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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Wife of Braves trainer killed in crash

According to Wright, the patrol car collided with the Ford Expedition that was northbound on Capitol Avenue, hitting the SUV on the passenger’s side. The statement said the SUV then struck a utility pole.

Kathy Porter, 54, of Loganville, a passenger in the SUV, died in the crash, Wright’s statement to The Associated Press said. It added that Jeff Porter and two other passengers in the SUV- the couple’s 19-year-old son David and a friend, Courtney Ann Williams, 18, of Grayson—were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries. All three were released later Saturday.

Justin Turner Overdrive Posted: January 03, 2012 at 01:08 PM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4027880)
This will probably start a little BBTF dust-up but ...

This happens far too often. Police travelling at high speed is frequently (I suspect mostly) not justified and poses unnecessary risk, especially in high traffic areas (which this may or may not have been).

Note I am not saying the officer did anything wrong here (and the police spokesman says that the officer had lights and sirens going). It's the policy I object to. In this case, the officer was heading to assist another officer ... in apprehending a motorcyclist who had failed to yield.

I'm sorry, but you don't engage in high-risk activity (high-risk to the officer and other drivers) to apprehend somebody for a failure to yield.

When I was in NC, there were a spate of these once, with both officers and civilians killed. The case I remember, the one that originated my concern about this, they were chasing a stolen car. It's just a car. And it seems the police knew who had stole the car because, after the crash that killed a civilian, they arrested the suspect at his home.

Yes, obviously the people most at fault are the idiots running from the cops -- and they're often the ones who end up dead. In many, maybe most cases, the civilians too share the blame for either not noticing or not repsonding properly to the lights and sirens (when these are being used).* But who's at fault isn't the point -- the point is about whether it is a safe and sensible policy to engage in a high-speed chase for trivial violation and petty crimes.

This report says that 71 officers died in crashes in 2010, down to 64 in 2011. This report has some information on the national trend prior to that. Note in both cases we're talking all traffic fatalities not just those due to high-speed chases.

Anyway, I just hate reading stories about people dying because somebody a few blocks away failed to yield.

* Here in NZ, I have noticed a disturbing trend for emergency vehicles, including ambulances, to not use their sirens. They'll blast them as they come to an intersection but otherwise generally not. Police might occasionally (but rarely) have legit reasons to not use sirens but not ambulances. I'll also say that US drivers look like saints compared to NZ drivers in terms of how they react (or rather completely ignore) emergency vehicles.
   2. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: January 03, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4027919)
The trooper was travelling westbound on Memorial and struck the Porter's SUV in the intersection of Memorial and Capitol. That means he blew through the intersection at Fraser at speed, crested the hill (which makes the intersection of Memorial and Capitol basically blind to him) without stopping and plowed into the civilian vehicle.

Manslaughter, at least.
   3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 03, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4027926)
Sad story.
   4. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 03, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4027946)
Manslaughter, at least.

One week paid suspension.
   5. dlf Posted: January 03, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4027956)
I disagree a little with Sam about the visibility of the area. Its a gentle rise artificially constructed to pass over I75/85, not a steep hill. And there are no buildings on the SE corner that would have obscured the visibility of either the police officer or Porter. For those semi-familiar with Atlanta, Capitol Street runs adjacent to Turner field and is parallel to the right field wall; Memorial intersects at a 90 degree angle about 1 mile away from the stadium towards downtown and past the I20/I75 exchange.

Regardless, it appears that the police officer was clearly going too fast for the area and its a damn shame that we place 'law and order' over basic concerns for decency.
   6. MM1f Posted: January 03, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4027989)
When I was in NC, there were a spate of these once, with both officers and civilians killed. The case I remember, the one that originated my concern about this, they were chasing a stolen car. It's just a car. And it seems the police knew who had stole the car because, after the crash that killed a civilian, they arrested the suspect at his home.


Agreed Walt. The NC Highway Patrol, in particular, is a shameful organization.
   7. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: January 03, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4027997)
Around here the traffic lights in some places are connected to the police and fire departments somehow. Not sure how it works but they'll go red (in appropriate yellow, then red fashion) as the emergency car approaches and a strobe light on top starts flashing as an indicator that this is for emergency purposes. Not sure how widespread that is but it seems a good system.
   8. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: January 03, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4028014)
I disagree a little with Sam about the visibility of the area. Its a gentle rise artificially constructed to pass over I75/85, not a steep hill. And there are no buildings on the SE corner that would have obscured the visibility of either the police officer or Porter.


There's a fenced parking lot on the south side of Memorial and 20 foot decorative trees lining the east side of Capitol. At night, as the cop car approached from down a hill.

If you or I did this it would be vehicular homicide or manslaughter at the least. (If you or I did this and killed a cop by running into him it would be homicide no doubt). But this guy has flashy lights and a badge and had to go assist another officer in dealing with a motorcyclist who failed to yield, so of course he'll get off with a slap on the wrist. I mean, failure to yield is at stake, after all...
   9. zachtoma Posted: January 03, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4028029)
#1, not where I was expecting to see this thread go but I have to say that's a persuasive point I'd never really considered before.
   10. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 03, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4028073)
But who's at fault isn't the point -- the point is about whether it is a safe and sensible policy to engage in a high-speed chase for trivial violation and petty crimes.

