Monday August 27, 2007

New speed-limit enforcement procedures on I-95?

So, this was the scene on I-95 Northbound around 9 am Friday. Notice the Miami-Dade Police cruiser around the middle of the photo above, and the empty stretch of road in front of him? OK, so this guy’s going about 60 or 65 mph. For awhile I was behind him, as were a few other people, sort of contemplating passing him. Then he flashed his lights a couple of times. No idea what that was supposed to mean. I changed lanes, and very slowly crept past him on the right. When I was next to him, he turned on his siren for a couple of seconds.

I looked over, and dude is giving me a “slow down” hand guesture! It’s official: here’s a Miami-Dade cop who’s decided he’s going to single-handedly tame I-95! It’s not his jurisdiction, but of course he can pull anyone over. I backed off, and got back into the huddle. That’s when I took this picture. The scene continued to be pretty crazy. At one point a plumber’s van tried to pass on the cop’s left, and the guy turned on his lights again and actually swerved into the left lane to cut the van off! So there he is, like a herder leading a flock of sheep, which got thicker and longer as it went (maybe the Pied Piper is a better analogy). This went from around I-195 to the 135th street exit, when he got off and the clump dispersed.

I wonder if this is standard policing procedure. I’d think the FHP troopers who patrol here would have something to say about it — average speed on ’95 during this time is about 75, and it seems to work pretty well. The FHP seem happy with this, and they don’t seem to ticket anyone going under 80. Weird.

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  1. mapache    Mon Aug 27, 11:07 AM #  

    The same thing happened to me only on the Palmetto expressway, I know its a longshot, but you think it might’ve been the same cop?
    It went on and on for a good 10-15 min. until I was able to take 75 towards sawgrass. I dunno if its a “thing” coppers do now to get to “herd” us on the main Miami roads, but I think its absolutely absurd. This cop did exactly the same to me as he did to the plumbers van you mention. He swerved infront of me and turned his lights on. I really felt he could’ve caused more damage if we had gotten into an accident.



  2. ines    Mon Aug 27, 11:37 AM #  

    Alesh – I was reading this in total AWE – what was that cop thinking?? How about….“rush hour was not bad this morning, maybe I can put a stop to that!” – that’s pretty crazy….and love how you documented it.



  3. CL Jahn    Mon Aug 27, 01:01 PM #  

    I’ve seen this from time to time, and I’ve even seen FHP do it, although not this far south.

    We, the driving public, are to blame. Our poor adherence to speed limits and safe driving practices has provoked a response from law enforcement.

    We get in our cars and behave like children, and we deserve our spanking.



  4. mapache    Mon Aug 27, 03:29 PM #  

    #3 Florida drivers are so bad at doing so that Cops actually swerving into lanes infront of them are more likely to cause more accidents than prevent them. Cops don’t take that into consideration. Drivers in Miami with their cel phones glued to their ears and changing lanes for no aparent reason whatsoever. they drive terribly and cops think that by doing this they will actually help them prevent accidents…c’mon?



  5. Christian    Mon Aug 27, 04:08 PM #  

    I’ve never seen this. How strange! I find that the danger on 95 isn’t the speed but the variables in speed. If everyone’s doing 80 it’s perfectly safe. It’s the idiot way above and below that freak me out.



  6. Christopher Jahn    Tue Aug 28, 01:34 AM #  

    #4: I actually believe that cops should simply be allowed to blow away people who don’t drive safely or ignore traffic laws. Ideally, with a disintegrator of some sort so that there’s no debris to cause an accident.

    Breaking the law – even traffic laws – needs to have much harsher penalties. And it should be a lot more difficult to get and keep a license.



  7. b.a.c.    Tue Aug 28, 09:27 AM #  

    If traffic is flowing at 70mph ten theres no reason why the cop should take it upon himself to slow the entire expressway down.



  8. Andy    Tue Aug 28, 09:28 AM #  

    This phenomenon is referred to as the rolling roadblock, and is used primarily annoy drivers on roads with no traffic.



  9. jestcourt    Tue Aug 28, 10:08 AM #  

    First of all, why would you claim that the Miami-Dade officer was out of his jurisdiction? Were you not in Miami-Dade? Doesn’t look like you were in Broward yet. Miami-Dade officers have jurisdiction throughout the entire county, regardless of whether they are on a state maintained roadway. (yes, they even have jurisdiction in municipalities, Coral Gables, Bal Harbor, Miami Beach, etc.)
    Secondly, maybe this is the way to get people to slow down on the roadways. The law says 55 mph is the limit. That’s the fastest that we should legally be going. Not that anyone does it, but that’s another issue.
    Are you advocating that the police should ‘allow’ us to break the law? If they’re not going to enforce the laws, who will? Why bother having tehme?



