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posted by n1 on Wednesday August 20 2014, @02:51PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the avoiding-accidents-is-dangerous-driving dept.

BBC reports that according to Dmitri Dolgov, lead software engineer for Google's driverless car project, Google's self-driving cars are programmed to exceed speed limits by up to 10 mph when surrounding vehicles are breaking the speed limit, because going more slowly could actually present a danger. In many countries, including the United States, the speed limit is a rather nebulous thing. It's posted, but on many roads hardly anybody obeys it.

Almost every driver speeds regularly, and anybody going at or below the limit on a clear road outside the right lane is typically an obstruction to traffic—they will find themselves being tailgated or passed at high speed on the left and right. A ticket for going 1 mph over the limit is an extremely rare thing and usually signals a cop with another agenda or a special day of zero-tolerance enforcement. In fact, many drivers feel safe from tickets up to about 9 mph over the limit. Tickets happen there, but the major penalties require going faster, and most police like to go after that one weaving, racing guy who thinks the limit does not apply to him. Commenting on Google self-drive cars' ability to exceed the speed limit, a Department for Transport spokesman said: "There are no plans to change speed limits, which will still apply to driverless cars".

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  • (Score: -1) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:13PM (#83556)

    "Hugh Pickens writes:"

    Really? I thought Papas Fritas writes. [soylentnews.org]

    The text seems to be essentially identical.

    • (Score: 2) by paulej72 on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:01PM

      by paulej72 (58) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:01PM (#83605) Journal

      Yes, we know they are stye same person.

      --
      Team Leader for SN Development
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by MrGuy on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:19PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:19PM (#83559)

    I'm struck by the parallel of "who gets the ticket if a driverless car is speeding" is similar to the dubious legal theory on which red light camera citations are issued.

    There's no law (in any jurisdiction I'm aware of) that makes it a crime to OWN a car that violates a traffic law. The crime is to DRIVE a car in violation of traffic laws. You ticket the driver of the car, not the owner.

    However, as (to date) facial recognition technology is poor, and red light cameras focus on the rear of the car (to get the plate number), it's somehow been established that you can hold the owner of a car responsible for how it's driven, even absent proof of who is at the wheel at the time. IANAL, but this has always struck me as problematic when it bumps up against the "due process" clause of the constitution combined with the 5th amendment - a red light camera can't tell you who was driving, and the 5th amendment establishes you cannot compel the owner of a car to admit to driving the car, nor can you use the refusal to testify against themself as proof of guilt.

    But I digress - who SHOULD be responsible when a self-driving car commits a traffic violation? The owner, even if they're not present? The passenger, even if they're not in control of the car at the time? The company that made the car?

    And what happens if it's not speeding - what if the collision avoidance camera fails, the failsafe doesn't detect it, and the car hits a small child who ran out into traffic. Is the owner of the car guilty of vehicular manslaughter?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:29PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:29PM (#83568)

      WRT red lights the legal analogy that's traditionally rolled out is parking violations.

      The biggest legal problem is proving its your car. So you ticket me in downtown NYC while my car is parked at work in Chicago. What happens next? Probably nothing good, at least not good to me.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by quacking duck on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:31PM

      by quacking duck (1395) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:31PM (#83569)

      Re: red light and speed cameras... Insurance holds the owner ultimately responsible for giving the keys to whoever is driving the car (except if it's stolen, of course), so why not the law?

      The law at least draws the line at a fine for violations on camera, so moving violations don't result in any demerit points like you'd get if caught by cop (that's how it works where I live, anyway).

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by MrGuy on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:41PM

        by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:41PM (#83572)

        Insurance holds the owner ultimately responsible for giving the keys to whoever is driving the car (except if it's stolen, of course), so why not the law?

        Only for damages. If I get a speeding ticket, MY insurance rates go up, regardless of whose car I was driving. But insurance is a contractual agreement between two parties (the owner of a car and the insurance company). They can write the contract however they want (well, technically not - insurance is heavily regulated, but the point is insurance is governed by contract law).