But speaking generally and not about this particular incident — which none of us knows enough about — a blanket statement like the one above seems tough to support. First of all, rational people generally don't flee from police over "petty crimes"; they flee because they're already wanted for something more serious. But regardless, if people knew police would never engage in a high-speed pursuit, the number of people hitting the accelerator to escape a ticket or arrest would likely increase by several orders of magnitude almost overnight, which would probably cause even more accidents and deaths than a no-chase policy would prevent.

Here in NZ, I have noticed a disturbing trend for emergency vehicles, including ambulances, to not use their sirens.

The same is increasingly true across the U.S., as the Nanny State has expanded to policing. E.g., when I was living in Syracuse, I heard the police there weren't allowed to turn on their lights and sirens without a supervisor's permission. So what happened? The police simply started driving around the streets at high rates of speed without their lights and sirens. I guess that's supposed to be "progress."
   11. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 03, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4028074)
Cops routinely do extremely unsafe things to apprehend folks who are doing, at best, mildly unsafe things. My favorite is the CHP guy who drives 100+ on his motorcycle between lanes of 75 mph traffic to catch a guy going 80. I feel protected and served.
   12. phredbird Posted: January 03, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4028102)
My favorite is the CHP guy who drives 100+ on his motorcycle between lanes of 75 mph traffic to catch a guy going 80. I feel protected and served.


my uncle says that CHP will basically ignore you if you are over the speed limit right up to 80mph, but going over that somehow offends them.
   13. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 03, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4028122)
my uncle says that CHP will basically ignore you if you are over the speed limit right up to 80mph, but going over that somehow offends them.


IANAL but this matches my experience. I've missed cops and passed them in the mid to high 70s on a 65 many times, had that sinking feeling, and then not had the cop budge. I've been pulled over a couple times in that range but just a warning (and from demeanor I think the cop was never giving me a ticket on those stops as long as I didn't seem drunk -- walked up with the intent to give me a warning).

I don't think I've ever gotten away with it speeding in the 80s (or 90s).

My rule of thumb is that you get a warning from +10 to +15, and a ticket above +15, but 90% of the data points for that are on 65 mile an hour roads in CA.
   14. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 03, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4028138)
Awesome GF Story: this summer, my lead-footed darling was pulled over after driving just over 65 mph down a South Carolina road.
Officer asks if she knew how fast she was going; she did.
Officer tells her she was in a 45 zone.
Awesome GF, thinking fast: "I'm so sorry, I thought the limit here was 55."

SHE DID NOT GET A TICKET.
   15. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: January 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4028155)
Most radar devices have a +/- error rate of 10 MPH. So if you're in a 65 you can safely drive 74ish and they won't pull you over, because you're within the margin of error. If you break that 10 MPH cushion, they'll pull you.
   16. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 03, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4028198)
Most radar devices have a +/- error rate of 10 MPH. So if you're in a 65 you can safely drive 74ish and they won't pull you over, because you're within the margin of error. If you break that 10 MPH cushion, they'll pull you.


Really? That seems absurdly high.

I always figured the 10 MPH cushion was because it's easier for the police/courts to deal with the miscreants that way. If you get a ticket for going 66 in a 65, you're going to fight it like hell, from the moment you get pulled over through court. But get pulled over for going 66 in a 55, and you're more likely to be polite with the police (in hopes of not getting a ticket) and resigned in court.

   17. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: January 03, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4028219)
Most radar devices have a +/- error rate of 10 MPH. So if you're in a 65 you can safely drive 74ish and they won't pull you over, because you're within the margin of error. If you break that 10 MPH cushion, they'll pull you.
1)I've heard it's 7 mph
2) The knife cuts both ways -- an error range of 10 mph could have you doing 84 in the 65.
   18. Bhaakon Posted: January 03, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4028263)
I always figured the 10 MPH cushion was because it's easier for the police/courts to deal with the miscreants that way.


That might be how it started, but I think it's just popular decree at this point. Here in the Bay Area, they'd have to pull over every single person with a car if they started enforcing the 65 MPH limit.
   19. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 03, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4028277)
That might be how it started, but I think it's just popular decree at this point. Here in the Bay Area, they'd have to pull over every single person with a car if they started enforcing the 65 MPH limit.

This is how it works:
If traffic is at 75, but you're going 65, the police can pull you over.
If traffic is at 55, but you're going 65, the police can pull you over.
If traffic is at 65, and you're going 65, the police can still pull you over. "Weaving within the lane" is the classic. If they want to stop you, they'll stop you.
   20. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: January 03, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4028279)
80 is the new 70.
   21. Kurt Posted: January 03, 2012 at 08:51 PM (#4028288)
The knife cuts both ways -- an error range of 10 mph could have you doing 84 in the 65.

In my experience that's accounted for into the ticket. If radar has me at 85 in a 65, I get ticketed for going 10 over the speed limit.
   22. Justin T's pasta pass was not revoked Posted: January 03, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4028326)
I've been pulled over for speeding twice, once in the Bay Area. Both times I was going 9 mph over the speed limit. Ticket in the Bay Area, no ticket in Arkansas.

I knew I was getting ticky-tacked both times, but this makes it worse.
   23. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 03, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4028336)
I remember watching a Nightline years ago not long after the federal limit was raised to 65 in non-metro areas (but before the federal speed limit was essentially done away with).

