"For The Children"--Bad Oregon Law


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Art Eatman
June 10, 2004, 10:49 AM
I must be way behind the curve on legislative thinking. Browsing WMD this morning, I ran across an article about the Oregon legislature passing a law whcih sez school zone speed limits will be enforced 24/365. Around the clock, each and every day of the year.

Okay, foolish thinking, sez me. Then I ran across some tidbits further down in the article:

"Capt. Jeff Kuhns said.

“Although it’s the law, our officers are not going to be out there actively looking for violators at 3 in the morning,” Kuhns said. “But you have to keep in mind that it gives the officer a reason to stop a car to see if everything else in the car is on the up and up.”

There's something about the good Captain's second sentence that seems a tad disturbing...

"The change in the law was prompted by senators who found the current on-and-off system for school speed zones confusing to enforce and inadequate to protect children’s safety, said Troy Costales, manager of ODOT’s Transportation Safety Division."

Okay. The senators found the system confusing. Hmmm. I never have; how about you? Back in my commuting daze, I passed a high school, an elementary school and a middle school on my way to work. I never noticed a problem. Is there some sort of dust or pollen in a state capitol which reduces cognitive abilities? (Rhetorical question; the answer, obviously, is "Of course.")

Art

Edit: Link: http://news.statesmanjournal.com/article.cfm?i=81587

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HankB
June 10, 2004, 10:52 AM
Art,

The real reason for this can be summed up in two words: revenue enhancement.

Art Eatman
June 10, 2004, 11:21 AM
Well, sure, the way many traffic laws are written, and the way some jurisdictions enforce them, the intent is more for revenue enhancement than for public safety. That's been obvious* for many decades.

The implicit civil rights issue, though, is the police chief's slobbering over further opportunities to snoop.

Art

*One vignette, of many: Palmeto, Florida, was a tiny village near Bradenton. The speed limit through the center of town (a main north-south tourist route) was posted as 25mph, and you'd get a speeding ticket at 26 mph or more. The AAA solved the problem by re-routing all their tourists around the Tampa/St. Pete/Bradenton/Sarasota area, which was a truly significant financial hickey.

George S.
June 10, 2004, 11:49 AM
As much as I like the State of Oregon and it's a great place to visit and vacation, they do have some different ideas about their traffic laws. In my area, there really is no problems with school zones and speeding. The local PD's will usually do enforcement work at the start of the school year to "train" motorists to obey the reduced limits around schools.

Some school zones use red flags, some have flashing lights, and others just have larger speed limit signs with another sign that says "When childeren are present" to denote the lowered speed limits which is usually 20MPH. Everything seems to work fine with these methods.

While I might "kick it up a notch" on the freeways, I absolutely refuse to exceed the posted speed limits in school zones. No kids, but I can't see any reason to risk hurting somebody else's child.

Standing Wolf
June 10, 2004, 11:56 PM
...you have to keep in mind that it gives the officer a reason to stop a car to see if everything else in the car is on the up and up.

Yeah, but we're not a police state.

Zeke Menuar
June 11, 2004, 08:07 AM
This has go to be one of stoopidest laws ever enacted. Here in Monsoon Central there is a school zone every 20 feet. Might as well walk around town. Can anyone say "INITIATIVE PETITION?"

ZM

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