We cannot defend excessive speeding on our Massachusetts roads. However, the proposal to turn State Troopers assigned to the Massachusetts Turnpike into revenue agents is outright wrong.

Entrapping motorists, levying fines for speeding for the purpose of revenue and not safety, is a moral insult to those who support integrity in government. The support, respect and credibility for State Trooper professionals performing their duties will only be challenged by the victims of the forthcoming motorist traffic ticket gouging. Their action could lead to further higher insurance costs for unfairly victimized violators by this ruse to get another $1.2 million in revenue for continuous failed Turnpike management.

The Turnpike Board, by taking this action to cover up continuous failures and bad financial judgments by now mandating these forthcoming revenue speed traps, reaches a new depth of government failure. This action further alienates Massachusetts Government by implementing this rip off of the general public for the sole purpose of applying a temporary band aid for the ongoing shoddy construction cost overrun bills of the Big Dig.

The mismanagement by politically appointed turnpike board members and authority managers hired through a nonmerit patronage system of hiring is the root cause for the Big Dig continuous failings. This, coupled with private sector, no-bid awarded construction management contracts to the likes of Bechtel – and the additional chosen privately engaged no bid subcontractors campaign contributors – only adds to the constant drain of the Massachusetts treasury and pocketbooks of the citizens.

The Democratic governors of the past and the present just do not seem to get it. The previous Republican governors did not get it also, as witnessing and analyzing the failures of the Big Dig construction management and the Turnpike administration under their tenures.

The Associated Press recently quoted Turnpike Board member Michael Angelini allegedly jokingly by stating, “I’ll be careful driving,” relative to the new so-called revenue speed traps. This alleged no-joke comes from a most prominent Worcester Attorney from the prestigious Worcester law firm Bowditch and Dewey that does so much business representing state government established entities as well as special interest clients going before various state agencies and courts. Angelini was the lead person on newly-elected Governor Patrick’s transition team.

Is Angelini’s approving this projected $1.2-million increase in traffic enforcement fines by State Troopers using their strong weapon giving out ticket quota fines from Stockbridge to Boston, the policy that taxpaying citizens who voted for Gov. Patrick and entourage expected to fund the every increasing Big Dig deficit failures? This is a sad message and further discrimination for the toll road users who travel west to east in Massachusetts. However, those living and traveling North or South of Boston get a free ride again as there is no Turnpike or State Troopers assigned having mandated speed traps for revenue raising proposes.

The promises made by the former longtime turnpike chair, John Driscoll, who worked quite diligently to make good on promises to retire the original turnpike bonds to make the road a free highway, and later saw new ones made again and again by both Democratic and Republican administrations to perpetuate the folly, is unfortunate. Also, the pronunciation by the former House Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation and subsequent special interest transportation lobbyist when departing the Legislature Steven J. Karol that the Turnpike would never pay for the Big Dig certainly turns out to be false.

The actions of the so-called independent politically appointed Turnpike Board does not bode well for the driving public and businesses who must use the Massachusetts Turnpike.

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8 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Just see what happens when...

    ...the MA turnpike starts using EasyPass (or whatever it's called) transponder records to determine whether someone speeded.  It's easy to do, and it doesn't require a cop.

    They promised that they wouldn't, but I never believed that they wouldn't.

    • The only trouble with this kind of stealthier speeding detection is that it seems like a violation of constitutional rights.

      In some places throughout the United States, there are somewhat similar ways of detecting/determining speeding via radar, and it sounds like the use of EasyPass as a way of determining and recording whether or not someone is speeding is sort of akin to that.  

      The way radar detection for speeding works is that there's a totally invisible "trap", which records speeds without a driver(s) knowing it, and, if a driver has been speeding, s/he will find the citation awaiting them in the mail on arrival home.    The other way that speeders are sometimes caught is through detection via air.

      Due to today's high-tech era, and to various high-tech security methods that've been put into place, especially since 9/11, a person often stands a greater chance of getting caught speeding nowadays.

      • Some might believe it...

