Questions about the Route 7 racket
To the editor:
According to statepatrol.ohio.gov/statistics/statspage2.asp, 1,828,692 speeding tickets were issued by the Ohio State Highway Patrol during the last five years. At $155 a citation (the cost of my last ticket) it would create a stunning $283,447,260 in revenue. Having had several speeding tickets for going 70 to 75 miles per hour while driving home safely down state Route 7, I have wondered if the patrol pulling me over for driving 70 mph down a four-lane highway, which has a concrete divider to prevent head-on collisions, is about the safety or collecting revenue?
From driving on state Route 7 daily, I know the majority of drivers ride down Route 7 going between 70 and 80 (safely, by the way) and apparently the patrol knows it, too, because troopers are fixtures along the highway. While speaking with my father about the archaic speed limit, he jokingly said, “I set my cruise-control at 61 on Route 7 and everybody blows by me. Everybody!” With an antiquated speed limit of 55, it would create a rather profitable enterprise for the patrol, so I wouldn’t expect it to change anytime soon.
While doing research, I learned that, according to safemotorist.com, “the nationally accepted principle, which is followed by the Division of Highways, is to set the posted speed limit at the speed below which 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling on the road or street, in the absence of factors which may introduce a special hazard.”
When I asked the trooper, who was no doubt an excellent officer, who gave me my last ticket how driving down a four-lane highway at 71 is unsafe when all the other surrounding highways are 65 to 70, he stated, it was “Because all the hills and turns,” which I thought was a rather lame attempt to explain what I consider to be the fleecing of Ohio Valley residents in the name of public safety. Speed limits on unmarked roads in Ohio, which have plenty of hills and turns and no divider, are 55, the same speed limit as Route 7 between Steubenville and Martins Ferry, and unmarked roads are two lanes. In West Virginia, on state Route 2, the speed limit is 55 (in parts) for a two-lane roadway going in both directions with no divider.
How do you make something safe that’s already safe? And, why are you doing so? It’s already safe. When police protect something that’s not creating danger or isn’t dangerous, like driving down a major highway at 70, whose interests are being satisfied?
Based on the “nationally accepted principle,” why wouldn’t the speed limit on Route 7 be, at least, 65? I would argue for 70 since 75 to 80 is where the vast majority of drivers cruise down Route 7. I back the Blue 100 percent, but my support is not unquestioning, especially when the fleecing of the American public is occurring in the name of public safety.
What we need protected from is an overreaching patrol too eager to issue tickets.