Transportation Policy

Looks to Me Like You've Been Doing Some Unlicensed Figurin'


A citizen in Raleigh, North Carolina presented the city a proposal to install traffic lights near his home. One city official responded by calling for the citizen to be investigated for what basically amounts to doing math without a license.

Cox and his North Raleigh neighbors are lobbying city and state officials to add traffic signals at two intersections as part of a planned widening of Falls of Neuse Road.

After an engineering consultant hired by the city said that the signals were not needed, Cox and the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners' Associations responded with a sophisticated analysis of their own…

The eight-page document with maps, diagrams and traffic projections was offered to buttress their contention that signals will be needed at the Falls of Neuse at Coolmore Drive intersection and where the road meets Tabriz Point / Lake Villa Way.

It did not persuade Kevin Lacy, chief traffic engineer for the state DOT, to change his mind about the project. Instead, Lacy called on a state licensing agency, the N.C. Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, to investigate Cox…

Cox has not been accused of claiming that he is an engineer. But Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report "appears to be engineering-level work" by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer…

Lacy said he had told the group last year that it should hire an engineer to make its case. He said he was surprised to see engineering-quality work in a report that was not signed by a licensed professional.

"When you start applying the principles for trip generation and route assignment, applying judgments from engineering documents and national standards, and making recommendations," that's technical work a licensed engineer would do, Lacy said.

Lacy is right. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if we let just regular, unlicensed people use sophisticated arguments when petitioning their government.

(Thanks to Michael Chaney for the link.)

NEXT: Individual Liberty and the Health Care Law

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  1. I’m an educator and the son of two math majors. LMAO

  2. Let’s investigate everyone coming out of Home Depot just in case they build a competant deck or shed…

  3. This is exhibit infinity for any of my friends and acquaintences who want to tell me I’m the whack job for not trusting government at any level, ever.

    “Yeah, cause any government anywhere ALWAYS devolves to this eventually….”

    Jesus Christ. Put this fucktard up against the wall Buy this Servant of the People flowers first…

    [this is kind of my version of Warty posting links to pictures of cute kittehs to tone down the Hateful Rhetoric?]

      1. ADORABLE!!!!!

        1. Impossible to resist clicking through to cute_kitten.jpg.

      2. And Tasty!

      3. Do you have a license for that kitty?

        1. No shit…My BF talked to a deputy who had to arrest an old lady for not licensing her cat…

          1. Thanks to statist fucks from Team Red/Team Blue, it’s damn near to the point where one must obtain a license to swing a dead cat.

  4. He’s a witch!!!

    1. Bread! Apples! Very small rocks!

      1. Churches!

        1. Gravy!

  5. Of course! We need licensed scientists and licensed mathematicians as well. How else can we guarantee the quality of their work?

    1. Even better idea: we need licensed politicians. That will surely guarantee that competent people will hold office!

      Licenses are such a great idea.

    2. As an engineer, I will say that we use the licensing system as a way of fulfilling our ethical obligation to the protect public from engineering malpractice.

      We use it to police ourselves to ensure that the people designing bridges, buildings, airplanes, and other things that will kill lots of people if they fail, actually have the proper education and/or experience to do the job correctly.

      However, this is a gross misuse of the system that I’m completely appalled at. Being able to produce “professional level” work does not require being licensed. Especially not when its something as trivial as a traffic analysis.

      1. You use it to police yourselves, and everyone else too.

      2. Right. I’ve never pursued my PE because I design freaking water systems. Licensing is about standards and practices, not actual engineering education.

      3. And even more especially when you are not even the actual engineer who will design the final product.

      4. As an engineer I will say that the licensing system is used by those with influence to skew the market and policy to their favor and require irrelevant educational requirements and promote “specialization” and other credentialism to protect their interests and telling people what they are allowed to have an opinion on under the threat of losing the license.

        Fuck the ASCE rent seeking bastards.

        1. I tend to agree. I’m a EE that’s going after his PE later this year, but I’m still the same engineer that knows the same things before and after. It’s just a credential to wave (and hopefully parlay for a raise).

          I’ve know lots of PEs, some good, some not so good.

        2. Oh, and I forgot to say that I took my CAP (Certified Automation Professional) exam, and it’s a lot harder than the PE practice tests I’ve taken. So why isn’t my CAP recognized?

  6. I imagine this is going to end with Cox being transported to the Ministry of Love to get quizzed on basic arithmetic…

  7. Yeah, hey, let’s pretend this heavily credentialed and pointedly verbally pretentious asshole with such ready access to state power that he can use it to harass personal gadflies is motivated by a secret inner voice that talks like poor people.


  8. Was already in the morning links. Ssssssslllllllloooooooowwwwwww…

    1. Well, I posted it in the morning links, but it wasn’t at the top of the post, so some people presumably didn’t see it.

  9. I had my say in the Morning Links, but fuck this guy. Credentialism will kill America faster than Socialism.

    1. Do you have a BA in english? ‘Cause maybe you should leave writing to professionals.

      1. I’ve seen Avenue Q. All a BA in English gets you is Gary Coleman and a bunch of muppets as roommates.

      2. If so, he writes no Englische with which I am familiar. His riting is of a foreen and odd manner, and I can notte make head nor tale of it.

