Justin Bimmer

I Can't Drive 65!, Man pulled over for going too slow

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By JIM IOVINO

Updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu, Jul 23, 2009

Erik Bonstrom considers himself a safe driver. So imagine his surprise when he was stopped along Route 50 Tuesday evening in Prince George's County, Md., -- for going too slow.

"Coming back on Route 50, the speed limit is 55 and I was pulled over by a Maryland State trooper," Bonstrom said. "When I asked him why, he said I was going too slow and issued me an $80 ticket for going 58 in a 65."

Bonstrom said he tried to reason with the trooper as passing cars whizzed by.

"To me, you are punishing a safe driver and there are many cars that were passing me, and I guess it was just easier to pull me over than the cars that were speeding," Bonstrom said.

Bonstrom said the traffic stop is more puzzling because it came just yards before a 65 mph sign. He said he believes he was pulled over for going 58 mph on a part of the road that is actually a 55 mph zone, not 65 mph like the trooper claims.

A Maryland State Police representative said they are looking into the matter and plan to have a response within 24 hours.

Bonstrom said he plans to fight the ticket in court.

"If I was wrong, if I was speeding, then you got me and I'm wrong," Bonstrom said. "But the fact that I don't believe I'm wrong and that I wasn't breaking any laws -- that's why I'm fighting it."

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Here is the law in Maryland on Minimum Speed

Minimum Speed Limit: I. A person shall not willfully operate a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. Tran. §21-804(a)

II. A person who is driving a vehicle (1) at 10 MPH or more below the posted speed limit or (2) at less than the normal speed of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. Tran. §21-301(b)

Posted (Minimum) Speed Limit: Based on engineering and traffic investigations, the State Highway Administration or a local government may establish a minimum speed limit on a highway or part thereof. Tran. §§21-804(b) & 21-1409

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I wonder if it was a 4 lane and the jerk was driving slowly in the left lane.

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Well, according to the law, he was impeding the normal and reasonable flow of traffic. If you're just going for a Sunday Drive, take surface streets. Stay off the freeway.

EDIT: May/may not be a freeway...can't tell where he was driving, but it could just be a 4-lane divided highway.

Edited by Croc
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Friend of mine has been pulled over many times for driving too slow - the police always suspect that he's drunk. lol

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Years ago in Ohio, I used to frequently drive a section of a 2-lane state route near my folks' place that was a known speed trap.. I always made a point of driving precisely at the speed limit---55mph...remember driving a few times w/ a state police cop behind me...he was just waiting for me to accelerate away in my red Mustang, but I stayed at a steady 55 until he got bored and passed me, or turned off to search for donuts.

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Rt 50 is an awesome road for driving like you stole it. That was the road I drove my fastest ever, 135 in my '00 GTI 1.8t.
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Driving too slow can be as if not more dangerous than going too fast. That's just common sense but 58 in a 65? The person must have been a real piece of work! Of course most law enforcement won't put down the donut for anything less than 15 over but never the less....

Friend of mine has been pulled over many times for driving too slow - the police always suspect that he's drunk. lol

Good point. Nothing beats getting out of a suspicion of being drunk. --Especially when you really haven't been drinking. 8)

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Driving too slow can be as if not more dangerous than going too fast. That's just common sense but 58 in a 65? The person must have been a real piece of work! Of course most law enforcement won't put down the donut for anything less than 15 over but never the less....

Good point. Nothing beats getting out of a suspicion of being drunk. --Especially when you really haven't been drinking. 8)

Ya...I've only had one pullover w/ suspicion of drinking..coming home from a party in grad school, w/ my g/f and a couple other friends in the Bronco, they were all totally wasted..I'd had about 3 beers....3 hours earlier. I did a California roll right turn, there was a police cop hiding in the darkness (it was about 3:30 am). I did the sobriety tests and passed, got off with a warning about the turn.

Rob

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My grandfather knew he was a slow driver, but he never let a pile of cars build up behind him. He waited for a safe opportunity to pull to the shoulder and let vehicles pass. Around here, on rural roads with passing lanes that cover maybe only a third of the length of highway between cities, driving slow is a recipe for disaster. There are plenty of times I get stuck behind someone going far slower than the speed limit and it really causes tension to mount among the ignorant and impatient behind me.

In the case of this fellow, there are more circumstances that must be known first; such as, how many vehicles was he holding up, if any?

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My grandfather knew he was a slow driver, but he never let a pile of cars build up behind him. He waited for a safe opportunity to pull to the shoulder and let vehicles pass. Around here, on rural roads with passing lanes that cover maybe only a third of the length of highway between cities, driving slow is a recipe for disaster. There are plenty of times I get stuck behind someone going far slower than the speed limit and it really causes tension to mount among the ignorant and impatient behind me.

In the case of this fellow, there are more circumstances that must be known first; such as, how many vehicles was he holding up, if any?

My Dad used to do that, look for places to pull off when were on 2 lane roads in the Winnebago and traffic backed up behind us... A 35 ft RV towing a car can't go too fast on 2 lane roads...we usually stuck to the interstates, but to get to many National Parks, etc you have to take the two lanes...

Rob

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Hah, I know exactly where this happened. And the guy does have a point, people do drive on 50 like it's the autobahn.

I wonder if it was a 4 lane and the jerk was driving slowly in the left lane.

