Friday, June 30, 2006

 

Move over NC

During the upcoming holiday season, North Carolina's Highway Patrol will be increasing its forces to slow everyone down.

State Troopers will be conducting Operation Slow Down during the holiday. Operation Slow Down is an effort by the Highway Patrol to reduce speed related collisions on North Carolina highways. Troopers will increase patrols on all interstates and major four lane highways during the holiday. Speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in the state.

Additionally, there was an increase in penalties for not "moving over" when there is an officer on the side of the road.

Penalties for a violation of the Move Over law become effective July 1st. Fines increase from $25 to $250 for a conviction of violating the Move Over law, a $500 fine for a Move Over violation that results in injury or property damage and Felony charge if death occurs.

To me it seems that it should be the other way around. If they are so worried about officers getting hit by cars, why not have them pull off to sides at the ramps or at one of the exits. Why slow down traffic even more and potentially put motorists and officers in greater harm?

My general opinion is that the Highway Patrol does more harm than good and they are continuing to live up to that opinion. Here's the press release.

Comments:
Well, from a practical stand point, I don't see how slowing down would put motorists and officers in greater harm. Especially not if we take the assumptions from the first quote to be true.

Whether officers should get off the highway after pulling someone over is a different question. Depending on where a trooper is, he might have to follow a speerder for several miles. Not very productive. And if you're really worried about cars slowing down as a cause of accidents, how do you think the traffic flow will change?

Will the speeder continue going the same speed after he's been blue ligted? Or will he slow down?How will drivers behind the cop and speeder react if they slow down? Will they pass? If so, will they pass at the same speed or will they rubber neck? What will that do to the people behind them and so on.

Will there be any net improvement in traffic flow? It's an empirical question, but I don't see how there could be.
 
It wasn't so much the slowing down, it was having to move over, when there are only two lanes on many of the major highways in North Carolina.

Blue lights slow down traffic. By how much to significantly increase travel costs is questionable, but I have been held up in traffic jams where the only thing that slowed us down was a motorcycle/car that had been pulled over.

The actual location to stop at may be impractical, but how practical is stopping speeders simply for speeding? I will get more into the problem of setting of speed limits later...
 
Chris,

The way I understand it, one can either move over or slow down.

but you're right. Pulling people over does slow down traffic too. Which I think lends support to the idea that a cop following a speeder to the next exit will slow down traffic as well. I would think even more because people would be reluctant to pass the cop.

That's why i think, at best, you're looking at a total wash out from benefits of going to the next exit in terms of improved traffic flow.

But, that's an empirical question that neither of us can currently answer. I think it would be interesting to see the original reasoning behind state's requiring drivers to pull over immediatley after being blue lighted.
 
"I think it would be interesting to see the original reasoning behind state's requiring drivers to pull over immediatley after being blue lighted."

Maybe it's so the troopers can choose where the driver pulls over (basically the timing). If you get blue-lighted in a convenient/safe place to pull over, but you're a bonehead and you want to essentially coast to a stop in an inconvenient place, you can be penalized.

If that's why, then it makes sense to me. But I'm with Chris in general that State troopers seem to be next to useless.
 
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