        To your question of "why shouldn't the law work like insurance comapnies?" the answer is "because that's how the law works." To make out a criminal complaint against an individual (and while they're misdemeanors, traffic charges are criminal charges), you need prima facia evidence that the person being charged committed the crime. And the laws related to the crimes in question (with respect to the crimes in question) relate to the DRIVER of a car. You cannot establish a criminal case against someone for driving a car in violation of the law without providing evidence that the individual charged was in fact driving the car.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by BasilBrush on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:49PM

          by BasilBrush (3994) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:49PM (#83737)

          In the UK the way it's dealt with is that speeding tickets are not a criminal matter. The are classed as "fixed penalties", which are civil matters. They can become criminal matters if you choose not to deal with them and go to court. Additionally there's a law which says that if the vehicle gets a fixed penalty notice, you have an obligation to tell the authorities who was driving if it wasn't you. So there's no legal avenue for saying "I wasn't driving and I'm not going to say who was."

          --
          Hurrah! Quoting works now!
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21 2014, @06:39AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21 2014, @06:39AM (#83846)

            Once someone I know let someone else drive his car (this is in the U.S.). The driver crossed a red light illegally and a ticket came in the mail from one of those ticket cameras. When the owner went to fight it the authorities insisted the owner was the driver based on the photo. The judge also agreed. The owner kept insisting he wasn't the driver. The judge said the driver sure looks like the owner. The owner said he couldn't have been the driver because he was the passenger. So they took a look at the picture of the passenger and, sure enough, it was the owner. The driver wasn't the owner. Case closed. However, they couldn't really go after the driver because the driver was from overseas and had an international license. The driver was no longer in the United States. So the court just dropped the case. In such a case what could they do?

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by monster on Thursday August 21 2014, @10:30AM

              by monster (1260) on Thursday August 21 2014, @10:30AM (#83877) Journal

              Put him on the terrorist list.

              Now, on a more serious note, it's the same case that happens in Europe with foreign cars: Either the police stops the car, identifies the driver, issues the ticket and gets it paid or it ends being not economical to enforce it (more money spent in the proceedings than got with the ticket). It may suck, but that's life.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by migz on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:11PM

      by migz (1807) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:11PM (#83609)

      The Gubberment does not care about your safety. It only wants you to obey, and pay.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:50PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:50PM (#83622) Journal

        But traffic cops don't like dealing with accidents caused by people driving significantly under prevailing speed in any lane.

        Some will tell you "8, your great, 9 your mine", and if you are keeping up with traffic in your lane they are not going to single you out. Basic rule of thumb is limit plus 10% and nobody will bother you.

        In virtually every state cops will give you a ticket for religiously adhering to the speed limit in anything but the rightmost lane, and the ticket will be for "lane travel" (being in wrong lane for your slower speed).

        In some states the law is "keep right except to pass". But most states have realized this leads to constant lane changing, and have revised their laws to say "slower traffic keep right". There is a subtle difference, but it translates to fewer tickets.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Wednesday August 20 2014, @07:30PM

      by isostatic (365) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @07:30PM (#83664) Journal

      There's no law (in any jurisdiction I'm aware of) that makes it a crime to OWN a car that violates a traffic law.

      In the UK there is a law making it a crime to not tell the police who was driving at a specific time.

      • (Score: 2) by MrGuy on Wednesday August 20 2014, @09:41PM

        by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @09:41PM (#83710)

        Fair enough. In the US, such a law would be illegal under the 5th amendment.

        • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Friday August 22 2014, @09:32PM

          by isostatic (365) on Friday August 22 2014, @09:32PM (#84491) Journal

          The UK has similar protections in law. It's ignored by the court, just as the U.S. courts ignore the constitution.

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:21PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:21PM (#83720)

      Several states, mine included, have deemed red light cameras unconstitutional.

    • (Score: 2) by mrider on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:30PM

      by mrider (3252) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:30PM (#83724)

      (Only addressing part of your post...)

      My wife got a red-light camera ticket, which in retrospect we should have fought because it was partially caused by a too-short yellow (she was turning left at an uncontrolled intersection). They take a picture through the windshield of the driver's face as well as a picture of the license. That city has since removed all the cameras because it's in an area near a university, and the students are historically very politically active.