        The only trouble with this kind of stealthier speeding detection is that it seems like a violation of constitutional rights.

        ..but that would be incorrect.

        • Quite frankly,

          I prefer the old-fashioned way, where cops would form "speed" traps, sitting in their cars on the side of the road, waiting, then clocking speeders' mph, and then going after them.  This, imo, is a much more conscionable way to catch speeders, instead of nabbing them with invisible radar detections or whatever and then surprising them with a ticket or photograph in the mail or whatever.

          • Agreed

            Since the trucker fetish and oil embargo of the 1970s, speeding in our sociert has been regarded as a battle of wits rather than a violation.  It's as if the drivers take on the cops, and each side shares information and tries to out think each other -- where are people speeding?  How fast can I go before I'm pulled over?  What time of the month is it?  How tough are the cops in this town?  And let's face it, we enjoy it -- part of the Schadenfreude of seeing someone else pulled over for speeding is the assumption that we're better at the game than they are, because we didn't got caught and they did.  Using radars and transponders changes this from a game into a straight enforcement.  I think there's a part of me that would miss the headgames.

            Plus, they'd better be ready to mail out tons of tickets, because either they nab everyone or nobody.  I'm not going to be the only schlamazel on the Pike following the speed limit.

            sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
            • Speeding:

              "Since the trucker fetish and oil embargo of the 1970s, speeding in our sociert has been regarded as a battle of wits rather than a violation."

              The above-mentioned quote from your post is true, sabatuai.  Regarding going over the speed limit, if a person's going 5-10 miles over the speed limit, they generally don't get hassled by the cops.  It's necessary to keep up with the traffic, and yet I also feel, that as someone who's done a fair share of long-distance highway driving (i. e. from Boston to NYC and back and from Boston to Iowa City, IA, for instance), it's also necessary to drive at a speed where one is comfortable.  

              I, too have noticed people who've clearly gotten pulled over for speeding and thought  "aha--they've gotten their just desserts"    Regarding the speed limit--it's true that the cops couldn't just simply ticket the whole highway full of cars.  It would be ridiculous.

              However, one also has to bear in mind that speed limits do exist for a reason:  certain road conditions, densely-populated areas, etc.  The speed limit is the fastest that a person can drive on a given road under ideal conditions:  i. e. a nice, dry sunny day.  There are certain not-so-ideal conditions, however, where operating at the posted speed limit really isn't that safe or appropriate:  at night,  or during adverse conditions:  snow, ice, etc., or when it's rainy/foggy out.  Such conditions require more careful driving, imo.  Years ago, when I was learning to drive,  one of the questions that the booklet issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles was as follows:  How do most (automobile) accidents occur?  The answer:  Operating at too great a speed for existing conditions.  I believe that has always held true and always will.  

              Back to the original subject at hand:  I'm afraid that one of the reasons that these sort of  "invisible" speed traps are put in place is due to the fact that our society is headed towards automation, where humans do less and less of the work.  This has especially been the case since 9/11.  Kind of scary, actually.

              • Nature of speeding

                Well, at some point we have to assume the driver next to us is not an idiot.  People usually drive pretty well in the snow, except a--holes in 4X4s who think nothing of endangering everyone to show off their motorized phallus.  But people don't slow down adequately for rain.  Time of day matters too -- I'm going by a school a lot faster at 2am than 2pm.  SPeed limits are guides in my mind...

                And as for automatic speed traps, as soon as someone trots out "these fines will go into our general budget, and will forestall or even cancel toll increases" people will accept it after changing the channel.

                sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
                • I was taught that defensive driving is the best way to survive--and to protect oneself from other drivers.

                  It 's really hard to predict what another driver(s) may do, and that's why it  's necessary to watch out for the next guy.  The fact that many people really don't slow down adequately for adverse weather conditions, or even night driving is where a lot of the problem lies....not a good omen, imo.  

                  " except a--holes in 4X4s who think nothing of endangering everyone to show off their motorized phallus."

                  Also, sabutai--the above-mentioned quote from your post articulates exactly what I was pointing out here.  

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