All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

8/18/2014

Misconception

I see variants of this story Why You Should Fight an Out-of-State Speeding Ticket from time to time.  I especially get a kick out of the common example of Wyoming highways, both the interstate and state highways being a hot bed of eager cops waiting for a chance to write you a speeding ticket.
It’s summer, and you and your family have packed up your RV for a road trip to Yellowstone. You hit the open road and have clear blue skies for the entire drive. Along the way you stop to see a few famous sights, including the Devil’s Tower — that mountain in Wyoming that many people may recognize from the Steven Spielberg movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
It’s a little later than you had planned when you leave the Devil’s Tower, and you still have several hours of driving before you get to Yellowstone. You want to make it in time to get settled and have dinner at your campsite, so on a stretch of highway with no other cars around, you hit the gas pedal a little hard. The next thing you know, you’re being pulled over for speeding by a Wyoming trooper.
I'm calling BS on this.  Crook County Wyoming has maybe 2 to 4 troopers stationed in it.  All of those guys are in Sundance.  The county is patrolled by the sheriffs department.  As it happens I have meet 6 of the 8 or 10 guys who work in that department over the years.  I've met them at various gun related events, one of which I travel to Sundance to shoot in.  There is one deputy that in his 25 plus career has written two, count them two speeding tickets. 

It's very hard to get a traffic ticket in Crook County. Incidentally I've gotten one.  Not for speeding, for failure to stop, and for being a smart ass.  I've been pulled over 3 times in that county since 1994.  Two of the times were for a rolling stop (in town more on that latter) once was a South Dakota cop who pulled me over just east of Sundance for speeding.  We had a little argument about his authority in Wyoming.  Long story short, no ticket that day.

I'm not claiming to be an excellent driver.  I would like to point out how it works here.  Rural interstates are posted as either 75 mph or 80 mph.  State highways are posted as 65 mph.  In Wyoming the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer.  Sheriffs department policy is what controls traffic stops.  In most counties the departmental policy is that 10 mph over the posted limit a traffic stop is left to the officers discretion.  At 11mph over the limit a traffic stop is recommended, but writing a ticket or giving a warning is discretionary.  At 15 mph over you are getting a ticket. 

In the example cited, this means that the person in the RV was going 91 mph.  Let that sink in, 91 mph in a RV.  That means someone was able to get one of those busses up to and exceed highway speed.  Most of the time I see these clowns on the interstate they aren't doing 55.  The real question isn't if a cop pulled them over, the real question is how do we get the guy driving to teach other RV owners how to accelerate up to the speed limit.

Lots of Wyoming communities don't like the cops writing tickets to folks from out of state. They are dependent on the tourist industry and have a policy of giving warnings.  Crook County is one of those places.  If you are from Wyoming and they catch you speeding, different story.  FWIW unless they changed the policy in Crook county, its still one of the places you can have a open beer in your truck.

In practice it is rare that you get pulled over unless you are driving more than 85 mph on the interstate or 75 mph on a back road.  That's how it works out of town.  In town it's a much different story.  Wyoming's 3 largest cities are Casper, Cheyenne and Gillette.  Cheyenne is the state capital and the city cops tend to be better behaved towards out of state plates.  Casper and Gillette are different stories.  These two towns have the most militant police forces in the state.  The situation is so bad that other counties and cities don't (some refuse to) hire cops that have been on force in these towns.

That's those towns in particular.  In general, the cops don't care to much about a couple of mph out in the country where no one is going to get hurt.  In town they watch it.  If you go 10 mph over in a school zone, you will get a ticket, and you should.  There aren't a lot covert speed traps in Wyoming.  For the most part we post things clearly and you should be more careful in town anyway.

The other place I hear about cops targeting tourists is Montana.  I've lived there and traveled a good deal in that state as well.  Until 2000 they had no daytime speed limit.  None.  While having out of state plates I did get pulled over once.  I was doing about 110 in a 55.  The ticket cost me $5.  I understand they have changed the law since then and that they do enforce speed limits but they are liberal about giving a bit of leeway.

Since 1994 (when I first moved to WYO) I've gotten pulled over in WY with out of state plates 3 times and been ticketed twice, both times I was ticketed inside of city limits.  Both tickets were BS.  In each case when I received a ticket I had a Wyoming drivers license and was in a rental car.  Both tickets were in a city known for its unethical police.  With the exception of getting pulled over by a SD cop in WYO  I have only once been pulled over for speeding outside of town and was given a verbal warning.  It's hard to get a speeding ticket in Wyoming and if you're on vacation playing tourist and happen to exceed the posted limit by a couple of mph out on the road some place its not likely that anyone is going to be around to notice, but if they are you are really going to have to be flying to get a ticket.

FWIW according to the same website that published that story I linked to, another story rating Wyoming as the best place for motorists.

8 comments:

  1. WaterBoy3:38 PM

    "The real question isn't if a cop pulled them over, the real question is how do we get the guy driving to teach other RV owners how to accelerate up to the speed limit."

    Hills.

    Hills are the speed killer. Especially in older models, like mine. I can be cruising along at 70, 75, and a small hill will come along and just eat up all the power. Doesn't even have to be a tall hill; a steep incline over a short distance will kill it, and it can take a few minutes to get it back up to speed again.

    All bets are off with the elderly, though...RV or otherwise.

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  2. Anonymous5:07 PM

    That's a good point about the hills. So how do you get up enough speed to get a ticket in a RV on the highway?

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  3. WaterBoy6:38 PM

    Go downhill.

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  4. I wonder if they have aircraft that patrol and then radio in when they spot speeders. That is what they do in Oregon now because of all the cutbacks in State Trooper patrols. Signs announcing "patrolled by aircraft" appear up and down the I-5 corridor.

    I am so used to the sparseness of the SP patrols on I-5 now that when I have to go to Washington, it just surprises me how many cars they have out on patrol up there.

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  5. In places like WY where the distances between towns are long and the number of people on the road are few there isn't a lot of time or energy spent on trying to write a ticket. For example: it costs over $3.50 a gal of gas. The patrol area just for one county is large hundreds of miles. To have the whole place patrolled and/or speed trapped you'd need several cops out burning $75 to $100 a shift in gas each three shifts a day. If they did just 10 cops at $100 in gas $1000/shift, 3 shifts is $3000 a day, not counting wear and tear on the cars, wages etc. If there are only a handful of people on the road, which is the case most of the time, they can't make back the gas money, even if they wrote everyone a ticket.

    They concentrate on high likelihood areas for speeders and occasionally send a few guys out on long patrols to keep up a token presence. If you slow down in town you're likely to avoid a ticket.

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  6. WaterBoy4:01 PM

    More on Wyoming:

    No love from F-35 program

    Gotta love the way the graphics intern messed up, too.

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  7. WaterBoy4:03 PM

    Hmmm...ignore that previous sentence...apparently the intern fixed her mistake.

    She originally had the numbers for Wyoming and Nebraska switched on the map.

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  8. By going to RentalCars you can find affordable car hires from over 49000 international locations.

    ReplyDelete