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.'"
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!