Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's only going to get worse

I had the distinct displeasure of driving on the Illinois Tollway today, when I took I-90 from Ill. Rte. 53 west to Rte. 47 at Huntley about 2:45PM. If I knew how to draft (well, I do, but ...), I could have saved some gas...

Most of the drivers were tooling along about 65MPH (in the 55 zone), but once they got to Rte. 59, they seemed to drop the hammer. The pace of the pack picked up to about 72, and there were a few at an estimated 85.

Where are the troopers? I figured it wasn't even worth a call to District 2 about the speeders. Manpower cutbacks mean less and less enforcement (and higher and higher speeds). Add in the tailgaters, lane-changing without signals, and cutting off the driver just passed, and troopers could have a field day - every day.

What Illinois needs is photo radar! And no supervision after conviction. Supposedly, Illinois has photo radar in construction zones, only you never see the warning signs or the radar van.

Our narrow-minded legislators are afraid to protect the law-abiding public by legislative approval of photo radar. (Actually, they are afraid of voter backlash.) There! I've thrown down the gauntlet.


Notawannabee said...

First off District 2 could care less, it is District 15 in Oak Brook. Dist 15 patrols the Tollway. I know that was just a oversight by you as I bet you have both in speed dial.

My suggestion: Raise the speed limit to 75 and then ENFORCE that speed. Right now the speed is 55 and some places 65. Unless you’re doing 80 the ISP Dist#15 ignores you anyway. I have several friends that are District 15 troopers and they let the traffic flow and only look for AGGRESSIVE drivers, lane changers and shoulder riders. Slower drivers DISRUPT the flow of traffic. That’s a clue GUS.

In Arizona it is mostly 75 MPH and traffic moves along at 80 all day long and very few accidents. The DPS (Dept of Public Safety) have the photo radar and they have signs posted ahead of the enforcement zones. People do 80 until they come up to the sign, slow down and then right back to 80mph. However the DPS motorcycle cops LOVE to sit just past the photo zones and nail speeders. You complain about traffic costs here. out there fines START at $190.00 and if you go to court the cost doubles.

Gus said...

Thanks for the correction. It is District 15's territory.

The westbound 55MPH speed limit changes to 65MPH well west of Randall Rd., but drivers act like it changed at the toll plaza.

Yes, D-15 troopers do let the traffic flow well over the speed limit, and that's wrong. They are paid to enforce the Posted speed limit. If the speeders slowed down, then the law-abiding drivers wouldn't be "disrupting" the flow of traffic, as you say.

Heck, I even know a trooper who was criticized by a supervisor for driving 55MPH in a 55 zone; too bad the supervisor didn't have the backbone to stand up to the callers who griped.

And two troopers told me on the phone years ago that I should just "go with the flow", right after I explained that the "flow" was 72 in a 55 zone.

Notawannabee said...

Those two troopers are correct. Studies by the USDOT have shown that speed IS NOT the determining factor in traffic crashes. A bigger fact is disparate speed. A driver going 55 when the traffic is flowing safely at 70 is causing lane changes etc which is a cause for crashes.

ALSO it is very dangerous for troopers to stop speeders that are JUST going with the flow. Stopped cars on the side of the road causes slow downs, gaper’s blocks and rear end accidents as people slow then speed up due to the troopers red lights. That is why the Tollway targets the high rollers and the aggressive drivers.

One good friend working the Tollway tells me seldom is a ticket issued for less than 80 MPH. There are so many driving 80-90 that why target the one doing 10over? There are days when all tickets are over 100 MPH.

Gus said...

No, the troopers you know are NOT correct.

What's wrong with this picture? Why is there even a discussion about it?

The speed limit on I-90, east of Randall Road, is 55MPH. That is what should be enforced, and tightly so. You make it sound like the law-abiding driver is at fault; he's not!

The Illinois State Police fail miserably on I-90, because they tolerate speeding. They even disregard the speed limits themselves, which I have witnessed first-hand (in case you are interested).

Notawannabee said...

This is not just Illinois. I have personally been in many others states travelling 15 over the posted limit, travelling with the FLOW of traffic and been passed by Highway Patrol. Once again they look for the aggressive drivers. California RARELY stops for speeding on expressways. ONLY aggressive lane changers beware or those doing 90.

Back to Arizona. I was speaking with a DPS officer. He told me they basically follow the same guidelines as Illinois. Let the traffic flow. High rollers and aggressive drivers. So its not just Illinois.

Here is a resource PDF and if you look at pages 42-48 the DOT study clearly indicates that SLOWER drivers are more at risk of being in a traffic crash than higher speed drivers. Also if you look at the methodology in setting speed limits most engineers subscribe to using the 85 percentile. Simply stated if a speed study is performed and the average is speed is 65, but 15% are travelling 75 is still within the 85 percentile. The limit is then set to reflect the 85th percentile ( bell curve). Illinois needs to RAISE the speed limit because the AVERAGE is well above the posted limit.

I’m sure in your zealotry you can bone pick documentation in these studies which will back up your quest to slow traffic down. But trying to strictly enforce speed
is counter productive by any measure.

The goal is safe traffic flow, not ticket revenue.

BTW How did the 10 MPH over average grace come about? Fines used to be based upon speed. 0-10 over was a set fine and then over 11 MPH it was another dollar per mile over. The basic rule applied by the JUDGE was, “They are paying for TEN , Give them Ten.”

If you subscribe to the theory put forth by the NW Traffic Institute the 85th percentile of 55 MPH is 64.70 MPH. Those going 65 were above the 85th percentile and thereby were targeted for tickets. Hence 10 MPH was the grace.

Over 100 pages but has pages and pages of source material and study.

Gus said...

Whatever happened to the Illinois statute that says, "No driver shall operate a motor vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit"? (recalled, not quoted)

AZ Supporter said...

Just as soon as you choose to PAY for more Troopers in Dist. #15, in a State that can't pay it's bills or obligations now, you MIGHT get your request to enforce the stupid and dangerous speed limit on a tollway. Unless and until that happens, going after the more agressive drivers makes more sense. Sort of going after the guy with the gun before you go after the guy with the knife in the fight. Keep your head down Gus, and speed up on the tollways, or you're gonna get flattened by the next Semi or SUV who comes upon the rear end of your "Slug Bug"(as we used to call them)

Notawannabee said...

Gus....PLEEEZE; everything is not BLACK AND WHITE. In 1995 why didn't the state go back to the 70 MPH limit on the Tollway reverting back to the previous speed limit after the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act of 1974 was repealled by Congress? Previously Illinois Non posted State and COunty Highways were 65 MPH and the tollway was 70. Speed limits were reduced to 55 under the Conservation Act. When the Act was repealled our highways stayed at 55 and the tollway stayed at 65 (Interstate highways were allowed to increase to 65 in 1987 by act of Congress)

It's rhetorical. The answer is MONEY, NOT SAFETY. If it was safe in 1974 it would be safer today with the improved automobiles.

Gus said...

Nota, we'll have to agree to disagree on whether the issue is Safety or Money.

The 55MPH speed limit on the Tollway east of Randall Road is for safety. Obviously, it's not about money (revenue from tickets), since the troopers write hardly any tickets.

The traffic volume now is much greater than in 1976. When more cars are jammed into the same space, drivers should slow down.

For me, the Speed Limit is black and white. Same with red lights and stop signs.