A remarkable sight!! Four cars loaded with college students hold traffic to the speed limit on I-285 for 30 solid minutes!!

The story is this. A group of college students got together and decided to hold I-285 traffic to the posted speed limit. (I-285 makes a complete circle around Atlanta.) The Atlanta Journal quotes a spokesman for the DOT as saying that if the students weren’t blocking emergency vehicles and were going the speed limit, “they didn’t do a thing wrong.” He added, “In Atlanta… we expect the people going 75 to move over so the people going 95 can have the right of way.”

I’m very familiar with I-285, having travelled it thousands of times. If you do 55, you are risking your life. If you do what traffic is doing, you are subject to a ticket. So what’s a person to do? This will generate some great discussion!

Click on the above image to watch the video. (I wish the audio were better.)

Related Link: AJC’s Article, “Drive 55, Try To Stay Alive” [may require free log-in]

  1. Mr. Fusion says:

    I am not sure, but there was a study done that showed that driving slower will save lives. If not for anything else, the severity of impact with stationary objects.
    Speed limits on interstates are not there to make money, but to assure that there is a modicum of safety. On roads that are slower than 55, say State roads, some of those speeds are legislated by the locals.

    Right on Roc. While we all think we are above average drivers, half of us have to be below average.

    Whenever there is traffic congestion, people make fast lane changes, slow downs, and enter the road way. The faster traffic is the less time to react before reaching the spot where the change is. And the faster you are moving, the longer it takes to stop, exponentially. When there are different rates of speed between the lanes, the risk of hitting or being hit by anther vehicle also increases exponentially. While speed itself is NOT the major cause of traffic collisions, it is the major factor when it comes to the severity of the collision.

    And finally, if you don’t like the speed limits then let your legislator know. If he doesn’t do anything then give your vote to someone who will. Just quit your whining about the law is an ass and get off of your ass and do something about it.

  2. Siddhartha Vicious says:

    #13 RonD – Nixon resigned August 9, 1974.

  3. RonD says:

    #34 Siddhartha Vicious – thanks for the exact date. Joshua #22 had pointed out to me that Nixon was gone by 1975 and I replied to him in #24 that he resigned in 1974. Nice to know the exact day. 🙂

  4. tape says:

    the people who did this need to worry about bigger problems than silly speed limits, c’mon, stop trying to be heros.

  5. Matthew says:

    This is actually illegal in some states, mine included. They usually claim you might be blocking emergency vehicles.

    So if I drive 70-75 in a 65, in the left lane, and passing cars one after another; now the jerks behind me have a legal right to expect me to get in the slow lane and let them pass. And boy is the right lane slower, and boy the lengths they will go through to get you out of their way. jerks, I hope they crash.

  6. Teyecoon says:

    How ironically futile. It’s just a “free pass” for super speeding for the people who get on the road in front of this intentional traffic jam. Besides that, the left lane is supposed to be for passing and if the “pacers” would stay out of it, then all the legal speed drivers would remain safe in the right lanes without forcing people to weave in and out to get by them.

    Furthermore, these “vigilantes” are annoying society at their own significant risk of retribution so if they want to play psuedo-police then they would be (and society would be) better off if they would go out and punish some real criminals and threats with their attempt at citizen law enforcement. Besides that, these people better be models of law obeying (near) perfection to enforce their will over me in this way or they definitely deserve an azzkicking for the hypocrisy.

  7. GregAllen says:

    Why aren’t they passing them on the shoulder or the median? Or even in-between them?

    It’s interesting that Americans are willing to break the speed law but not the passing law.

    Over here in Asia and the Middle East, you’d need a lot more than four cars to block four lanes!

  8. Lynn says:

    I suggest their next study should be to have students get in every single line at the supermarket and pay for their items with jars of pennies — to find out if it angers anyone.

  9. Lynn says:

    Steve, my supermarket pennies analogy was intended to pose the question of why did they have to conduct a dangerous experiment that angered many people just to prove the blatantly obvious?

    It was not their driving the speed limit that caused the problem. It was blocking the entire 4 lanes of heavy traffic at that speed. Besides being a huge inconvenience, this greatly increased the likelihood of an accident and injury. There are many legal behaviors that will obviously annoy and frustrate other people. Fortunately most people exercise common courtesy.