      So if someone other than the registered owner is driving, then a simple visit to the DMV with the picture and a statement of "does this look like me?" will suffice to get it cleared.

       

      As a motorcyclist that wears a darkened shield on my helmet most of the time, all I have to say is good luck getting a picture of my face! :)

      --

      Doctor: "Do you hear voices?"

      Me: "Only when my bluetooth is charged."

    • (Score: 1) by Wootery on Wednesday August 20 2014, @11:17PM

      by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @11:17PM (#83746)

      who SHOULD be responsible when a self-driving car commits a traffic violation? The owner, even if they're not present? The passenger, even if they're not in control of the car at the time? The company that made the car?

      Well, not the owner, obviously, any more than you would be guilty of murder if I killed someone with your crowbar.

      If the car is totally without human driving override, then clearly the responsibility is will the organisation that built the car. If a dangerously faulty aircraft autopilot causes trouble, we blame the organisation that made the autopilot.

      The person in the car might be able to reconfigure the car's destination, but suppose having it change speed were entirely out of their control. If that's the case, they really are just a passenger, the same way they'd be a passenger if a taxi driver were at the wheel.

      If there is manual override, I'd say the responsibility is shared, but it's less clear-cut. There's no taxi driver analogy there.

      • (Score: 2) by MrGuy on Wednesday August 20 2014, @11:40PM

        by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @11:40PM (#83750)

        Well, not the owner, obviously, any more than you would be guilty of murder if I killed someone with your crowbar.

        And hence my original post comparing the situation to red light cameras, which take PRECISELY this legal theory - the owner of the car is presumed guilty of crimes committed by a driver of the car, regardless of whether they were the driver or not.

        And if you think the government is going to prosecute Google (or any other car manufacturer) for manslaughter, you're dreaming. Heck, it's not even really possible - who would go to jail if you DID convict Google of "murder."

        We're very close to Asimovian territory here, where there's going to need to be a whole lotta law and a whole lotta precedent regarding criminal law and autonomous devices (self driving cars, piloted and unpiloted drones, etc.)

        I'm betting on any "crimes" being committed by autonomous devices get classified as "industrial accidents." And trial lawyers are going to have a field day with the notion of joint and several liability for civil damages - you only have to be a little negligent as the maker of an autonomous car to get sued. Then the big car manufacturers whine to congress, and there's a big shield law passed, provided the autonomous cars pass some notional standard set by an NHTS-like body (which the manufacturers can continually lobby to lower their standards). And on and on we go...

        • (Score: 1) by Wootery on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:29PM

          by Wootery (2341) on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:29PM (#86757)

          Agree - this isn't so different to those 'old' issues that it's likely to be treated differently.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SuperCharlie on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:21PM

    by SuperCharlie (2939) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:21PM (#83560)

    Some of you will hate this, some of you will like this and probably a very few will have done this..
     
      After a few long distance driving trips and some "deep thought" I decided to think of traffic somewhat like fluid dynamics. (for long interstate stuff, not around town). I found that if I went 3-5 mph slower than the person in front of me, that I created a bubble around my car where people would simply flow around the car or set up the same speed behind me. Of course I would go around people who were 10 mph or more under the posted limit, but those are pretty rare. What this ends up doing is relieving the stress from lane changing and trying to continually get ahead of the next person or even trying to keep up with the person in front of me. The time loss from the few miles per hour, to me, was well worth the now laid back and relaxed ride. So ya, Im that guy. :p

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by VLM on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:25PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:25PM (#83565)

      Let me guess, in the left lane, too.

      Around here, left lane is for slowing down while talking on your cellphone. Its really weird.

      • (Score: 2) by SuperCharlie on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:43PM

        by SuperCharlie (2939) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:43PM (#83573)

        Especially when youre late. I find that matching the cars speed next to me works great to help you work on anger management. :p

        • (Score: 2) by forsythe on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:37PM

          by forsythe (831) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:37PM (#83644)

          Be passive-aggressive all you want, but please do it a few states away from me.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:05PM (#83585)

      As long as you do this in the right-hand lane...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21 2014, @02:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21 2014, @02:50AM (#83805)

        As long as you do this in the right-hand lane...