        1. That sounds more c. 1600. Dumbass.

          1. Do you have a license in history, dicklord?

  10. I’ve had a burning urge to build a trebuchet.

    1. Such eliminationist rhetoricke will surely fowle the fairest threads of inquisition and dialog, and does not promote tranquility with thine brethren. Whilst thou please cease and desiste, that we may enjoye a peacefule and cerebrale conversation amongst them as wants it, kinde sir?

      1. I was planning on laying siege to my neighbors. Or at least launching a cow at the silly gits.

        1. Um….how does it….how does it WORK?

          1. Fuckin’ magnets… how do they work?

  11. What a joke of a load of horseshit.

  12. “Falls of Neuse Road.”
    What kind of racist shit is that?

    1. That’s straight up racist!

    2. Shakespeare? Shake a spear! Spearchucker! I’m a spearchucker now!

      1. You people need to stop and listen to what I am telling you.

        1. Sorry but I can’t hear you over the giant sucking sound.

  13. “This man had an idea for flying cars, and made a successful one, but he is not a licensed inventor. Arrest him!”

    1. Saaaay, that Bill Gates never even completed COLLEGE! TO THE BRIG WITH HIM!

      1. Seize his assets!!!

    2. That’s the plot of Anthem, if you substitute a light bulb for a flying car.

      1. No substitutions! Just what’s on the menu, bub!

        1. “Phased Plasma rifle in a 40 watt range”

  14. If Cox did a professional quality job that refutes Lacy’s analysis, I think the proper justice is for Lacy to be fired and Cox to be appointed to his position, right?

    1. Lacy’s being terminated is the appropriate response, or at least have his recent work reviewed. As far as Cox is concerned: I fail to see how this could possibly be a licensing issue even in the most idiotic reasoning, as Cox was not paid for engineering work.

      1. not paid for engineering work

        See, that’s where we come in, cause we got an issue with that…

      2. And apparently didn’t represent himself or the work of his group as being from a PE. I don’t see what this asshole’s gripe is….is it that no one but somebody who passed a PE exam maybe a decade ago can figure out traffic flows, radii and such?

        1. Looking at current traffic ‘flows’, it seems that even those who passed a PE exam can’t figure out a coherent ‘system’.

          1. And therein lies the disconnect between what the PE test contains and what an engineer actually does on his job. I took a PE test (controls engineer) review class last year, and it was very heavy on control valve sizing and transfer function simplification. Maybe twice in nearly 30 years of doing control systems have I been asked to do either.

    2. I wouldn’t wish that sort of mediocre level existence on anyone. The proper justice would be for the entire department to be defunded and lose their legislatively contrived mandate for the actions of one asshole. Other assholes may start to think twice. Like in Shogun when the entire village risked execution if the Westerner was not properly taught English in the allotted time he spent amongst them. If one government official fails then the entire department should all go down with him.

      1. bleh Taught Japanese.

        1. No, taught English. Government work!

    3. Lacy Cox would be a great name for a porn star.

  15. ya know…jesus wasn’t a licensed minister…crap…there goes my salvation…

  16. as an engineer and a citizen, I’m appalled by this bullshit….

    1. Well, then you won’t mind if we have a look at your papers…..?

      *smiles wanly and extends gloved hand*

      1. I’m talking about the abuse of the licensing system, WTF are you talking about?

  17. The headline really should have had the word reckon in it, you know.

    1. I reckon you got a point there…

    2. I Reckon You Been Figgerin’ Without a License


      You Shore Gotta Purty Mind for a Non-Engineer

  18. But Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report “appears to be engineering-level work” by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer…

    Dude, it’s ok. It wasn’t engineering work. It was civil “engineering” work.

  19. …which reminds me – did I miss the Friday Balko nut drop-kick?

    I mean, this is annoying, but it’s nowhere near the usual Balko-grade (government-sponsored) steel toe boot kick to the gonads.

    Or did yesterday’s administration of testicular abuse take care of it?

  20. But Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report “appears to be engineering-level work” by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer…

    Dude, it’s ok. It wasn’t engineering work. It was civil work.

  21. I guess there is at least one engineer out there who isn’t a libertarian…

  22. “Well, this is just a little Peyton Place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites”

  23. “When you start applying the principles for trip generation and route assignment, applying judgments from engineering documents and national standards, and making recommendations,” that’s technical work a licensed engineer would do, Lacy said.

    Traffic engineering is hard!

  24. What is this shit? No one told us we needed a license.

    1. What is this shit?

      I would tell you but I’m not a licensed gastroenterologist so I can’t.

    2. Would YOU fly in an airplane designed by two unlicensed bicycle mechanics?

  25. You know, one of the most dangerous professions is philosophy. Yet virtually no states require philosophers to be licensed. I think that needs to change.