    In Washington state the law is posted that slower traffic must keep right. It doesn’t say slower unless you are doing the speed limit, or even if x mph over; just slower. This simple law solves a lot of problems. If the students did their experiment here, they would be breaking the law.

  10. Lynn says:

    When a “laws” like speed limits are frequently broken (within reason) by a large percentage of the populace, common sense dictates that it should not be treated the same as “real” crimes.

    I have occasionally driven with people who feel so strongly about speed limit laws that they will obey them no matter what the traffic situation. And despite stacking up a line of tailgating cars behind us, often resulting in risky passes; they self-righteously believe they are obeying “the law”. They smugly believe it is the other angered and frustrated drivers who have a problem.

    What is common sense? Robotically obeying a law and expecting or even forcing others to also obey it regardless of the circumstances? Or sensibly adjusting to the situation?

    Anger and frustration tend to cloud people’s judgment, which is dangerous behind the wheel. Consider this when inducing anger in others on the road.

    It seems odd that this needs to be explained. I hope you’re just playing a devil’s advocate role on this.

  11. Clayton says:

    This experiment was a great way to point out a ton of problems with speed limits, traffic laws and human psychology. There are a lot of difficult issues discussed in the 40 posts made here. Please pardon the lengthy response.


    Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we all slowed down, saved some fuel, reduced some demand, and benefited from lower fuel prices later on.


    Slower Traffic Keep Right – sounds good, but I think many people read it as “slower than the speed limit keep right”

    Left Lane For Passing Only – much better than slower traffic keep right. Although, these guys could easily have been passing a car driving slower than the posted speed limit, then the slower car increased speed to the speed limit, thus they could not safely complete the passing maneuver within the speed limit. When do you draw the line on a failed passing attempt?

    Another Scenario: Suppose George is driving as fast as his car will go, say 30 mph above the posted limit, in the right lane, no other cars in sight, front or back. James enters the interstate ahead of George. George moves to the left lane to pass, but James reaches his top speed of 30 mph above the posted limit, just as George pulls along side. A few moments later, Kathy approaches from behind, at 32 mph above the posted limit. Who has the responsibility to move out of the way? Does George slow down and fall behind James? Does James slow down and let the others pass? Does Kathy just accept only being able to go 30 mph above the posted limit? Why should George or James slow down just so Kathy can go even faster?

    I try to live by a few rules to keep some perspective while speeding down the interstate:

    1. Get there safely – live to spend more time with family
    2. Never pass on the right – that is the root of all autobahn evil
    3. Don’t be the jerk – even if someone is driving slow in the left lane, don’t tailgate, don’t pass on the right, leave that foolishness to the other road warriors. There is nothing wrong with a little self righteousness, but there is something wrong in driving dangerously.

    Just a little food for thought:
    How many of you argue against strictly adhering to the posted speed limits because they don’t reflect driving reality? If so, do you feel that “the law is the law” in the immigration debate today?

  12. 3RA1N1AC says:

    I drive from downtown ATL out to the burbs and back for work everyday and can honestly say, I don’t care what the speed limit is. People will go what they feel comfortable at and with the flow of traffic PER LANE! If you want to go 55, get your car to the second to right lane. Don’t go 55 in the far left (not HOV) lane and then gut huffy when everyone wants to pass you! You are impeding the flow of traffic and endangering everyone else’s life. The flow of traffic and the road sets its own speed, though there will always be morons that drive above their ability and just way too damn fast. The only time I’ve been ticketed for driving too fast was when I was going 80 and no one else was really on the road (see: sitting duck). Otherwise, I feel completely comfortable passing a sitting squad car going 80 as long as I’m moving with traffic. All in all, I like what these kids did as “protest” or more likely “demonstration,” but get serious, nobody in ATL drives 55 anyway.

  13. amanda says:

    hey, I’m one of the “kids” (i’m 23 now) that was involved in the making of said stunt, and I just wanted to add my 2 cents. It’s been so long since all of this went down.

    I just want to clarify, briefly, that this video was made neither in protest, nor demonstration. We were all college students at Georgia State, and every year there is a film competition called Campus Moviefest. That particular year, the theme was “5” and we had to somehow incorporate that theme into our film. Andy had the idea to do the 55 mph thing a while before, but this seemed like just the opportunity to make it happen.

