A long, long time ago – in a township far, far away – I was a stupid kid and a reckless driver. I drove too fast too often, and got my share of easily avoidable (read: if I drove normal) tickets.
Last week, the speed limit on a portion of my road was lowered from 55mph to 45mph in a knee-jerk reaction by local residents easily sopped up by local politicians. Apparently a little over two years ago, some nitwit was speeding and took out two telephone poles before he landed in a ditch. A 45mph sign does nothing to stop a speeder.
I wrote a letter to the editor a day or two after the limit was dropped asking a simple question – “Where is the enforcement?” Simply put, a speed limit sign has no effect on the speed of most drivers without consistent enforcement of that limit. Short of hitting the sign, the new 45mph speed limit isn’t going to slow anyone down but those who didn’t speed to begin with.
I’ve rarely seen a single speed trap on this road during peak commuting hours, if any. This road – Pulaski Hwy – has a reputation as a minimally patrolled high-speed corridor between New Jersey and State Route 17. The only time anybody actually slows down here is if there is a speed trap or slow traffic and no passing zone.
Warwick is a big place, there are hundreds of miles of roads and highways and a limited number of police officers to patrol it. Frankly if I was one of the 92 residents who signed the petition calling for a lower speed limit, I’d be offended that nobody mentioned enforcement. The meathead politicians in Warwick are obviously as useless as the higher paid ones in Albany and Washington.
Warwick needs more cops. The local State Police need more cops. They need more cops as well as politicians willing to tell people the truth – that a speed limit means nothing without effective enforcement and that is what this road needs – effective enforcement.
Anyone who signed the petition is welcome to hang out in the 40mph zone near my home where they will see just how ineffective a sign can be. The signs make the residents feel good, and I’m sure they’ll remember the opportunistic jerks in local office who supported the change come November. Personally, I’ll still be asking “where’s the enforcement?”
Keep an eye on my post: The Speed List where I highlight the idiots I deal with on a daily basis who simply don’t give a crap about the 45mph speed limit.
(Note: The editor of the local paper emailed me and confirmed that my letter will appear in this weeks issue of The Warwick Advertiser.)