Speeding Praetorians

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

If “speeding” – defined as driving faster than the legally posted maximum velocity – is necessarily “unsafe,” why do cops do so routinely?
The answer, of course, is: Because they can.
More precisely, they can do so with impunity. Who watches the watchmen, after all?
Here is a recent – and particularly egregious – example:
Denver cop Derrick Saunders was caught doing 143 MPH in a 55 – while legally drunk (.089 BAC). The repercussions? A 42 day suspension. At first, he was at least fired. But Saunders, who like a lot of cops apparently does not believe that “speed kills” when he is the one speeding - appealed his firing. And the police union backed him up. To repeat: a drunk cop doing 143 MPH in a 55 is demanding his job back. And the police union is helping him get his job back. The full story is here.
Meanwhile, let’s consider what would have happened to a non-anointed Mere Ordinary in my own state of Virginia:
Va. defines “reckless driving” as exceeding the posted maximum speed by more than 20 MPH – or any speed over 80 MPH, anywhere. Note carefully that one’s driving is considered legally reckless merely as a function of speed. It is not a viable legal defense to argue that you were sober – and in full control of your car and posed no danger to anyone. Merely to be caught driving 80 MPH of faster ( that’s all of 10 MPH over the highway limit of 70 MPH) or faster than 20 MPH over any posted limit (so, for instance, 56 MPH in a posted 35 zone) constitutes “reckless” driving – ipso facto – which in Va. is a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense, not merely an infraction – like a standard speeding ticket. If convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record that will be indexed in the NCIC database (where murderers, rapists and others are cataloged), spend up to a year in jail, pay a $2,500 fine, and face the strong likelihood that your driving privileges will be suspended for six months – and the absolute certainty that you will pay extortionate insurance premiums for at least the next five years.

Read more: here

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