        Where I live, the right-hand lane is the right lane to overtake

    • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:50PM

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:50PM (#83600)

      its called cruise control....set it at any speed and you will be passed!!

      Those intelligent ones in expensive cars currently, are pretty much what googles robocar will do.

      Only it will also pull of the exit you need....

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:55PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:55PM (#83602)

      You're right that fluid dynamics are a decent model. You're wrong that the best thing to do is go a bit slow.

      The ideal, really, is to find a lane that is going roughly the speed you want to go, and match that speed as exactly as possible, leaving decent space in front or behind you. For example, the right lane might move at 55 mph, the middle lane at 65 mph, and the left lane at 80 mph. There's not a lot of decision-making involved, which makes driving a lot less stressful.

      The other principle that should be taught, but often isn't, is that when changing lanes you need enough space to not only fit into the new lane and the old lane, but change your speed to match the new lane (either in the old or new lane). Failing to take that into account is why one 50 mph car in the right lane can easily slow down a 4-5 line highway: Frustrated people in the right lane move into the next lane over still going 50 mph, which slows down the next lane, which causes people in the next lane to move into the next lane over, and so forth, until you've reached the other side of the highway.

      The major flaw in your strategy is easy to figure out: What if everybody else did what you did?

      So yeah, don't be that guy.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:03PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:03PM (#83628) Journal

        Adaptive Cruise Control is a godsend if you ask me. (And you don't have to have a really expensive car do get that option).

        Set your max, and it will follow the car ahead at a user selectable distance, up to your max. Then just stay in the lane that is closest to (but slightly under) your max.

        You will never be holding anybody up, (unless your max is under the prevailing speeds of every lane), and your lane changes will be minimized. (A lot of freeway accidents are lane change induced).

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by kaganar on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:54PM

        by kaganar (605) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:54PM (#83655)

        I suspect it depends on where you live, how you drive, and the kinds of roads. I lived 80 minutes away down a four-lane (2 and 2) interstate from my work for a couple years, and I tried a lot of methods to reduce the stress and danger of driving. I can tell you this didn't work for me.

        The problem is that no matter what semi-sane speed (speed limit +10 and below) I chose, people always wanted to go faster. They'd slowly creep up until they were right behind me, take their sweet time passing me, and then leave me a full car distance if I was lucky once they pulled back in front of me. Many people were likely to try this, even when the passing lane was going the same speed I was and they'd only have a few feet to spare in front or back. The slower I went, the more likely these outcomes were.

        I suspect the root of the problem is that I'm one of those "weird" drivers who leaves three or four seconds of follow time between me and the next car -- seems to make people think I'm going too slow, no matter if I'm going faster than the person in front of me, the same, or slower. People literally speed up to pass me, get in front of me, and slow down. This isn't in heavy traffic, Friday night, or anything like that -- people just do it naturally.

        Driving is definitely one of those cases where intelligence or logical thought doesn't apply entirely -- there's some point between what makes sense and what actually happens that's the sweet spot of safety. Only way to find that sweet spot is experience with your local driving conditions.

        • (Score: 2) by strattitarius on Wednesday August 20 2014, @08:13PM

          by strattitarius (3191) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @08:13PM (#83679) Journal
          "I suspect the root of the problem is that I'm one of those "weird" drivers who leaves three or four seconds of follow time between me and the next car -- seems to make people think I'm going too slow, no matter if I'm going faster than the person in front of me, the same, or slower. People literally speed up to pass me, get in front of me, and slow down. This isn't in heavy traffic, Friday night, or anything like that -- people just do it naturally."

          I think you nailed it. I have always allowed quite a bit of distance between me and the car ahead, mainly because my mind can wander off and I don't trust myself. This seems to make people think I am going slow and they can get ahead by passing me, and now instead of my 3-4 second space, it's 1-2. So I slow down a bit and get my space back, only to have it happen again.

          I have given up. Just be an asshole, expect others to be an asshole and move closer to work.

