change a few words, while leaving the basic approach alone, and
you have a sales pitch that is fairly common. A quick venture
with an Internet search engine turned up nine sites, in this
country and Britain, huckstering a line of devices intended to
thwart the law and blatantly encouraging potential customers to
do so. Auto supply stores which Delaforum visited are a bit more
discrete, but carry the devices on their shelves.
The products being offered detect or
jam police radar and sonar. They sell generally in the $200 to
$400 range but are
Highway speeds have
long since rendered signs like this obsolete while
intervals between speeding vehicles have decreased.
easily pay for themselves in fines not paid. To be sure there is
nothing new about their availability. They have been around for
several years, but updated models with new technology keep
keep up with the embryonic, but certain to grow, use of camera
enforcement there are plastic license plate holders which dull
the numbers when viewed straight-on but are said to photograph
as a blank from just about any angle at which a camera would be
use of such stuff is legal in Delaware and, as far as could be
determined, in every other state except California and Virginia
and perhaps a few scattered urban jurisdiction.
bent out of shape over that? After all, the opponent is only
traffic laws and the men and women who enforce them.
one on-line outfit actually claims the purpose for locating
highway radar is to remind drivers who happen to be
inadvertently exceeding the speed limit to moderate a bit and
drive safely. If they do so before the excess is detected, so
much the better.
however, that in any jurisdiction over any measurable period,
far more people are killed and injured in traffic accidents --
all but a miniscule portion of which come about as the result of
breaking one or more traffic laws -- than during armed
robberies. Comparative property losses come in even greater
very few people reading this article who were not personally
involved during the past year in a highway accident or know
someone who was. All but a handful allege, of course, that the
other driver was at fault.
Forty-nine people died on Delaware highways through July 2.
That's nine fewer than in the same period in 2001. As it
happens, there were eight fewer pedestrian deaths this year --
two versus 10.
consumption of alcohol and use of drugs, including legitimate
ones, are the most frequently cited culprit in highway carnage,
the fact is they have considerable competition from other
away the most pervasive traffic violation is speeding. In 2001,
there were more than 55,000 tickets issued statewide.
Driving-under-the-influence citations amounted to 3,700.
any road, at any speed and literally within minutes someone will
pass or come bearing down from the rear and a hardly disguised
attempt to induce you to increase speed.
more, prevailing speeds obviously are increasing. On Interstate
95 approaching Wilmington from the south, it's 70 m.p.h. or more
in a 55 m.p.h. zone. Freeway speeds are common on roads such as
Concord and Philadelphia Pikes. Posted 35 m.p.h. and 25 m.p.h.
limits in residential areas are jokes. Flashing yellow lights in
school zones are universally ignored.
obvious conclusion is that drivers now regard the numbers on
'speed limit' signs as the lower, rather than upper limit -- the
minimum rather than the maximum.
Considerable evidence exists to support a conclusion that
official tolerance is probable cause for the escalation. A
generally accepted rule-of-thumb has been that there is a grace
range 10 m.p.h. over the limit. That, too, seems to be
that limits are "strictly enforced" are not to be taken
the Federal Highway Administration no longer requires submission
of such information. Delaware Department of Transportation on
longer routinely monitors average highway speeds. A spokesman
told Delaforum it does so only when it is a factor in connection
with specific projects. He said he could not provide nor obtain
information on what has happened to speeds on widened Naamans
Road in the year or so since that project has been completed.
Regular users of the road do.