Koppel had three guests: a woman who was the head of some organization opposed to raising the limit, a lawyer who was the head of an organization pushing for raised limits, and the then-head of the CHP.

The woman talked a lot about safety and accidents, but not with any real numbers. The lawyer basically just asserted that his group believed that people should be allowed to drive at whatever speed they felt "comfortable" at.

The head of the CHP did not comment on either position. Instead, he said, he wanted to just share some information from his departments statistics and analysis. Back when the limit was 65 or more (prior to the 55 national limit), he said they experienced roughly 90% compliance with the law (with a roughly +/- of 5 MPH). When the limit was lowered to 55, they saw compliance drop to roughly 15%. This wasn't just an adjustment phase; it remained more or less constant. When the limit was raised back to 65, he said, compliance returned to roughly 85-90%.

I always try to stay within 10 MPH myself.
   24. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 03, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4028339)
If traffic is at 75, but you're going 65, the police can pull you over.

Not if the limit is 65, or at least not because you're driving too slow. "Keeping up with the flow of traffic" is an urban legend (my dad used to trot that one out); both a lawyer and a traffic school instructor in California were very clear on this point with me.

EDIT: but your overall point -- that cops can find a reason to pull you over any time they want -- is certainly valid.
   25. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: January 04, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4028394)
At one point in time, I heard somewhere that either the LAPD or the LA County Sheriffs had a policy of not engaging in high speed chases. Which made people think that if you sped away from the cops you were in the clear. I have no idea if that was ever true or if it's still in place now.

In my current job, I work closely with the police, so I've had the opportunity to ask them about traffic stops. The answer varies depending on the officer, but most say that anything over 15 MPH in a 65 MPH zone will get you pulled over. Of course I've seen ticket written for only going a few MPH over the speed limit. There are a lot of variables (traffic, weather, road conditions, how the officer feels that day) that come into play. I figure that if you take the first digit of the speed limit (6 in 65 MPH) and double it, that's how fast you can go over the speed limit most of the time.
   26. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 04, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4028399)
but most say that anything over 15 MPH in a 65 MPH zone will get you pulled over. [...] There are a lot of variables (traffic, weather, road conditions, how the officer feels that day) that come into play.

Location also matters a lot. When I was living in central New York, the safe zone was a lot closer to 5 mph than 15 mph. A lot of the smaller-town police were little more than revenue agents.
   27. Something Other Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4028405)
While we're on the subject, a couple of years ago police in upstate NY changed the lights on top of their cars. They're now so bright and mesmerizing that when they're lit up by the side of the road they're distracting, even blinding. It makes driving somewhat more dangerous, since it's very difficult to see the road ahead of them. Enormously irritating.

Also irritating are people who don't pull over when the lights and siren go off. That makes it dangerous for those of us who do.

I recently had a long-haired male friend in for a visit from the West Coast. We went to a convenience store close to midnight to get staples. A pair of cops noticed my friend and left the store at the same time we did. They tailgated us the three miles back to my place on a road with a 55 mph speed limit. Very ####### funny. And cops wonder why they don't always get a lot of respect.

The same is increasingly true across the U.S., as the Nanny State has expanded to policing. E.g., when I was living in Syracuse, I heard the police there weren't allowed to turn on their lights and sirens without a supervisor's permission. So what happened? The police simply started driving around the streets at high rates of speed without their lights and sirens. I guess that's supposed to be "progress."
That's nuts. So they're saying that the police force is unable to train recruits in when it's appropriate to run with lights and siren? Someone needs to resign.



   28. Howie Menckel Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:32 AM (#4028408)

My mother-in-law, admitted to the hospital today for something else obviously, shares a name with this victim.

And she's awesome, which - in the bad joke scheme of things - has to be acknolwedged.

So... no.
A thousands times no.

   29. Ron J Posted: January 04, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4028454)
#13 My own nomination for least aware human behind the wheel. Years ago, driving to Atlantic City.

Police car clearly in cruise control at 55. With a big sign on the car. "55 It's not just a good idea. It's the law"

Somebody passed him.

I agree that police officers will normally give you a break on speed. Precisely where varies. But come on, there were not so subtle clues that the usual rules were off at that particular moment.
   30. BFFB Posted: January 04, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4028519)
I believe the general policy in the UK regarding police chases is to abandon them if they start becoming dangerous and to break off for a helicopter if one is available. Rule of thumb here for speed enforcement [non-camera variety) was 10% + 3.
   31. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 04, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4028546)
The head of the CHP did not comment on either position. Instead, he said, he wanted to just share some information from his departments statistics and analysis. Back when the limit was 65 or more (prior to the 55 national limit), he said they experienced roughly 90% compliance with the law (with a roughly +/- of 5 MPH). When the limit was lowered to 55, they saw compliance drop to roughly 15%. This wasn't just an adjustment phase; it remained more or less constant. When the limit was raised back to 65, he said, compliance returned to roughly 85-90%.

IMO, interstates out West with 75 MPH limits are much safer than ones out East with lower limits. At 75, nearly all traffic is going more or less the same speed. When you have a 55 limit, you have some cars going 55, some going 80, and everyone else in between.
   32. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4028705)
Location also matters a lot. When I was living in central New York, the safe zone was a lot closer to 5 mph than 15 mph. A lot of the smaller-town police were little more than revenue agents.