  10. mapache    Tue Aug 28, 10:51 AM #  

    I don’t think that anyone should break the law. And yes the police are there to enforce it. But where this is going is that it is a very peculiar way of doing so. Cutting infront of people and swerving in and out of lanes like that and flashing their cop lights. Specially in Florida where people are such terrible drivers. You get the idiot in the porsche who thinks he is emerson fittipalldi and the stupid ass woman/man that have their cell phones stuck to their ears.
    I was recently in Mexico city where they just passed a law where you CANNOT speak on the phone whilst you drive and if the cops see you doing so, your car gets impounded for the remainder of the day and pay like the equivalent of $200.00 to get it out the next day. It is strictly enforced. I think that should teach people not to be on their darn phone while they are driving. This is as bad as drunk driving. It is a distraction. People here switch from lane to lane without any reason whtsoever. Maybe Miami-Dade should have more strict driving tests and not give a drivers license to some jack-ass who really does not deserve it, that way cops should not have to go to this measures to to impose the law. Yesterday I was getting gas and this pick up truck full of ***** people are getting beers and looked like they were fucked up big time. Do these assholes deserve a license???



  11. alesh    Tue Aug 28, 11:15 AM #  

    CL Jahn~

    In one sense you are correct . . . but really, the speed limits are set by politicians, and for whatever reason in Miami-Dade they haven’t raised the limit from 55. This unfortunately criminalizes everyone who drives down the road, because NOBODY does 55. And as I said, most cops realize this and go with the flow, which they recognize is completely safe.

    If you’re the one person self-righteously doing 55, you should check yourself, and realize that YOU are the one causing an unsafe situation.

    jestcourt~

    I’m not advocating that police should “allow us to break the law.” I’m just pointing out that 99% of the time they DO, as it pertains to speeding (heck, even this guy was doing it — he was going between 60 and 65).

    Should one cop suddenly decide he’s going to set things right? And yes, he of course would have the legal right to pull someone over, but it doesn’t change the fact that FHP is in charge of I-95, not MDPD.

    “If they’re not going to enforce the laws, who will? Why bother having tehme?”

    Indeed, there are some laws we ought not to have, and some laws that ought to be changed, and the speed limit is one of those. If we had reasonable speed limits and they were enforced, everybody would be better off. But if I was in charge, I’d begin by enforcing the turn-signal law, the universal violation of which is, I think, much more dangerous then speeding.



  12. Man in Blue    Tue Aug 28, 12:17 PM #  

    I know this is digressing, but..

    FHP is not ‘in charge’ of I-95.

    They have jurisdiction on every roadway within the state of Florida.

    MDPD has jurisdiction on every roadway within the county.

    There are certain parts of I-95 that are located within the City of Miami, which means that city officers have jurisdiction there.

    Oh yeah, FDOT officers and FWC officers have juridiction there also.

    But the speed limit laws are ‘state’ laws and every agency is bound to make sure that drivers obey them.



  13. alesh    Tue Aug 28, 01:37 PM #  

    MiB~

    Not digressing at all. Thanks. But: I was involved in an accident on ’95 years ago. The first officer on the scene was a local city cop, and he said he couldn’t do anything — had to wait for the FHP.

    The law is the law, fair enough, but I think you’ll agree that de facto, local police enforce local streets, and FHP patrols the interstates?

    BTW, FDOT/FWC officers are something else, entirely. FHP is under HSMV.



  14. Man in Blue    Tue Aug 28, 04:27 PM #  

    Alesh,
    It’s not that he “couldn’t” help you. If he wanted to, he most certainly could have. City of Miami jurisdiction goes all the way from US-1 near Grand and Bird, up I-95 to 79 Street.

    And I understand what you mean about FDOT and FWC not being part of HSMV, but it would suck to be pulled over by the fish and wildlife guy and be given a ticket when you’re miles away from any fish and the closest wildlife are the other drivers whizzing by you. (and FWC does issue a lot of tickets.)



  15. C L Jahn    Wed Aug 29, 07:33 PM #  

    Alesh-
    The cops ENFORCE the law. Period.

    It is not up to the cop to decide which laws he will enforce; the cop has taken an oath to uphold all of them. A judge can weigh the merits of that enforcement, but a police officer must not. MUST not.

    We elected officials into office and asked them to make laws to keep us safe. The police are expected – REQUIRED – to enforce those laws, and they are required to enforce them all, equally, without regard to race, creed, gender, or politics.