          BTW, the most awesome place to drive is Manhattan (not NYC, just Manhattan) because everyone there knows it's busy and you just have to go. Just go. Don't be nice, don't wait, just go. We'll all move faster in the end if you just go. Just GO!!
          --
          Slashdot Beta Sucks. Soylent Alpha Rules. News at 11.
        • (Score: 1) by Arik on Thursday August 21 2014, @02:15PM

          by Arik (4543) on Thursday August 21 2014, @02:15PM (#83944) Journal
          "I suspect the root of the problem is that I'm one of those "weird" drivers who leaves three or four seconds of follow time between me and the next car"

          That's not wierd, that's sane.

          The idiot majority that are forcing themselves into position in front of you are the ones that cause accidents and kill people. And what they are doing is technically illegal. But more work to write tickets for and prosecute for than speeding, unfortunately.
          --
          If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 2) by hash14 on Thursday August 21 2014, @04:57AM

        by hash14 (1102) on Thursday August 21 2014, @04:57AM (#83830)

        Good. People shouldn't be driving that fast anyway. In fact, to be frank, driving 85 mph on the highway is downright idiotic. It's dangerous, wastes fuel, and doesn't even get you there that much faster - it just shaves a few minutes off the highway time, which doesn't even count for that much proportionally speaking if you have a non-highway portion of your trip as well.

        Driving slow isn't a problem. It's the people driving fast that are causing the problem and making it worse to drive for others who are trying to be safe. Just because some people are in a personal rush (probably of their own fault anyway) or just pointlessly impatient and/or reckless doesn't mean other drivers should have to pay the penalty. Honestly, they should give more speeding tickets to enforce this.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:09PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:09PM (#83632) Journal

      I found that if I went 3-5 mph slower than the person in front of me, that I created a bubble around my car where people would simply flow around the car

      3 too 5 is too slow, and you induce a lot of lane changes behind you, and then again in front of you. Lane changes induce a lot of accidents.

      10 cars in a row, each following your method reduces the traffic speed at the end of the chain from 55 to 5mph.
      I suggest you haven't thought that out very well. You've made yourself a nuisance, and imposed a lot of risk on other road users.

      Just keep up with traffic, leaving a gap in front of you as you wish. Its safer for everyone.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:44PM (#83648)

        Just keep up with traffic, leaving a gap in front of you as you wish. Its safer for everyone.

        They added a new blockquote graphic!

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @07:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @07:18PM (#83662)

      In Georgia, you can now be ticketed for not speeding fast enough. The threshold is left to each officer's discretion, but it's been very clearly communicated that "obeying the posted speed" is likely to get you a "slow poke" ticket. If there are people behind you, you are the slow poke.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @07:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @07:43PM (#83669)

      I had this image of someone pouring a box of jello into a water dynamics model of the street system and just going like, "and this is the area around a local small-town cop with a ticket quota..."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:34PM (#83730)

      ...if I went 3-5 mph slower than the person in front of me...

      My GF often does this in the slow lane, works for her...drives me nuts!

      For a few years my "commute" involved a 1000 mile drive between two houses, every month or two. At a 60 mph average (including some stops) it took 16:40 and at 65 mph 15:23 -- saving over an hour. My strategy, when the road was not crowded, was to look for someone going fast (80+) in the left lane and match their speed. Position was far enough back that they knew I wasn't trying to pass them.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21 2014, @11:02AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21 2014, @11:02AM (#83880)

        I notice that when I am doing a short journey I don't care and drive slowly. When I am doing a long journey, it makes a difference. The point is an extra minute on my day doesn't matter, and extra half hour does...

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by quacking duck on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:22PM

    by quacking duck (1395) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:22PM (#83562)

    How does the driver-less car handle roads and highways with one lane each direction, where the unwritten local custom (since there's lax or no enforcement) is to go, say, 80 km/h in a 60 km/h zone? Does it stick to 60 despite the long lineup of vehicles behind it, or start speeding up after enough cars cross the centre lane to pass it (far more dangerous than if everyone were speeding along at 80)?