The thing to really watch out for is rapid speed limit changes in smaller towns, because those are almost always speed traps. Heck, even in the far suburbs just west of where I live, there's a stretch of road that drops from 55 to 40 almost instantaneously -- and only for about a mile. Turns out it's where the road crosses (briefly) into a small burb.

And oh yeah, I got nailed there. IMO one of the best reasons to own a Garmin (as opposed to using a phone w/Google maps) is the speed limit alerts. If you keep the maps updated, it tells you when the speed limit changes AND it goes all red when you're exceeding it. Catches my eye. Of course, if you don't notice immediately, you're nailed anyway.
My own nomination for least aware human behind the wheel. Years ago, driving to Atlantic City.

Police car clearly in cruise control at 55. With a big sign on the car. "55 It's not just a good idea. It's the law"

Somebody passed him.

Driving from Missoula, MT back towards Illinois with my family. We're barely 90 minutes out of Missoula, and it's all mountainous, sparsely-populated terrain. My wife takes the early shift (she has visibility issues after dark, so I do all the night driving). I'm dozing in the front passenger seat. At one point I wake up, and look up...and I see my wife passing a state trooper as she drives about 90. Naturally, the cop pulls us over and tickets her. I'm just staring at her the whole time. Finally the cop drives off, and she looks at me, and says, "WHAT?"

Me <grinning>: "You passed a cop? Really?"

Her: "I think he was actually going the other way, got me with radar, then turned around."

Me: "But I saw you PASS him. How is your scenario even possible? He turned around, then passed you, then waited for you to pass him before lighting you up? That's your story?"

She stubbornly stuck to her story for a couple months before finally admitting that, yeah, she just passed him. I'm fond of reminding her of this every time she seems certain about something that I'm convinced is implausible/impossible.
   33. Something Other Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4028842)
@32--those are almost infinitely valuable relationship chits. Treasure them. Do not use them lightly.
   34. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4028886)
Not if the limit is 65, or at least not because you're driving too slow. "Keeping up with the flow of traffic" is an urban legend (my dad used to trot that one out); both a lawyer and a traffic school instructor in California were very clear on this point with me.

Huh. My Dad's kept me entertained for years with the story of how he got stopped in Southern California (early 70's) twice in one day: once for speeding, once for going too slowly. Gonna have to double-check that one. I've never had a client stopped for too-slow, so I haven't ever looked it up myself.

@32--those are almost infinitely valuable relationship chits. Treasure them. Do not use them lightly.

My brother likes to tell a story about himself as a teenager which my Mom & I don't remember, although we were both supposedly there, and where the details are so profoundly unlikely in combination that anybody who isn't my brother would know the story cannot be true.
Unfortunately, I can't use any relationship chits on that one, because he is very emotionally invested in his memories: he'll freak out, or cry, or both.
So, yes, do not use those chits lightly. It's funny, until it isn't.
   35. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4028940)
@32--those are almost infinitely valuable relationship chits. Treasure them. Do not use them lightly.

Oh I understand that. I only trot it out when absolutely necessary. (She's got plenty on me, of course, so it doesn't always work out in my favor anyway.)
   36. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4028945)
My brother likes to tell a story about himself as a teenager which my Mom & I don't remember, although we were both supposedly there, and where the details are so profoundly unlikely in combination that anybody who isn't my brother would know the story cannot be true.
Unfortunately, I can't use any relationship chits on that one, because he is very emotionally invested in his memories: he'll freak out, or cry, or both.

It's weird when this sort of thing happens.

My wife has a couple. One involves naming our cat. He's named Xanadu, and I specifically suggested that name because (A) I like the poem, and (B) I had just listened to the Rush song. My wife doesn't listen to Rush, and has never read the poem, and has no affection for that horrid movie, either.

Yet now, many years later, she is positive the name was her idea. I tried countering this for a while, but ultimately let it go because it doesn't matter to me very much...but she's just so certain.

I've come to the conclusion that human memory is just terrible.
   37. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4028954)
I've come to the conclusion that human memory is just terrible.

Dammit, why can't I get more jurors like you?
   38. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4028963)
Dammit, why can't I get more jurors like you?

Dunno; I never get called for jury duty. Which sucks, because I totally want to be on a jury.

But yeah, eyewitness accounts must drive lawyers batshit crazy.
   39. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 04, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4029004)
But yeah, eyewitness accounts must drive lawyers batshit crazy.

Criminal defense lawyers, sure.
You can't get prospective jurors to acknowledge that their own memories have ever been faulty.
But then you can't put on an expert to talk about memory's unreliability, because it's "common knowledge."
   40. zachtoma Posted: January 04, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4029203)
I got one ticket, for going 85 mph on the 170 in LA. That's about as fast as I ever drive and only rarely at that, unless I'm on the 5 through the central valley where it's not unusual to crack 90. You are generally safe under 80 I've found. A good and obvious rule of thumb is simply not to be the fastest car on the road in your general vicinity.
   41. Something Other Posted: January 04, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4029253)
The one speeding ticket I got came when I was driving down to NYC with a very attractive woman. We had yet to... knock boots, but I was sure thinking about all that softness and sweetness in the passenger seat next to me, and before I knew it it was lights and sirens. Without knowing it I had accelerated (keeping up with the fantasizing, I guess) to 75 in a 55 mph zone. I pulled over, and as this was 25 years ago, I got out of my car and leaned against the trunk. I told the nice policemen what the deal was, that this was the first trip the woman and I were taking, that I had had a strong... sense of anticipation, and I'd like to say he peeked at her through the car window and let me off with a warning, but didn't give her a glance, seemed thoroughly unimpressed with my story, and wrote me up.

