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.'"
That doesn't make any sense. You can't be cited legally for impeding someone's "right" to go 25 MPH over the speed limit especially if you are already going the maximum allowable speed.
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. The 55 MPH speed limit is bull. I will not abide by it.
I always though it to be "Warp Factor 7" on the open road..
Your words. However if you believe the states should set the limit I have no problem with it. The thing is there are some areas of the country that 60 is not reasonable. Some areas it would be quite safe for the limit to be 80-90 or even up to the driver. Today's cars are quite safe at higher speeds
Are you so sure of that? That quote from Rand at the top of the thread sure seems like what is happening in the USA. Making all this silly stuff illegal (airing out your ride, growing what you smoke, making your own whiskey without permission from the feds, making strippers wear pasties, taking responsibility for your own protection, etc.) is evident in real life. Rand writes as a reflection of society. Chomsky is a parasite who accepts funding from the same entities he wishes to destroy.
They misspelled "obedience" in the title.
I stand corrected.... sorry I made us both waste keystrokes.
It also seems to me that the law requiring slower traffic to the right was being violated."
Well, you live in California, so you know that one.
Many, many morons in the fast lane who do not have a clue.
Flash the highbeams at them and get the bird.
Get too close and they hit their brakes.
Honk at them and get shot.
In any case, I see fiction as a wonderful reflection, or the creative end-product of a society.
Never should it be used as the basis or starting-point of any law, culture, or ideal. That's plain sensationalism... dramatics.
It has nothing to do with the speed limit. It's unsafe and disruptive driving if you're intentionally getting in the way of others who are having to brake and/or take evasive maneuvers to avoid you.
This is as ignorant as the taxpayer financed cigarette commercials scripted and played out to offer you reasons you should hate corporate tobacco companies. Thus implying you shouldn't buy their product.
Speed limits were originally put in place to keep traffic flowing. Now with vehicle safe recommended speeds exceeding most posted limits, speed limits are there to slow traffic.
And like the cigarette commercials, there is no clear implication as to what they intended the outcome of their little experiment to be. Did they think traffic wouldn't back up? Posing a question, creating a video to confirm the question, still begs the question.
What was the question??
Doing 50 in a 55 is legal too. It's a limit, not a command directive. And getting to where you are going as quickly and safely as you can without incident is a product of our times, our population, and our technology. Not our laws.
NOTE: I agree with you.
There, now that is out of the way. :)
Seriesly, though, you should post more on threads about things that you like and agree with. It'd make you seem less grouchy. ;D
Let them try that on the San Diego Freeway and the news won't be about students making a movie......
It has been proven that the longer you are on a roadway, the greater your chances of getting in an accident.
That's why I get to my destination as quickly as possible.
I wonder if it's illegal to prevent someone from breaking the law?
What's useful and interesting are statements of equivalence. Energy does not "equal" mass times light-squared, but we speak of their equivalence, semantically anyway.
"A = B + C"... now that's helpful, because we can infer very much about different values this way.
"A = A" is for dopes!
Not 55, not 65.... 60.
70 should be the national speed limit.
Not 60, not 80...70. Then you get the 9 mph gimme.
If you can't drive safely at 70 mph on a freeway, you need to drive on a 2 lane road. And stay out of the way of people trying to get somewhere.
Block these kids from getting a beer at their campus house party and see how in your face PO'd they get. And fast!
Come on up to the great(?) Pacific Northwet (;-)), here in the Peoples Republic of Washington the law is keep right except to pass.
60 should be the national speed limit.
Not 55, not 65.... 60.
No,k it should be 70. Not 65, not 75.... 70.
This has been almost 30 years ago, but I remember not too long after the double nickel went national North Carolina had two state troopers run side by side dead on 55 the length of I-85 all the way from Virginia state line to South Carloina line south of Charlotte. Best I recall, by the time they made South Carolina traffic was backed up to Charlotte.
I remember the Highway Patrol spokesman sounding quite pleased with himself, made some crack about doing it regularly, but they must have caught some powerful heat over that stunt. Best I heard of it was NEVER repeated.
