Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Police Publish Video on How to Speed Without a Ticket

via Twitter
Today Salem Police published a "done in one" video on new photo speed enforcement, but its tone and message seem more than a little off.

In fact, the video is less about safety than it is instructions on "lawful" speeding. While they talk about "getting people to slow down," it's really instructions and license to speed up to 10 mph over the limit!

On the tweet, a subhed even reads "speed on green."

And in the body of the video they are totally, nonchalantly, up front about the fact you can speed up to 10 mph over any posted speed. So this really makes the effective speed limit, posted speed + 10! They just right out say that, joking a little about a "magic number" of licit speeding.

From the video:
Sgt. Hardy: [We will] hopefully reduce crashes even more by getting people to slow down at those intersections.

Lt. Upkes: Alright, so what is gonna be that "magic number"?

Sgt. Hardy: Oregon Legislature drew the line at eleven miles an hour or greater. So if somebody is going through that intersection at eleven miles an hour or greater, they'll get a citation issued to them in the mail."
This is a great encapsulation of the way our autoism smirks at speeding. The practical details of the camera and ticketing system may curb the egregious speeder that we all agree is very dangerous, but it looks past, maybe even encourages, garden variety speeding that has a more systemic effect on safety and comfort for vulnerable road users and ordinary drivers.

This is a bad video and the Police should withdraw and revise it. Even if the Legislature set that 10mph mark, the Police should pretend otherwise and in their PR encourage the lawful observance of posted speeds.

Postscript, Friday the 4th

free download here
In his law review article, "Should Law Subidize Driving?" Gregory Shill writes
Speed limits are a prototypical case of insincere rules. Whereas a sincere rule commands the rulemaker’s desired behavior, “an insincere rule mandates something else. If the state wants drivers to stay at or below 55 miles per hour, a sincere rule would set the speed limit at 55 mph, while an insincere rule might set the speed limit at, say, 45 mph.” The disingenuous nature of speed limit enforcement has multiple negative spillover effects. One is on the deterrent function of the law, which it undermines. It also fosters a creeping normalization of speeding, in the same way that ineffective law enforcement action against spousal abuse is “one mechanism that allows domestic violence to thrive.”....

Constraints on [automated speed enforcement] often interact with other rules that forbid its use unless the motorist is exceeding the stated limit by a certain preestablished threshold. In New York City, the minimum violation is 10 mph over the speed limit. This appears to be a political concession, and means that motorists exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 percent in sensitive areas like schools—the very category of areas where cameras are permitted to operate and where the expected harm caused by speeding is highest—are never ticketed by the cameras....

The tentative nature of automated enforcement rollout has nurtured a sense of vulnerability, stimulating fierce legal, political, and mob opposition. In Florida, legislation authorizing the use of red-light cameras was tied up in litigation for eight years until upheld by the state supreme court. By that time, the state’s largest city, Miami, had voted to end its program entirely and state legislators had begun mobilizing to repeal the authorization altogether. In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott tweeted out a selfie video of himself triumphantly signing legislation banning red-light cameras. In France, “Yellow Vest” rioters specifically targeted automated safety programs, destroying over half the speed cameras in the entire country and likely increasing crashes and fatalities. [footnotes removed]
Over on FB, Susann posted a response from Chief of Police Moore about the video:
I recognize exactly what you are referring to as I had seen the video. The officers were explaining what the law allows/permits for enforcement and we were letting everyone know that was the standard we would be enforcing. We know the question would come up, so we were just trying to get ahead of it.

Thanks for the thought, at first review I had a similar thought.
He doesn't talk about safety. He talks about "here's what to do so you don't get caught." It's a service for driver convenience, not something actually in the service of safe streets and all users more generally.

(And to be clear, this is a system and cultural problem with our autoism, not merely a professional misjudgement by the Chief, which I think it also is.)


Anonymous said...

I think the SPD should devote their time and resources to catching law-breakers instead of making videos.

Susann Kaltwasser said...

Usually the Done in One videos are very good. Not sure what happened this time. Have you asked the police to review and consider pulling this video?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with clip from a law review article and comments on the response Susann elicited from Chief Moore.