I must say, though, it turned out to be more than worth it.
   42. McCoy Posted: January 04, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4029292)
Coming back from West Chester used to be hell because the cops had a bazillion little speed traps setup and the fines were outrageous. I got two tickets while living in NY. The first one I paid but the second one I said screw it. I got 8 more years before I have to worry about that one.
   43. Something Other Posted: January 05, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4029318)
Why 8 years?

Yeah, the traps are bs. As a poster upthread mentioned, there are plenty in upstate NY. At least three I know of drop the limit with absolutely minimal warning from 55 to 30 (clearly safety is not their primary concern), and typically have a cop car very close by. I don't know what portion of its revenue the towns derive their income from these traps, but it's probably substantial. I don't know how you work as a cop in that situation without eventually hating your life.
   44. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4029323)
And it's not just speed traps in upstate N.Y. In the early 2000s, barely a week would pass by without hitting a small-town police roadblock designed to nail people for overdue vehicle inspections, registration, etc. Smaller towns lucky enough to have a major highway run through them, even for just a mile or two, would milk them for all they're worth.
   45. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:00 AM (#4029372)
The thing to really watch out for is rapid speed limit changes in smaller towns, because those are almost always speed traps. Heck, even in the far suburbs just west of where I live, there's a stretch of road that drops from 55 to 40 almost instantaneously -- and only for about a mile. Turns out it's where the road crosses (briefly) into a small burb.

And oh yeah, I got nailed there. IMO one of the best reasons to own a Garmin (as opposed to using a phone w/Google maps) is the speed limit alerts. If you keep the maps updated, it tells you when the speed limit changes AND it goes all red when you're exceeding it. Catches my eye. Of course, if you don't notice immediately, you're nailed anyway.


Not to be snarky, but couldn't you just pay attention to the speed limit signs while driving and slow down accordingly? Or are you saying the cop was literally sitting AT the sign, busting anyone not at the speed yet? 99% of the time I know how fast I am going +/- 3 MPH and I'd say 95% of the time I know the speed limit.

I have also, I am sure, been caught on radar going 75 MPH on the highway (posted at 65 MPH) and I have never been stopped for it. I do slow down to 65 before I get to the cop, but again, I am sure they had an opportunity to notice I was speeding.
   46. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: January 05, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4029404)
I recently had a long-haired male friend in for a visit from the West Coast. We went to a convenience store close to midnight to get staples. A pair of cops noticed my friend and left the store at the same time we did.


Anyone buying staples at midnight is clearly up to no good. Doing some unlicensed accounting, were you?
   47. McCoy Posted: January 05, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4029410)
Why 8 years?

That is when I'll have to renew my license.
   48. Kurt Posted: January 05, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4029464)
My wife has a couple. One involves naming our cat. He's named Xanadu, and I specifically suggested that name because (A) I like the poem, and (B) I had just listened to the Rush song. My wife doesn't listen to Rush, and has never read the poem, and has no affection for that horrid movie, either.

Yet now, many years later, she is positive the name was her idea. I tried countering this for a while, but ultimately let it go because it doesn't matter to me very much...but she's just so certain.

I've come to the conclusion that human memory is just terrible.


Yeah, my wife and I still disagree, 11 years later, over who came up with our son's name. I have a very vivid memory of listening to WFAN in the mid-90's, hearing an interview with the Manhattan basketball coach, and thinking that the team's name would be a great name for a son. But as you say, it's possible my memory could be entirely made up.
   49. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4029632)
Or are you saying the cop was literally sitting AT the sign, busting anyone not at the speed yet?

The question wasn't directed at me, but small-town police in CNY were famous for this when I lived there.

Why 8 years?

That is when I'll have to renew my license.

I still don't follow. Failure to pay a speeding ticket often, if not always, results in a suspended license in N.Y. Unless you're living out of the country, it seems like you could run into trouble if pulled over somewhere else (e.g., in a jurisdiction that actually does its homework).
   50. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 05, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4029657)
My mother-in-law, admitted to the hospital today for something else obviously, shares a name with this victim.

And she's awesome, which - in the bad joke scheme of things - has to be acknolwedged.

So... no.
A thousands times no.
A few years ago, we receieved a handful of condolence phone calls--and one actual card, I believe--when someone with the same name as my Uncle was killed in a really nasty road rage incident.

Also, speaking from a purely therotical perspective, and certainly not my own experience, if one were to work in law enforcement (and always carry one's ID) then speed traps aren't really much of an issue. Or so I've heard...
   51. McCoy Posted: January 05, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4029670)
I still don't follow. Failure to pay a speeding ticket often, if not always, results in a suspended license in N.Y. Unless you're living out of the country, it seems like you could run into trouble if pulled over somewhere else (e.g., in a jurisdiction that actually does its homework).