Your argument is air-tight....
Still, the Lord told me 60.
I noticed that, too. They also used "like" and "you know" way, way, way too much.
Absolutely. Perhaps the best way to point out the futility and stupidity of certain laws is to rigorously comply with them. One thing's for sure: anyone who was caught behind these students while they were obeying the law would certainly vote for a referendum to change the speed laws.
You'll want to take your complaint up with Aristotle, who's the philosopher from where Rand got that argument.
And I doubt Rand would have repeated it, except for the huge number of people who either don't understand it or completely ignore it. As a modern example, let's say "A" is "criminal", or one who has no ethical or moral problem with violating the law. Those who support gun bans do not understand that A is A, because they want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by making it criminal to possess guns. In other words, they believe A (the criminal) to be not A (the person who will obey a given law).
No thanks; I like the South and I'm too far from there right now as it is :-p I am curious, though: given that you have such a law in Washington, is it obeyed or enforced? Could a person drive at some arbitrary speed in the left lane without being blocked by a person who refuses to move right?
Bump for later.
This just in: Zeus texted me and told me he wants speed laws written by traffic engineers, not revenue-hungry politicians or feeeelings. And my god can beat up your god!
As if anyone observes the posted speed limits in Houston. I personally saw Vice President George Bush's motorcade fly down Memorial Drive on election night 1988 at at least 60 mph.
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here
My son emailed that to me the other day because he's proud he goes the speed limit (contrary to his mom).
(You know they're grown up when they prove they are smarter than you. LOL)
Yes, more exposure equals greater risk.
That being said, a favorite theory of mine is that if the most dangerous part of any road is an intersection, the less time spent there, the less likely it is for you to be hit there.
Using the standard lane widths, and assuming two lanes in either direction, plus a turn lane (average arterial in any city); by going through it at sixty miles per hour you are only exposed for .8 sec.
Sadly, empirical data (lurid stories in the newspaper) seems to prove otherwise, as reports of fatal or near fatal accidents in intersections always mention that the cited party was going sixty miles an hour.
Oh well, back to the drawing board!
You have got to be kidding! LOL!
Could a person drive at some arbitrary speed in the left lane without being blocked by a person who refuses to move right?
They ALL drive at arbitrary speeds. I gererally run 70 to 75 in a posted 60 zone, and probably 80% of those around me are doing the same. The other 20% seem about equally divided between those going at least 85 the those doing 45.
However, it must be said that it is almost a given that the ones going 45 will be in the left lane!
Sufi's are the day dreaming, make love, not war, poetry writing lover boys of Islam. they really don't do sucide bombs.
The more conservative of mainstream Islam consider Sufi's heratics.
The problem is that the government owns the roads and so will decide what is done on them. If private individuals owned the roads then no one could complain about what speed they required their customers to drive.
Many states have that law. In NY, I-90 has that very sign posted every few yards.
Well if thats all it takes I'm pretty sure my kids are going to all grown up by the time they are 12 :-) (i ride all forms of vehicles motorized and non motorized with no protective devices strapped to me AND vote straight Libertarian ticket every election lol)
If you are in a 55 zone and drive at 55 during a snowstorm, you might be ticketed for driving too fast. The law usually says you need to adjust your speed to the road/weather conditions. I don't know how many times I have had people blow by me when it is snowing only to find them in a ditch, up a hill, into a wall, or under a truck a few miles down the road.
You said -- "If you can't drive safely at 70 mph on a freeway, you need to drive on a 2 lane road. And stay out of the way of people trying to get somewhere."
I thought it was interesting that in Texas, the speed limit on freeways and some state highways are 70. Now, that means that a state highway of two lanes -- with driveways and side roads directly connecting to the highway -- has the same 70 MPH limit as protected access freeways. But, I found that to be just fine -- when I was driving on those state highways. It was quite nice to be keeping my speed up on those highways. And it was a "natural speed" too.
