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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: P-Marlowe
1 Cubit = 18 inches. One handsbreadth = 4 inches.

Ten cubits being outside diameter, and 30 cubits being the inside circumfrence?

201 posted on 03/05/2006 4:33:21 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: SteveMcKing
Not sure if it was "illegal" in a technical sense.

Yes, it was, and you are correct that the 3 drivers in the left lanes were in violation. However there is more, they would be in violation if they were unknown to each other, the foreknowledge and agreement to violate the law is the necessary act to engage in a conspiracy, always a felony, and involve the right lane driver in the conspiracy.

They are felons and will be going on the lam faster than 55.

202 posted on 03/05/2006 4:47:00 PM PST by Navy Patriot
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To: supercat


203 posted on 03/05/2006 5:47:17 PM PST by P-Marlowe (((172 * 3.141592653589793238462) / 180) * 10 = 30.0196631)
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To: George Snuffleupagus

"Police, fire, DOT, they're all there to make your life easier and to ensure we get something in return for subjecting ourselves to society's laws. "

Are you stoned, or really that naive?

Either is scary to anyone who has learned what two of those agencies really do to ("for") the public.
And the fire department has it's ways of getting over on us as well, just not quite so often or obviously.

204 posted on 03/05/2006 8:09:20 PM PST by Richard-SIA ("The natural progress of things is for government to gain ground and for liberty to yield" JEFFERSON)
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To: Turbopilot

The video:

205 posted on 03/05/2006 9:20:35 PM PST by traviskicks (
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To: LibertarianInExile
Hope springs eternal and all that...

As for me, I just wish that all politicians would go away and who the president of the USA is becomes completely irrelevant.

206 posted on 03/07/2006 2:24:29 AM PST by austinTparty
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To: SteveMcKing

Why not base the national speed limit on the size of the state? Texas, being so large could have an 80 mph limit. You guys in Massachusetts? 20 mph. Not 15, not 25 --- 20!

207 posted on 03/07/2006 2:40:56 AM PST by Cap Huff
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To: Turbopilot
More than anything else, the 55 MPH limit has led to cynicism and disrespect for government authority since it was first imposed during the fuel crisis of the 70s.

Americans distrust government anyway, that's who we are.

But to flagrantly dare an American to flout the law is to invite wholesale disaster and eventually pitchforks. Maybe even a waterside tea party.

Conservatives fear the 'mob in the streets' that overcome our civil authorities' ability to maintain order.

Want to avoid a coup ? by Hillaryites ?

Bring back respect for the law, and parental authroity.


208 posted on 03/07/2006 2:42:16 AM PST by capitalist229 (Keep Democrats out of our pockets and Republicans out of our bedrooms.)
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To: Turbopilot

Actually, in some jurisdictions it is against the law to not give way to faster traffic. I don't know about Georgia. So driving in four cars in a coordinated fashion in order to block all four lanes might be illegal. It certainly created a hazardous condition.

I started driving the speed limit on the Garden State Parkway about half a year ago, when some moron passed me on the right shoulder when I was driving in the slow lane at 15 mph over the limit. Now I drive in the right hand lane at 55 mph for the ten miles I am on this road. It costs me 2 minutes each way, my gas milage has increased 5 mpg, and I travel in a little bubble of slow moving traffic.

Some of the leadfoots here may have a problem with that, but the Garden State Parkway is six lanes wide, each way, at this stretch. I leave five lanes to the law-breakers. I'm just gonna follow the double nickel on that lane alllll the way to the right.

209 posted on 03/07/2006 2:53:48 AM PST by bondjamesbond (RICE '08)
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To: SteveMcKing

Agree that states should set it. But 60 is ridiculously slow for many parts of the country.

210 posted on 03/07/2006 6:47:06 PM PST by Some hope remaining.
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To: Turbopilot
"It was so fantastic," said Hunter. "I just started jumping up and down and going crazy. There's beeping horns and craziness."


211 posted on 03/07/2006 6:52:03 PM PST by Fintan (Did you really think I could post such insightful replies if I actually read the article???)
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To: Cap Huff

Fair enough...

I completely lost my argument here, but this is the most belabored thread ever. I don't feel like I lost too much.

(OK YOU ALL "WIN"!!! Happy?)

212 posted on 03/07/2006 8:40:48 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: Fruitbat
There's no practical driving methodology or system as there is in Germany

One good thing about the EU is that the Teutonic Highway Sanity has permeated even .... Italy!

The Germans are very good drivers around town, going at a modest pace, obeying signals, signalling, watching for pedestrians, etc. Once out on the Autobahn, it is understood that the fast lane is for people who can (a) afford it by having good equipment, and (b) expect those lower on the automotive food chain to stay out of the way.

BTW, don't try having a bad tire, or a rusty vehicle. So you can imagine my shock when seeing all this sanity starting to be practiced on the Italian roads (well not Napoli).

So if you yearn for the kamikazi Euro drivers of your lost youth, I recommend Greece ... and Portugal. Whew!

213 posted on 03/08/2006 12:24:46 PM PST by Kenny Bunk (OK, how bad we hurt for 2006? Who we running in 2008?)
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To: Kenny Bunk

Pretty funny!

Dead on about Germany.

214 posted on 03/08/2006 9:05:56 PM PST by Fruitbat
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