A few weeks ago someone posted something on Facebook that prompted a chuckle. It went something like this:

Watch out!
There’s a speed trap on 127 at the I-70 overpass!

I chuckled because just a couple months prior I was stopped near that exact overpass for exceeding the speed limit by about 10 mph. The speed limit along U.S. 127 is normally 55 mph, but at that short stretch, the limit is reduced to 45. The officer checked my record, which is spotless, at least in the past 17 years, and gave me only a written warning. He explained that the reduction in speed is due to the two truck stops on either side of the overpass. Often trucks are stopped awaiting a turn into one of those truck stops.

What I didn’t infer from my Facebook friend’s status update was a warning to drive safe on that overpass but instead caution regarding the likely monetary repercussions of speeding. Her whole speed trap comment got me thinking. What is a speed trap?

I googled speed trap and discovered a website devoted to listing over 50,000 supposed speed traps across the United States. I don’t know if the 127 overpass is listed there, or even the state route on which my house is situated, though I hope so.

Recently, a local patrol car has been parked near our house and one particular evening his or her blue lights would flash and be gone, chasing down a hurried motorist. I have greatly appreciated the enforcement of the 25 mph limit in the small town where I live, which is mostly residential. I remember that particular evening because it was Fat Tuesday and we were enjoy Paczkis. I’d wanted to go out and thank the officer with a Paczki or two. Except, after citing that driver, he didn’t return to his spot near our house.

All this reminded me of a passage in Romans where Paul is talking about obeying government authorities.

Romans 13:1-5 (NLT)
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

All of us with driver’s licenses have known the anxiety of speeding along the interstate and discovering we’d just passed a hidden patrol car. What Paul says here quite lucidly is to rid yourself of such anxiety by obeying the law. You needn’t fear highway patrol when you’re complying with posted speed limits.

Why do we speed anyway? NASCAR aspirations notwithstanding, we speed because we think we know better what is a safe speed. There are times I don’t understand why a certain street has a lower limit. There’s a stretch in the nearby city of Richmond, Indiana, a five-lane road (including center lane) with a 30 mph limit. Why? I have no idea. Also, when we return to our hometown of Yuma, we have to remember the lower city speed limits. At least I know the reason there. Because winter visitors flock to Arizona and drive stubbornly slow and unaware of other drivers. Drive across the country and you’ll see limits that vary from state to state, some as high as 85 mph.

We may not understand, and even if we do, we may not always agree with the government authorities to which Paul tells us to submit. In my estimation, there is no entrapment when limits are posted and we choose to exceed them regardless. I’m not even going to address radar detectors. C’mon!

I am aiming to become a safer, more submissive driver. Would you join me?

One thought on “Speed Traps

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