    If we do not like a law, we can campaign for its repeal or to have it adjusted. You can write blogs, write your representative, run for office yourself, and pass out petitions. You can wear t-shirts, and wave banners, and hold rallies.

    THAT is the system, and nothing else is. Blaming the cop for actually doing his job is not only useless, it’s shameful.



  16. NicFitKid    Wed Aug 29, 09:11 PM #  

    ~C L Jahn said:

    “It is not up to the cop to decide which laws he will enforce; the cop has taken an oath to uphold all of them.”

    What alternate universe do you live in, this place where police officers click and whir like mechanical enforcement automatons, scanning for any violations of the law and then moving inexorably to punish the lawbreaker? What, do they have no priorities, do their departments not set them to certain goals and tasks? Are you saying a police officer does not exercise his judgment every day, choosing to enforce certain laws while placing less emphasis on others?

    What was the last time you saw the police detain a twelve year-old in Kendall for riding his bike on the sidewalk? By your draconian standards, a law was being broken, and enforcement must take place, correct? Yet the same law will be used to stop a black sidewalk cyclist in the West Grove at three in the morning. Do you really believe it’s all about enforcing the hallowed and sacred law against riding a bicycle on the sidewalk?

    This particular officer’s poor judgment resulted in outlandish, aggressive, and dangerous tactics to enforce an arbitrary and unrealistic speed limit along his route of I-95. That you do not wish to recognize that these actions resulted from poor judgment speaks to either your bullheaded stubbornness in defending an ill-considered opinion or your peculiar yearning for a strict and omnipresent government that spanks its citizens for each and every infraction.



  17. alesh    Wed Aug 29, 09:36 PM #  

    Yeah, really.

    CL, I applaud your absurdist stubbornness, but you’re way off the reservation. The idea that police enforce all laws equally is just, well…

    First, look at this guy: he doesn’t enforce speed limits on I-95 at all (much less “consistently”) — he was enforcing a 65mph limit on one day, for a particular stretch. He was obviously on his way to something on or near 135th street, and decided to have a little fun along the way.

    Second, this type of arbitrary shit happens all the time. Sometimes less blatant, sometimes more, as NFK says, above.

    Third: we have a three-party system. The lawmakers set laws, the public obeys (or not) them, the police enforce them. But note that the public as a group is pretty smart w/r/t the police, and take steps to avoid getting tickets.

    THAT MEANS that the laws the police enforce get obeyed, the laws they don’t enforce get ignored. Hence the fact that 90%+ of motorists in SEfla do not use turn signals. This is imho much more dangerous (and detrimental to traffic flow) then speeding, yet it’s universal. Why? Because NO POLICE DEPARTMENT, CITY, COUNTY, OR STATE, WILL EVER PULL YOU OVER FOR NOT SIGNALING A TURN OR LANE CHANGE.

    Stick that in your brain and explain it.



  18. C L Jahn    Thu Aug 30, 09:00 AM #  

    Alesh and NicFitKid-
    I am fully aware that cops don’t enforce all the laws. It’s a recurring rant of mine.

    Virtually all traffic accidents are the result of someone ignoring one of the rules of the road; failure to yield, failure to signal, ignoring traffic signals.

    And while yes, of course police set priorities in their enforcment, it is hypocritical to complain that they aren’t stopping people who cause accidents while complaining that a cop forced traffic to adhere to the speed limit.

    And BTW, cops have pulled over people for failure to signal. Usually it’s after watching some idiot weave through traffic cutting people off 6 or 7 times.

    alesh, you have a blind and unreasonable hatred for all cops; you’ve admitted this bias in the past. So frankly, when you talk about cops, I no longer give you any benefit of the doubt because you’ve basically told everyone there shouldn’t be any. Every single word of protest you make comes off as the ravings of a sullen and hung-over teenager.

    I do not believe it’s draconian for a police office to enforce the speed limit without writing a single ticket.

    I believe that when the law IS draconian and stupid, you fight to repeal or amend the law.

    You are simply wrong to criticize this officer for enforcing the speed limit, period. All your childish ravings will not change the fact that you are in the wrong on this particular issue.



  19. Officer Friendly    Thu Aug 30, 09:05 AM #  

    Because NO POLICE DEPARTMENT, CITY, COUNTY, OR STATE, WILL EVER PULL YOU OVER FOR NOT SIGNALING A TURN OR LANE CHANGE.

    I hereby invite you to do a ride along with the City of Miami PD (no Lexus…sorry) so that we can put an end to your incessant habit of talking out off your ass about things you know nothing about.



  20. alesh    Thu Aug 30, 10:03 AM #  

    Let’s do it Officer Friendly! I’m always open to being proven wrong.