Pulled over in Virginia, DC, and by the secret service. Haven't had a problem yet.
   52. Kurt Posted: January 05, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4029725)
Do people still get pulled over in DC? I assumed there was a speed camera on every corner in the city by now.
   53. McCoy Posted: January 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4029732)
Do people still get pulled over in DC? I assumed there was a speed camera on every corner in the city by now.

I've never seen one.
   54. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 05, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4029749)
Pulled over in Virginia, DC, and by the secret service. Haven't had a problem yet.


It's only in the state you have a suspended license that is the issue I believe. I lost my license in Mass for having the temerity of arguing a 'late' payment on a ticket and not paying the late fine (early days of online payments, I paid online in time, Mass didn't receive the monies and didn't relay that message to me until past the due date). Then I moved to CO and wasn't going to be driving in Mass any time soon so I didn't do anything about it. When I got my CO license the question came up about a 'hold' on my license from Mass, but since I had never lived there the CO clerk assumed it was a different person who had the hold. Only when I tried to get a NH license did I finally have to kiss and make up with Mass. By then years had gone by, I had lost the proof I had and I just paid the stupid reinstatement fee.

EDIT:
Fogot to add, I received a few speeding tickets outside of Mass and there never was a question about having a hold on my license in Mass.
   55. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4029752)
Pulled over in Virginia, DC, and by the secret service. Haven't had a problem yet.

Interesting. Assuming your license is suspended in N.Y., which is likely if you didn't pay or appear in court for a speeding ticket, that means handcuffs in many jurisdictions if/when caught. To each his own, I guess, but this seems like a big gamble.

When I got my CO license the question came up about a 'hold' on my license from Mass, but since I had never lived there the CO clerk assumed it was a different person who had the hold.

But this is a different issue than getting pulled over with a suspended out-of-state license. In your case, you were applying for a license; in McCoy's case, he's probably driving with a suspended license. One phone call or database check and he could be looking at (needless) trouble.
   56. McCoy Posted: January 05, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4029758)
Considering that the Secret Service thought I might have been hiding explosives in my truck as I drove past the White House I think I'm in the clear on this.
   57. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4029780)
Hey, it's no skin off my tail. It just seems like a curious invitation for trouble, especially in this age of instant background checks, etc. The police have so much technology in their cars these days, I'm surprised every driver's license isn't checked every time — even if only for revenue reasons.
   58. Something Other Posted: January 05, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4029939)
And it's not just speed traps in upstate N.Y. In the early 2000s, barely a week would pass by without hitting a small-town police roadblock designed to nail people for overdue vehicle inspections, registration, etc. Smaller towns lucky enough to have a major highway run through them, even for just a mile or two, would milk them for all they're worth.
These are the kinds of things that lead people to feel real contempt for law enforcement officers.

I recently had a long-haired male friend in for a visit from the West Coast. We went to a convenience store close to midnight to get staples. A pair of cops noticed my friend and left the store at the same time we did.

Anyone buying staples at midnight is clearly up to no good. Doing some unlicensed accounting, were you?
Heh. Same as above, though. Imagine how arrogant and estranged from the people you're supposed to protect in a small town setting you'd have to be, and how much contempt you'd have to have for the law you're meant to uphold, to intentionally, dangerously tailgate two adult citizens simply (presumably) becuase one of them has long hair. What were these halfwits hoping to accomplish?

I ran into something similar (differnt cop, same town) a few weeks later. I'm heading home on a back road at around 30 mph. A car with its lights out pulls up right behind me, within a few feet. It's late at night and I can't tell who it is. Suddenly it's lights and flashers. It also happens to be the first time in years I've left the house without my driver's license, which I only noticed when I was at the store. Cop comes up to my car. Looks at me, puzzled. Says, "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else." Gets back in his patrol car and drives away. WTF?

I realize it's a tough job, and I also understand that individual cops don't make the decision to put up insurance or registration roadblocks, but it all goes to something I can't quite name that needs to change.
   59. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4029952)
I have a very vivid memory of listening to WFAN in the mid-90's, hearing an interview with the Manhattan basketball coach, and thinking that the team's name would be a great name for a son.


Hey, that's my son's name. He's six, and yours is the first kid I've heard of with the same name who's older. So congrats on being ahead of the curve.
   60. Lassus Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4029960)
And it's not just speed traps in upstate N.Y. In the early 2000s, barely a week would pass by without hitting a small-town police roadblock designed to nail people for overdue vehicle inspections, registration, etc. Smaller towns lucky enough to have a major highway run through them, even for just a mile or two, would milk them for all they're worth.
Or are you saying the cop was literally sitting AT the sign, busting anyone not at the speed yet?
The question wasn't directed at me, but small-town police in CNY were famous for this when I lived there.


I have to take issue with this, and previous hyperbole. I grew up here, I've spent every holiday here, have had people here my whole life, and I'm back to living here now. Not only that, it is a great love of mine to drive the back roads through the insane amount of small farm towns and nowheresville places in the area, and always has been.

