March 1, 2011 — Let’s slow down and face a terrible reality for a couple of minutes. We live in a stressful, quick-paced world, and some of us just drive too darned fast, even here in rural Lassen County.
Sure, we know better, especially when we’re driving through residential neighborhoods such as Janesville when kids and animals are present or along Johnstonville Road where big trucks and business traffic pose a constant hazard.
With the pressure to get to work on time, drop the kids off at soccer practice or any of the thousands of other obligations we all face every day, when pressed most of us simply mash down hard on the accelerator regardless of the danger we create or the speed limit posted on one of those black and white speed limit signs. That’s just human nature.
We share the concern expressed by many Lassen County residents and the Lassen County Board of Supervisors that the speed limits mandated by the California Vehicle Code based on the results of recent traffic surveys conducted by a licensed engineer who monitored the speeds actually driven on county roads may be too high for comfort. On that point we completely agree. And we hope the board can find other mitigating conditions that may further reduce the enforceable speed limits.
Unfortunately, posting speed limits that are lower than those required by the traffic surveys is an emotional and political decision by the board that actually upsets the rule of law and probably doesn’t do a thing to slow anybody down.
Law enforcement officers cannot enforce speed limits not supported by the speed surveys, — and even worse — if one of those speeders stands before a judge, the CVC says the court has “no jurisdiction” to enforce the violation. Sadly, a law that can’t be enforced is no law at all.
Feel good reactions aside, the board needs to give law enforcement the tools it needs to enforce the law, even if it believes the speed limits mandated by the surveys are too high.
When speeders hear a wailing siren, see those flashing red and blue lights in their rear view mirror and the officers start passing out those pink promises to appear, most of us will finally take notice and slow down.
Like it or not, that’s the only logical and legal deterrent.
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