    1. What is an engineer but a philosopher with a hammer?

      1. If I hit my thumb with a hammer in the forest and there is no one to hear me yell FUCK!!, does it still hurt?

      2. At first, I read this as “philosopher with a hummer” and I thought, damn, I should have become an engineer.

      3. I thought it’s a philosopher with a job.

  26. You are all unnecessarily literate.

    1. I’m an unlicensed literate.

      1. And here I thought you were a licensed illiterate.

  27. I was thinking about contacting Mr. Lacy directly to offer my own unlicensed opinion. Maybe I still will.

  28. But Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report “appears to be engineering-level work” by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer.

    sounds like a legal determination. Is Lacy licensed by the state bar or just practicing law without a license?

      1. perhaps. but are you licensed to make chronological assessments?

        1. I’ll need to see your license to assess qualifications

  29. When Lacy opines about NC law concerning licensing, it sounds like he’s engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. Someone should report him to the NC state bar.

    1. Damn, Jeff, beat me to it.

      At a minimum, he should be fired. That level of stupid and arrogance cannot be refuted, only destroyed.

      1. Are you licensed in North Carolina?

        1. Happily, no. Only Virginia (inactive), Wisconsin (inactive), and Texas (hyperactive).

          1. Then your unlicensed opinion may get you in trouble. I’m not licensed there, either, so I can’t really say for sure.

  30. It’s like that scene in Anthem where the guy reinvents electricity and gets imprisoned for it.

  31. Somehow I don’t think the North Carolina authorities reject tax returns that are correct but not prepared by a cpa. What a great excuse: “I failed to file because I didn’t want to get in trouble because I’m not a licensed accountant.”

  32. It’s possible that Lacy realizes (in a dim-witted way) that the average graduate of the government’s school “system” is unable to analyze or think. When he runs across somebody who can think it throws him for a loop.

  33. …Kevin Lacy, chief traffic engineer for the state DOT…says he filed the complaint because the report “appears to be engineering-level work” by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer…

    “Appears”? WTF does that mean? It either is engineering work or it isn’t. If Lacy is the “chief traffic engineer for the state DOT” then he ought to be able to say definitely that it is engineering work.

    Is THIS one of the “professionals” we’re supposed to leave all the hard stuff to?

    1. Funny thing about Mr Lacy being “Chief Traffic Engineer”.

      I always thought an engineer could count past 10.

      Without taking his socks off.

      1. There’s a 50/50 shot he can count to 20 and a half while he’s in the shower.

  34. I bet when SWAT raids his place they find protractors and other paraphernalia stashed about.

    1. We thought the slide rule on his belt was a weapon, so we shot him.

      1. Who in hell still uses a slide rule?

        1. I do!

  35. This is just lacking a bit of translation.

    What Mr. Lacy really means is that though he managed to float through college, and was able to manage to pass some sort of licensing whatever, the work he was presented with was far, far beyond his abilities, and thus, as a government sluggo without the aptitude or ability to actually hold a job requiring actual engineering skills in the private sector, the situation likely would have required him to do actual, you know, engineering work, instead of the paper shuffling that has been the basis of his professional survival, therefore, although unintentionally, the advocates for the stop lights had made a clear and present threat to him and his family, which cannot be, under any circumstances, tolerated.

    Or something like that.

    1. His job is probably more like an email engineer, not paper. Oh, and being unavailable for meetings.

  36. The irony is that probably a small percentage of the engineers and other technical staff working under Kevin Lacy actually have their PEs. Does he allow them to do engineering work, or does he menace them daily that, should they attempt to do their jobs, he’ll see to it they’re fined and/or imprisoned?

  37. So a citizen who even displays competence and familiarity with the relevant body of knowledge in advocating a policy to public representatives is violating the professional licensing system?

    That officious busybody Lacy needs to be slapped down until he’s lying in a puddle of his own urine and puke, dazedly staring up at the sun and wondering “wha’ the fuck happened?”

    It’s obvious that Cox wasn’t doing it for money, or competing with any licensed professional. So if there are any relevant legal sanctions available for filing a frivolous complaint or for harassment by abuse of official power, he should break it off in Lacy with extreme prejudice.

    1. It’s not even a matter of competition. What the PE requirement is supposed to do is prevent just anyone from handing a contractor a set of drawings and saying, “build this.” It’s obvious Cox wasn’t even trying to do that.

  38. Obviously, if this guy is not punished, we’ll end up like Somalia!

  39. I think Lacy suspects an actual engineer with a PE of doing the work for Cox, and is threatening Cox in this way to get him to rat out the actual traffic engineer. Then Lacy will go after the traffic engineer.
    When you get your PE you agree to an ethical code that says you will not review the work of another licensed engineer without at least notifying him first. I bet Lacy is trying to fuck another engineer by claiming that the other guy reviewed his work in violation of the code of ethics.

  40. I guess Cox forgot to obtain his deriver’s license.

  41. Another fine example of the government elite treating a citizen as if all citizens are to bow down and worship at the alter of ” The Bureaucrat Knows Best “. Punishable by any means necessary to set an example so that others would not dare try to use their God given intellect and Right to petition their concerns before that alter.

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