The choice is: ‘Strive to arrive’ or drive faster and ‘arrive sooner'
June 09, 2013 12:00 AM | 1435 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Retired Powder Springs Police Chief Charlie Sewell
Retired Powder Springs Police Chief Charlie Sewell
A recent telephone call from an acquaintance was to complain that he “got another one.” He then gave me a detailed description about traveling 21 miles per hour over the speed limit on Interstate 285 and being stopped by a police officer. He bemoaned that the officer only charged him with traveling 14 mph over so he would not be subjected to the super speeder law. He admitted that he was guilty, but he was still miffed that the officer pulled him over in the first place.

The question I fully expected came next. “Can you help me with my ticket?” My answer was my usual flippant, “YES. I can open my wallet and give you some of my hard- earned cash; I can bring magazines to you in jail; or I can hope that one day you will accept your responsibility.” What I was not willing to do was jeopardize my career because I involved myself with ticket fixing.

More than 1,000 people in the United States are killed in speed-related crashes every month. Traveling on the interstate can be fast and furious and the scene of spectacular traffic crashes. Surprisingly, however, less than 20 percent of all speed-related fatalities occur on interstates. Speeding decreases a driver’s ability to maneuver around curves and objects in the road. It also increases the likelihood of losing control of a vehicle, increases the distance that is necessary to stop, and increases the distance a car travels while the driver reacts to a danger.

One driving misconception is if you double your speed, your braking distance doubles. In fact, if you increase your speed from 30 mph to 60 mph, your braking distance quadruples.

A posted speed limit in Georgia is the maximum speed a driver is allowed to drive on that road under normal circumstances. It does not, however, give drivers the green light to drive that speed under all circumstances. Speed should be based not only on the posted speed limit, but on the road, weather and traffic conditions (e.g. gravel road, fog or heavy traffic), as well as other potential hazards. It is a matter of good common sense and reducing potential injury, death and property damage.

Many people are in too big of a hurry. Some don’t think they will get caught, others don’t think their driving is unsafe and scores of people think the posted speed limit applies only to others.

Excuses for speeding include these: I need a bathroom in about 60 seconds; I was just following the flow of traffic; my gas warning light was flashing; my air conditioner is not working; I wasn’t paying attention; my clutch is slipping; and my wife called about our sick child, and she is tired of changing diapers.

Regardless if the excuse for speeding is genuine, inane, or mundane, the fact remains that graveyards are hosts to countless numbers of people who were killed in speed related collisions. I can’t help you with your speeding ticket, but I can attend your funeral. It is your choice to drive fast to arrive sooner, or exercise your responsibility to drive wisely and simply strive to arrive.

Charlie Sewell is the Powder Springs chief of police. His column runs occasionally in the Marietta Daily Journal.

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