Bad Signs


When his wife got a speeding ticket, Joe Gadus at first figured she deserved it. But when the retired police officer looked at the stretch of Montgomery County, Texas, road she was ticketed on, he suspected something was wrong. It was. The posted speed limit was 40 mph. It should have been 50 mph. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation had known for at least 10 months the sign was wrong and hadn't fixed it. Gadus also found out that officers had written between 600 and 1,500 tickets on that stretch of road. Gadus' work got his wife's ticket dismissed.

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  1. Gadus also found out that officers had written between 600 and 1,500 tickets on that stretch of road.

    Margin of error: 900 tickets.

    1. Solid records lead to accountability, and we couldn’t have that now could we?

      1. If I had that margin of error on my taxes I’d be in prison right now.

  2. I love how it takes a pig getting screwed by his own to get any changes in law enforcement.

  3. Ummm…if the posted limit was 40 and she did more than that, then she deserved the ticket. It is irrelevant what it ‘should’ have been

    1. Party is over, Bill just arrived.

    2. It seems that that road had several signs posted. Both before and after the 40mph sign there were 50mph signs clearly establishing a 50mph limit along the stretch of road, with one small section that was wrongly posted 40mph. It’s not surprising that people missed it. Any situation where people can break the law by accident because of a mistake by officials is obviously going to lead to unjust prosecutions.

      1. Barry – isn’t that the way it always is?

        You’re driving along a road with a speed limit of 50 (let’s say).

        Then a sign that says, “Entering Flatus.” Hidden right behind it, a sign saying “Speed limit 35.”

        Right behind that, a Flatus cop with a radar gun who’ll pull you over if you’re doing 36 as your nose edges past that sign.

        Of course it’s legitimate to have one speed limit, then another speed limit, then another one later – you can have a section with a higher speed limit (such as on a very straight, divided portion with no intersections), or with a lower limit (such as when you pass Flatus).

        In the case that there are several conflicting signs visible, generally the most restrictive one is taken to be the one in effect.

        In cases where visible signs conflict with invisible regulations (such as unposted “legal speed limits”) I think the tendency is to assume that the least restrictive one is in effect (preventing you from being nailed for exceeding an unposted “legal limit” if the posted limit is higher, for example).

  4. Colon Bowell…. Oh, I get it. That is so clever!
    If the posted limit is 40, but the legal limit is 50, she does not deserve a ticket, Bill

    1. Yeah, but does this work the other way as well?

      Set a legal limit of 40, but then the sign guy makes a mistake and puts up a sign saying 50.

      Then the cops start pulling people over for doing 47 in a 40.

      They go to court and say, “the sign said 50!” The judge laughs and says, “but the legal limit is 40, and that’s what counts. The sign was incorrect.”

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