Traffic wasn`t particularly heavy as I navigated Interstate 89 between Concord and Lebanon between 7 and 8 p.m. last night, but since I promised a reporter that I would run my usual analysis of speeders, I did just that.
I kept at 65 miles an hour and counted every person who passed me (obviously speeding) and every person I had to pass (those going less than 65).
The envelope please.
Although the numbers aren`t great, they are in the same range as always. 18 people flew by me going at various rates of speed, all in excess of 65 mph. I only had to pass four people. 18-4 is 82 percent, and I had told the reporter it`s usually around 85 percent. (I decided not to count tractor trailer driverse, so this is a passenger car and light truck survey only. Tractor trailer drivers, the few I encountered, seem to be either obeying the law or are unable to go faster than 65 due to the hills on 89).
I rest my case.
But it was worse than that. In the area near the turnoff heading to Keene, a SLOW driver posed a safety hazard. He was in the passing lane abreast of me, going just less than 65 miles an hour. I noticed traffic massing behind him, and lo and behold, not one, not two, but three people zigged around him, came into the lane behind me and then darted out to get by this slow driver causing a safety problem.
Speed is not what kills. Divergence from speed is the problem.
Any law that is broken by 82 percent of the people on a regular basis is a law that must be changed. Maine has changed it. New Hampshire should folow suit. When 82 percent of the people break the law every time they get in their car, we see an erosion of respect for laws which really need to be obeyed. Laws must be based on consent of the public. By their actions, people are not consenting to a 65 mile and hour limit.
The reporter asked me about Vermont, so I tried to keep my survey going there, but traffic was so sparse, numbers aren`t really valid. I will note that there were some Vermonters going very very slowly, and they were creating a hazard. I followed one car for about 40 miles (he was obviously going exactly 65) and one time he almost had to slam on his brakes when he came upon someone who couldn`t have been going more than 40.
Those slowpokes are hazards on our roads, not those going 70-75 which is in fact the 85th percentile speed...that is to say, the speed 85 percent of the people go regardless of the limit...so please, don`t give me the argument that if you raise the limit, people will simply go faster. No, they will continue to go around 72...except they won`t be criminals!
By the way, if you're ever journeying northward, fill up with gas before you leave our fair state. It was $3.15 a gallon in Concord, $3.45 in northern Vermont, and it appears to be $1.40 a liter (about $5.30 a gallon) on the island of Montreal. No wonder all those Canadians make so many tirps to Plattsburg, NY.
Also, something must be up. For the first time ever, I was stopped by the U.S. border patrol upon leaving the county. Law abiding citizen that I am, they let me go quickly--didn't even check an ID which I had ready.