I drive pretty fast, and always have. 80 on the highways, 60+ on the 55 mph back roads. I have never, once, ever, seen a 55 to 30 speed limit drop with one sign. I have been in, maybe, ONE random roadblock situation. And over a quarter-century of driving here I have never seen a cop sitting right near a speed limit change. The only speed trap I ever got caught in was 1987 coming out of Rome, NY, a 45 in a 30, and I actually turned right around to check. It was clearly marked and the cop was an easy 500 yards past the change.

I suppose it's possible that I've been lucky with the cops and missed some signs, but it seems more that the traditional suspects like to whine about speed traps and government folks STEALING MONEY FROM YOU WITH THEIR HOBBIT TRICKSYING; but as far as upstate NY goes it is no worse than anywhere else in the rural east coast. I don't even like cops, at all. But watch the signs, and slow down and, surprise, you won't get a ticket.

Although I will tell everyone taking the Thruway that I'd go no faster than 7 MPH over the 65 limit on I-90 between Utica and Syracuse. That's a frequently-troopered and ticketed area.
   61. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4029971)
I have to take issue with this, and previous hyperbole. I grew up here, I've spent every holiday here, have had people here my whole life, and I'm back to living here now. Not only that, it is a great love of mine to drive the back roads through the insane amount of small farm towns and nowheresville places in the area, and always has been.

I didn't join BBTF so I could post fictional accounts of speed traps and roadblocks. I lived in CNY for over 30 years and, by the time I left in 2004, it was obvious that a lot of smaller-town police forces were little more than revenue agents.

Although I will tell all y'all that I'd go no faster than 7 MPH over the 65 limit on the 90 between Utica and Syracuse. That's a frequently-troopered and ticketed area.

This is almost exactly what I said in #26, which apparently you saw as "hyperbole."
   62. Lassus Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4029974)
This is almost exactly what I said in #26, which apparently you saw as "hyperbole."

As I didn't quote that bit, no, I didn't.


I lived in CNY for over 30 years and, by the time I left in 2004, it was obvious that a lot of smaller-town police forces were little more than revenue agents.

-shrug-

Haven't seen it over the same time frame. Haven't heard it from family or friends. And this is from someone with an OWS opinion of police.


EDIT: BTW, hyperbole and fiction are two distinctly different things.
   63. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4029981)
Haven't seen it over the same time frame. Haven't heard it from family or friends. And this is from someone with an OWS opinion of police.

Upstate N.Y. is a big place, and I've been referring to the period 2001–04 (i.e., right before I left). With almost every upstate municipality in need of revenue, I would have thought things have gotten worse instead of better, but maybe not.

I find it astonishing that you claim to have encountered just one roadblock in "over a quarter-century of driving" in CNY. I once encountered three roadblocks on a single (50-mile) daytime roundtrip between Syracuse and Auburn.

EDIT: BTW, hyperbole and fiction are two distinctly different things.

You claim to have never seen things that others in this thread said they have seen, which implied people's claims were false or fictitious rather than exaggerated.
   64. Lassus Posted: January 05, 2012 at 09:25 PM (#4029998)
I find it astonishing that you claim to have encountered just one roadblock in "over a quarter-century of driving" in CNY. I once encountered three roadblocks on a single (50-mile) daytime roundtrip between Syracuse and Auburn.

Seriously. I remember two, now that I think about it. One on route 20 looking for some kind of fugitive about 4 months ago, and then some random drunk-driving check at Christmas in the nineties.


You claim to have never seen things that others in this thread said they have seen, which implied people's claims were false or fictitious rather than exaggerated.

I think claiming that small-town CNY cops are a traffic revenue stream is an exaggeration fueled by your personal beliefs. I think that claiming constant speed traps and police known for sitting at speed limit signs with their radar guns is a hyberbolic memory called up from the initial exaggeration. I base this on what I personally have experienced being regular normal speed checks and cops, yes. I've driven to CA and back by northern and southern routes multiple times and have seen no greater frequency here than anywhere else, and I've had more opportunity than I should admit to to be stopped. Maybe you aren't speeding right.

Hell, my mom got stopped doing 50 in a 40 through Geneseo during a heavy snow storm on Xmas eve. It wasn't chicanery or trickery by the cops, it was going too damned fast in unsafe conditions. I honestly and truly think that you are simply exaggerating, not dishonest.
   65. cardsfanboy Posted: January 05, 2012 at 09:42 PM (#4030010)
I don't know how true it is, but supposedly in Missouri, a small town was using speed traps to drum up revenue, ended up getting a state legislature in one, and he was furious. He researched and found out that a lot of towns/municipalities were using tickets to fund their towns, and he went and got a law passed(or started enforcing) that stated no more than 50%(?) of a cities revenue could be generated by traffic tickets. Nearly immediately many towns police forces ended up folding(St Louis county has St Louis county cops and some towns have their own police force, in the past decade or so, most of those local police forces have ended up folding up and signed on with the St Louis county cops---not sure that is a good thing)

Going down to Louisiana and you see multiple towns along the highway where the speed goes from 65-55-45-35- in a span of less than a mile---and there seems to always be a cop on the other side of the 35mph sign....heck when I pulled into Alexandria, there were 4 cop cars just sitting there (including a state highway patrol) the week I was there they were parked at the entrance of the city everyday just pulling over people who didn't slam on their breaks fast enough to get to the acceptable speed limit.