    CL~

    Virtually all traffic accidents are the result of someone ignoring one of the rules of the road; failure to yield, failure to signal, ignoring traffic signals.

    I’m glad you left speeding off the list. Of course driving fast, by itself, does not cause accidents in the way those other violations do.

    it is hypocritical to complain that they aren’t stopping people who cause accidents while complaining that a cop forced traffic to adhere to the speed limit.

    Them’s fighting words. You already admitted that not signaling causes accidents, and implied that speeding, by itself, does not. Now you’re calling me a hypocrite for pointing out that this guy’s behavior is a little weird? I’d say the rage you have at the 99% of drivers that zip around you as you do 55 is clouding your already suspect judgment. (And I assume the same rage is what’s at the heart of the silly “drunken teenager” and other insults directed at me. I assure you that that stuff makes you sound like an ass.)

    Regarding the turn signal issue, weaving through traffic is possibly reckless driving. Sure it should be ticketed, but not to the exclusion of the nice lady in the white Acura SUV who drives very well except for not signaling her turns. She’s still a danger, and she’s more likely to be set straight by one $65.

    when you talk about cops, I no longer give you any benefit of the doubt because you’ve basically told everyone there shouldn’t be any.

    Wrong.

    Furthermore, if you do your breathing exercises and go back and re-read my post, you’ll see that I didn’t criticize this guy’s weird maneuvers. I found them odd and was questioning them. You’re right that I’m suspicious of cops, and no doubt that came across in the post.

    But I’m saying that most cops, as well as most drivers, are perfectly happy ignoring the 55mph speed limit. I agree that it should be changed, and I’m baffled that it hasn’t been.



  21. C L Jahn    Thu Aug 30, 09:08 PM #  

    Alesh-
    Fair enough, it hasn’t been you who’s been highly critical, it’s some of the others commenting on your post, and I tarred you with the same brush. Shame on me.

    Honestly, I keep with the traffic flow. My rage is at the idiots weaving through that traffic flow at twice the flow. My rage is at the idiots who follow so close to other cars that they can’t help but rear end the car in front. My rage is at the idiots talking non-stop on their cel phone instead of watching the road, cutting off other cars who then collide with still other cars and put people in the hospital – and the morgue.

    There are laws, and there are speed limits, and the careless disregard we hold for them only contributes to the throngs of drivers endangering the rest of us. And when so few cops are even ABLE to pick one dangerous driver out of the metal horde because of the sheer volume of rotten and unsafe drivers, I find it unacceptable to criticize ONE cop who figured out a way to get traffic under control for the duration of his cruise up the highway to his turn-around point.

    I’ve actually been caught behind this cop, or one like him. And I mutter a bit, and ease off the gas, and recognize that he’s in the right, and I’ve been in the wrong. Because there IS a speed limit, and he is responsible to enforce it, even if I believe the speed limit is set too low.

    You find it’s “weird” to enforce the speed limit without writing any tickets. I think it’s weird to complain the cop wouldn’t let speeding cars pass him by when he’s doing the legal maximum speed limit. I think it’s a damned shame that anyone would even think of passing that cop in this circumstance.

    If you’ve read my blog, you know I’m no fan of police brutality. But it’s also apparent that cops get too little respect when they are doing the jobs we pay them to do.

    Castigate the morons who tried to pass him, not the poor bastard trying to save an ungrateful hide.



  22. P.O. Driver    Sun Sep 2, 02:01 AM #  

    Eliminate all speed limits on 95, etc; just like on the Autobahn. As I have ranted before, the only reason speed limits remain artificially low is to generate revenue for cities (especially gables, Pinecrest, Miami Shores, etc) and to give cowboy cops like the moron in this picture an excuse to harass the public. Sad for the families, but the two officers shot / killed last month were because of the traffic enforcement mandate…



  23. outer_space    Sun Sep 2, 07:16 AM #  

    55 on 95 is absurd when there are 2 lane highways with only a dotted line between lanes of traffic that have 65mph speed limit. The problem is theres no oversight on the politicians, we can say hey wait a minute why are you taking all that money from Geiko while pushing to lower speed limits? But they got thier money and they dont have to listen to the few people who noticed.



  24. Rick    Sun Sep 2, 10:22 AM #  

    P.O. Driver: Yes, if it wasn’t for traffic laws, Sgt. Reyka would be alive today and Officer Maury Hernandez would not be in a hospital. And if chefs never used knives, they would never cut themselves. Brilliant!

    Not that folks like yourself ever let facts get in the way of your faulty arguments, but Sgt. Reyka was not conducting a traffic stop when he was shot and killed. He was investigating a possible stolen car that was stationary in a Wahlgreen’s parking lot.

    .