 8 hours were taking over 12 at the new limit, and falling asleep at the wheel.
That's been explained ad nauseum in Texas: That does not apply to vehicles already doing the maximum speed allowable by law. You cannot ever get a ticket for impeding traffic if you're doing the maximum legal speed.
Simple: point out how bad it is to go faster than 55 mph--(oh the carnage)--force all the speed limits to 55 or less. This will slow down truckers, cut their pay, and slow down truck carriers who move a very large share of food, fuel, mail, etc.
Ask any trucker. Slow down here, slow down there. Soon Atlas will Shrug.
1. Deliberately creating a situation where more than five cars are closely following you--a major no-no!
2. Side-by-side driving is a MAJOR no-no in California, even more so than tailgating!
The only way to get back into the right hand lane would be to reduce speed to match the traffic in that lane. And if most of the people are in the right hand lane it will have to be moving pretty slowly. The way to get maximal throughput is to have traffic roughly balanced between the two lanes.
The car in the right lane in front of you is traveling
at forty-five MPH. There is no one in front of him
because he has been traveling at that rate of speed
since Toledo. You see a break in the left lane
and pull around him. You then get by him, pull
back in front of him, and accelerate to sixty MPH.
If the slow car had been keeping up with the flow-
of-traffic there would have been no reason to go
around him. That's how it works on I-285 - drive
fast and stay alive.
Because the law in question is effectively a tax. Motorists either have to pay a time tax in the form of time wasted on the roads, or else a monetary tax if they get caught trying to avoid the former.
Further, depending upon the assumptions one makes regarding reaction times, braking effectiveness, and stopping scenarios, there are some traffic conditions where lower speed limits can increase the likelihood of accidents by causing vehicles to be spaced closer together than they would be at higher speeds.
BTW, posted speed limits are generally safe to drive under mildly-unfavorable conditions. In most places, under favorable conditions, a competant driver could safely travel much faster. While it is certainly useful to have signage advising drivers of the relative safe speeds of various roads, there is no reason why a road which can be safely travelled at 55mph during moderate rainfall could not be safely travelled on a clear day at a faster speed.
I drive the speed limit. And I rarely find myself caught in a pressure wave. No traffic to the front, left, or rear. I'm safe as houses and, to date, have never been in an accident. I'll continue to drive the speed limit :)
You've got to be kidding. In far West Texas it's 75, and it could easily be 80, which everyone drives anyway. The biggest danger on West Texas highways is falling asleep, and at least at 80 one isn't on the road as long.