EDIT: May/may not be a freeway...can't tell where he was driving, but it could just be a 4-lane divided highway.

From the DC/Maryland line east to Queenstown (or about 45 miles), 50 is a full expressway. From the Beltway east to Annapolis, it's also designated as an interstate (I-595), but not signed as such; that explains why a state trooper got him instead of a Prince George's County cop. It sounds like the guy was heading east towards Annapolis, and had just passed the Beltway. This stretch of 50 is technically four lanes each way, but the left-most lane is HOV-2 and separated by the three other through lanes by two white lines.

Since it's the main road from the DC area to the Eastern Shore, 50 is already one of the most heavily-patrolled highways in the state, either by the state troopers on the interstate section or the respective county's cops for the rest of the route. But for some reason, the state police have been swarming 50 and surrounding interstates this week. I must've passed 6 or 7 of them just this morning on the same stretch of 50 that this happened on.

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Interesting...I think that is the eastern part of the US 50 I've driven on in Colorado and Utah...goes through some pretty desolate landscapes. Also been on it in Ohio years ago.

Rob

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Interesting...I think that is the eastern part of the US 50 I've driven on in Colorado and Utah...goes through some pretty desolate landscapes. Also been on it in Ohio years ago.

Rob

The very same 50. Goes through some typical DC-area suburbia here in Maryland before it crosses the Bay Bridge. Interestingly, you can't see any of it from the freeway, probably by design.

On the topic, the defendant seems to have every right to win this case and have the ticket thrown out. It wasn't 65 yet, so he's within his rights to drive 55 there.

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From the DC/Maryland line east to Queenstown (or about 45 miles), 50 is a full expressway.

"Full expressway" isn't a very descriptive term. Is it a freeway or not at that point? Freeway = complete grade separation, no at-grade crossings. That's what matters, because "when conditions permit" applies far less to a freeway than a non-freeway.

It wasn't 65 yet, so he's within his rights to drive 55 there.

The man thinks it wasn't 65 yet.

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I wonder if it was a 4 lane and the jerk was driving slowly in the left lane.

Then he should have gotten a ticket for failure to keep right, or whatever Maryland has codified this nearly universal piece of basic traffic law.

While I agree that going too slow is as dangerous if not more dangerous than going fast, this is just another case of traffic law being vaguely written or incompatible with the real world which leads to people being fleeced or pulled over for no good reason.

Crazy dream idea... there have been several attempts to monitor traffic through the use of cell phone movement after it has been made anonymous. Knowing that a certain block of roadway is averaging, say, 75 mph, we could have digital, interactive speed limits signs that update the speed limit (and minimum speed) based on the 85th percentile of the people currently using the roadway. I know this will never actually happen, however.

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58, even in a 65, is not more than 10 below the limit- so the (lack of) speed is not a legal issue.

Only thing left is the 'obstruction of the normal flow of traffic' (hards to imagine on a 4-lane road) or if he was riding in the right lane or not- neither which is clarified in this piece.

Edited by balthazar
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58, even in a 65, is not more than 10 below the limit- so the (lack of) speed is not a legal issue.

Only thing left is the 'obstruction of the normal flow of traffic' (hards to imagine on a 4-lane road) or if he was riding in the right lane or not- neither which is clarified in this piece.

According to the law posted above, the "within 10" guideline is a category (II) rule, while impeding normal/reasonable traffic flow is category (I). So, while not violating (II), he may be violating (I).

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Right, and that (impedeing traffic) is a judgement call whereas actual speed is hard fact.

Given that, it's impossible for anyone not there to assign blame either way without a good encompassing video.

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Sounds like how my father use to drive, God it would take that man forever and a day to get anywhere ...

I drove him just as crazy though, his name for me was Lead Foot ... :P

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Right, and that (impedeing traffic) is a judgement call whereas actual speed is hard fact.

Given that, it's impossible for anyone not there to assign blame either way without a good encompassing video.

+1

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"Full expressway" isn't a very descriptive term. Is it a freeway or not at that point? Freeway = complete grade separation, no at-grade crossings. That's what matters, because "when conditions permit" applies far less to a freeway than a non-freeway.

The man thinks it wasn't 65 yet.

50 is a full freeway all the way from DC to somewhere across the Chesapeake Bay. No lights, just interchanges.

And it depends on where he was on the road. The speed limit does jump unexpectedly down there.

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Interesting...I think that is the eastern part of the US 50 I've driven on in Colorado and Utah...goes through some pretty desolate landscapes. Also been on it in Ohio years ago.

Rob

US 50 is known as "The Loneliest Road in America"

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Right, and that (impedeing traffic) is a judgement call whereas actual speed is hard fact.

Given that, it's impossible for anyone not there to assign blame either way without a good encompassing video.

Not really. The hard fact is that he was 7 under the speed limit. If the police officer says he was impeding traffic, then I believe it. Officers generally don't go around picking on old men for no reason.

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Croc - >>"The hard fact is that he was 7 under the speed limit."<<

Correct, and 7 under is NOT against the law.

>>"If the police officer says he was impeding traffic, then I believe it. Officers generally don't go around picking on old men for no reason."<<

It doesn't have to be 'picking on', dude- and it certain CAN be a judgement call with an appreciable range of legitimacy. Can 1 car truely "impede" 4 lanes of traffic ?? Sounds like a stretch, but like I said- I can't make that judgement from here; I wasn't there.

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