   66. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 09:53 PM (#4030020)
I think claiming that small-town CNY cops are a traffic revenue stream is an exaggeration fueled by your personal beliefs.

I'm not anti-police in the slightest. I just know what I see.

Writing tickets generates money; arresting people costs money. If you ask any city manager in upstate N.Y. — or probably just about anywhere in the U.S. these days — if he'd like his police dept. to write more tickets or to arrest more people, I guarantee you that 95 percent would say "write more tickets." (BTW, a quick Google search yielded several stories of CNY police departments feuding with their bosses over (illegal) ticket quotas.)
   67. Morty Causa Posted: January 05, 2012 at 10:24 PM (#4030040)

Going down to Louisiana and you see multiple towns along the highway where the speed goes from 65-55-45-35- in a span of less than a mile---and there seems to always be a cop on the other side of the 35mph sign....heck when I pulled into Alexandria, there were 4 cop cars just sitting there (including a state highway patrol) the week I was there they were parked at the entrance of the city everyday just pulling over people who didn't slam on their breaks fast enough to get to the acceptable speed limit.


I'm from Louisiana, and I think this is true. So do many people that I know. What oils the machinery that makes this problem work smoothly is twofold: cities and towns contract the speeding business out to private companies, so there is little overhead that the taxpayer can be said to be bearing, and the ticketed person can cut a deal with the city prosecutor or DA's office wherein if he pays "costs" the city/town/parish drops the charges, with the stipulation it stays off your record if you don't get another ticket within a year. If it stays off your record, the insurance rates don't go up. You win, as your insurance rates don't go up, the state wins because it makes money with little overhead. If it isn't going to be on your record. No one contests, no one appeals. People have an incentive to pay up and shut up.
   68. phredbird Posted: January 05, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4030064)
Louisiana and you see multiple towns along the highway where the speed goes from 65-55-45-35- in a span of less than a mile---and there seems to always be a cop on the other side of the 35mph sign


i can vouch for this in louisiana. got stopped in plaquemines. had to follow the cop to the courthouse and pay a fine to get my license back. but this was a long time ago, don't know what its like now.
   69. Justin Turner Overdrive Posted: January 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4030519)
UPDATE:

The officer involved in the wreck that killed Kathy Porter has been fired by the Georgia State Patrol.
The District Attorney says the investigation continues, with possible criminal charges based on the findings.

Trooper involved in fatal crash fired
   70. Justin Turner Overdrive Posted: January 07, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4031131)
UPDATE II:

It gets worse, apparently the wreck that killed Kathy Porter was Trooper Crozier's FIFTH(!!!) at-fault wreck in slightly over 3 yrs:

According to investigative reports obtained by Channel 2, on Feb. 20, 2011, Crozier was involved in his fourth "at fault" crash since November 2008 where disciplinary action was taken. The review board determined that Crozier, who had just turned on his emergency lights and was looking down to activate the siren, failed to yield the right of way to a vehicle making a left turn in front of him at the intersection of H.E. Holmes Drive and Burton Road. He was attempting to stop a stolen vehicle.

"It is this type of behavior that must be corrected," his supervisor stated in the document.


Trooper fired after fatal crash had history of wrecks

How the hell does a guy even get to have a 5th at-fault wreck in 3 yrs???

At the very least, shouldn't he be driving a desk after, oh I don't know, say the 3rd one in that short a span?
   71. Something Other Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4032370)
@71: Dear god. I hope the poor woman's family sues the department out of existence.

I assume there's some sarcasm there. The 2nd one should get you behind a desk. The 1st one, maybe, depending on circumstances.
   72. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4032390)
That's frightening. And yeah, how are you still behind the wheel after FOUR?

That's some incompetence right there.
   73. bunyon Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4032393)
I think claiming that small-town CNY cops are a traffic revenue stream is an exaggeration fueled by your personal beliefs.


I'm not anti-police in the slightest. I just know what I see.


I grew up in a very small town. Yes, revenue from the "speed-trap" is nice. But, what you see as "open road" with a little backwater burg is, for the people living there, "home". Kids cross the busy highway, people live along it. The town is, at least where I grew up, required to maintain the bit of highway that is within city limits. If folks want a high speed bypass around our home, build it and maintain it. Why you think you should be able to do 55 through our town is beyond me.
   74. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4032406)
Both cases exist: reasonable controls to maintain safety in a small town with a highway running through it (I've seen this), and obvious speed traps that are absolutely NOT about safety but about nailing out-of-towners to generate revenue (I've seen this too).

Not sure why there's a debate on this point.
   75. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4032409)
I thought there was a rush to judgment last week based on the info. that had been reported, but the latest news is just brutal.

How the hell does a guy even get to have a 5th at-fault wreck in 3 yrs???

Only two real options: Either horrendous supervisors or a police union with way too much power.

***

74 — Agree 100 percent. Pulling over reckless drivers is one thing; throwing up roadblocks to give $100 tickets to people whose $10 inspection is six days overdue is another. If those localities didn't get to keep a high % of the money, they wouldn't be writing the tickets.
   76. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4032424)
Only two real options: Either horrendous supervisors or a police union with way too much power.

Or nepotism/cronyism.
   77. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4032433)
Or nepotism/cronyism.

I rolled that into the "horrendous supervisors" category, but I probably should have been more explicit.

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