    All in all, it was a “mockumentary” of sorts, outlining what can happen when people take their “protests” too seriously and also, of course, the irony of the Atlanta/285 traffic situation. The bit where he is making a speech at the beginning was totally over-the-top on purpose, as were the rest of the gimmicks (including the post-stunt interviews).

    We ended up winning Best Comedy at our school, top 10 for the state and top 10 in the competition overall. It was a huge success because it got people (Neal Boortz, Diane Sawyer, CNN, and a huge internet population) interested and talking about the subject. Granted, we got made fun of a lot on forums such as this…never a lack of “i live in Atlanta and I would have shot them!” or “stupid kids, their mommies and daddies should take their cars away from them” and the like. Those sorts of comments just further the effect we were going for.

    Thanks for showing interest (however long ago it was) in our project, and I hope you are all well! 🙂

  14. BobLfoot says:

    The quantity of posts that think these brave boys were stupid just amazes me. Our legislators which we elect make our laws. And to imply that it is OK to break on of them, just because for me at that time it is more convenient than obeying is ludicrious.

    Personally I operate from “Render to Cesar what is Cesar’s and to God what is God’s”. Obeying the Speed Limit is rendering to Cesar what is his and indirectly obeying God as well.

    Our lack of observance of the speed limit, just goes to prove that as a people “we’ll lie about other things too”.

  15. Ugsers says:

    The laws don’t need to be changed, the people do.

    You make the speed limit faster, the faster people will, and soon going the speed limit will again be dangerous, so than they make the speed limit faster, and so on.

    At what point do you stop? At 65? 75? 100? 200?

  16. Theslowone says:

    I’m a long time bicyclist and bus commuter. I recently decided to get my license and try this driving thing out for a while. I’m absolutely amazed at how rushed our world is. A car is a luxury and it’s sad that this luxury is so abused. It’s very easy to pay attention to speed and if you get ticketed you deserve it. And what’s worse is those arrogant people who tailgate you when your going the speed limit. Yeah, I may be going slower than you want me to but I’m still going 55 and if I have to stop quickly your face is going through your windshield and my rear window and then you’ll have to put up with my speed (and pay for a new window).

  17. emergentrn says:

    I have yet to see anyone comment that driving in a PRIVALEGE! Therefore all licensed drivers are to obey the traffic laws. As a former paramedic I can tell you that speed kills. Lower speed limits do allow the driver to stop sooner and have better reaction times in relation to distance of the car infront of them. (provided that the driver is mature enough to allow the proper buffer zone between the vehicle in front of them) If the arguements go because we will save time and money and all these other “factors”, then, I feel we are missing the point. Again, driving is not a “right”. It is a responsibility that all of us must take seriously and responsibly.

  18. Alice says:

    A lot of the comments here are pure bullshit.
    A few facts.

    1. You are not allowed to go over the legal speed limit to pass someone in front of you. If the speed limit is 55 mph and you go to 60 or 70 to pass in front of someone, and then go back to 55 mph you violated law and are passible of speeding charges.

    2. This road has a speed limit of 55 mph. If those students did drive at 55 mph, they are respecting the law.

    3. Everyone on this video that was “annoyed” by people driving at the legal speed limit are people trying to violate the speed limit, thus breaking law.

    Do you support people that want or do break law ?

    Road set to 55 mph. People drive at 55 mph. That’s it.
    You want to pass faster ? You are speeding.
    You think what they did is stupid ? You probably would have been speeding and breaking the law then.

    It is fascinating to see people drive AT the legal speed limit, thus respecting law. And see people here post comments that respecting law is wrong. That what they did, respecting the law and speed limit, is wrong.

    And then, you whole bunch of morons when you get a speed ticket wonder why you get it ?

    Get. A. F. Brain.

    • Fred says:

      Alice you apparently never travel this governed road. If you did you would realize that the 10s of thousands of people that use it must maitain that flow. The problem with someone like you is that you realize it’s ok to stand on the edge of your driveway yelling at people going 30 in a 25. All three of those within any given pathetic week of yours. The other problem I have with someone like you is the containment of thought that only passes by when you think ” hmmm good thing I grabbed more napkins than I needed because this mayo is really getting all over me!” You think you’re a law abiding citizen when in fact you’re just a poor hinderance for people who work for a living and like to get home to there wife and kids instead of preplanning a night with a to go order from burger king so she can feed her cats.


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