In Oklahoma, on the turnpikes (the toll roads), they have a speed of 75, while the freeways (non-toll roads) have 70. I found that going 75 is starting to feel like it is not a "natural speed". Going 80 is definitely starting to step out of a natural feeling speed.
And then, I find the speed of 55 MPH in Oregon to be quite limiting and causing more anxiety to keep it at 55. It's more natural to be going 60-70 than it is to be going 55 MPH.
And in all these examples, I'm talking about open highways, away from towns (but not necessarily away from "houses" [along the highways]).
So, the best kind of driving seems to be in Texas and Oklahoma (for the roads and speed limits). I don't like the dropping down to 65, at night, for the speeds in Texas, though. Oklahoma does not drop night-time speeds.
In terms of your comments, going to a alternate "2 lane road" -- it's still 70 MPH in Texas. So, it will be more hazardous for that person if they can't drive 70 on a freeway -- because it will now be 70 on a "2 lane road" (with more hazards).
The whole point of "A is A" is that there are people out there, many of them, who believe that something can be what it is not, or that something can not be what it is. For example, the hordes who scream that they deserve a day's wages from the government for a day that they don't work. Or people who don't believe that their actions have consequences. "A is A" should indeed be a "Duh!", but for a large portion of the population, it is an alien concept that needs to be driven home to them.
You said -- "60 should be the national speed limit."
Having lived and driven in various states (like Texas, Oklahoma and Oregon), I've see all sorts of disparate laws regarding speeds.
So, from my own experience it seems that the speeds should be 75 for protected access freeways and 65 to 70 for two-lane state highways (non-protected access).
Of course, those speeds would necessarily be adjusted for winding roads, versus straight roads and for visibility, and then for concentrated population areas.
I think most freeways through cities should not be less than 60-65, although I've seen some bad city freeways where you would have to have 50-55 limits. There are sections of Dallas and Tulsa (downtown areas) that you have to keep it at 50-55 if you don't know *exactly* where you are supposed to be going.
Overall, I think a national 75 MPH freeway speed should be in effect.
It's discouraging when I consider the number of "Conservatives" who've sold out the Constitution in favor of the federal nanny state form of government, which had its infancy in the mid 1800's and has proceeded to increase exponentially with every administration since.
It's even moreso disheartening to realize we've put those who believe such expansion of federal control in positions of "leadership".
To borrow a phrase from mhking, "Just Damn."
I seriously doubt this nation will ever see true Constitutional government again.
You said -- "No thanks; I like the South and I'm too far from there right now as it is :-p I am curious, though: given that you have such a law in Washington, is it obeyed or enforced? Could a person drive at some arbitrary speed in the left lane without being blocked by a person who refuses to move right?"
I was driving just outside of Dallas, going east on I-30, where the speed limit is 65 and I was maintaing that speed exactly, while a woman was coming up, very, very slowly on my left, and passing. I think she was passing me at about 1 or 2 MPH faster than me.
And she wasn't blocking any traffic from behind. However, a state trooper came up very fast (at about 15 MPH faster) and then got right on her bumper -- at about 20 feet behind her. He waited for about 20 seconds and then turned on his lights and pulled her over.
It was simply for not passing on the left -- and just "staying" in that lane while passing.
I've found that if you're in that kind of situation, it's better to pass at 5-10 MPH faster, even if you exceed the speed limit and then cut it back down after you pass and get on the right -- even if it's a state trooper behind you. It's *always* better to get out of his way -- no matter what.
And I've done that before. If I see a state trooper coming up on me fast, I'll speed up (even past the speed limit) and then pull over to the right, and cut my speed back down again to the limit. It has never caused me any problems.
"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."
By the laws of physics, perhaps, but by no law of this country.
Believe me, I am not in favor at all of the artificially low speed limits (or even the presence of speed limits to begin with). However braking distance, all others things held constant, increases proportional to the square of the initial velocity.
IOW, it takes roughly 4 times the length to stop from 60 as it does from 30.
You are right. Nobody should be allowed to drive slower than 60. Anyone caught driving slower should have their license revoked.
80 should be the national speed limit, not 75 not 85 but 80