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:06PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:06PM (#83630) Journal

      Does it stick to 60 despite the long lineup of vehicles behind it, or start speeding up after enough cars cross the centre lane to pass it
       
      I'm guessing it would follow the law in that situation. You are required to use the next turnout to allow faster vehicles to pass once there are 3 or more behind you.

      • (Score: 1) by Arik on Thursday August 21 2014, @02:07PM

        by Arik (4543) on Thursday August 21 2014, @02:07PM (#83939) Journal
        "You are required to use the next turnout to allow faster vehicles to pass once there are 3 or more behind you."

        I think this only applies to vehicles traveling significantly below the posted speed limit. Not to vehicles already traveling 10 miles over. At that point the people behind you really need to slow the fsck down, though I will grant I might pull aside just because I prefer to have the idiots out front where I can see them.
        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:22PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:22PM (#83564)

    Locally "or a special day of zero-tolerance enforcement" means your beater or SUV or whatever really isn't built to handle snow like a passenger car, so rather than argue about subjective "too fast for conditions" in court, its simpler for all involved to give you an objective factual 1 over or whatever. If you were 1 or more under you'd have gotten a "too fast for conditions" or "reckless" or something like that. Or if you appeared to be "reckless" but talked the cop down to a measured 1 over, this happens. So yeah I was in fact going 26 as you measured in a 25 zone in a 1 foot blizzard but these are arctic grade blah blah with DOT certified chains blah blah well I guess its not really reckless after all, but to save face you're gonna get that 1 over ticket.

    Also if you blow 0.0001 under the legal alcohol limit but 1 MPH over the speed limit and insist on arguing and fighting with the cop you will almost certainly get a 1 over instead of a DUI. Traditionally they also pull people who are going 1-over as an excuse when they want to discover weed or seatbelts or dui or just plain old DWB and they get pissed if they can't bust you for the "real" thing so they hand out the 1-over as compensation.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:16PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:16PM (#83635) Journal

      No cop will issue you a ticket for 1 over. The radars aren't that accurate anyway, and neither is your speedometer, and neither is his, and the fine is based on the degree to which you exceed the posted limit.
      They aren't dragging you in for 1 over.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by TK on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:26PM

    by TK (2760) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:26PM (#83566)

    Adherence to the speed limit really varies from place to place, but I can tell you right now that these cars will have to stick to the right in the Chicago area.

    Posted highway speed limits are 55mph. The two left lanes are typically going 70-75, with straight portions typically seeing ~80.

    If the majority of cars on the road become autonomous, I really hope every highway speed limit gets upped significantly, or just removed entirely. If cars are networked with each other to share data about unsafe road conditions, they can change lanes or slow down gradually before they reach those conditions, preventing traffic jams and keeping things smooth.

    --
    The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:50PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:50PM (#83599)

      If enough are autonomous, it's actually quite possible as the reason for speed limits being set to their current value seems to be aimed more at revenue collection than safety in many cases.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:23PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:23PM (#83636) Journal

        Actually, revenue might be the reason in small towns, but most of the time its because the locals bitch at highway traffic roaring through their town at highway speeds.

        Nowhere on the US Routs or Interstates are speeds set to collect revenue. They are based on engineering data and adjusted for accident rates.

        County roads through Barney Fife's territory might be different, but no professional highway engineering department is going to set speeds based on revenue needs.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:44PM

    by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:44PM (#83574)

    I actually have heard this for a long time from defensive driving courses. You should drive the speed of traffic within reason to the posted speed limit. Obviously if there are cars doing 150 km/h in an 80 km/h zone you shouldn't be trying to keep up, but if traffic is moving around 90 km/h then you should be moving along with it, otherwise you're a rock in the middle of a river and traffic is going to do whatever it can to flow around you.

    Who really hasn't been driving somewhere and run into the "granny" that's just put-putting along and there's no way to pass her. It's incredibly frustrating. I have this problem yearly with RVs traveling on a stretch of highway I frequent when my wife and I are visiting her parents. 2-3 hour drive, no passing lanes for 30-60 minuets at a time, screaming 2 year old in the back, speed limit is 110 km/h, RVs driving 80 km/h. There is a secondary highway (mostly back roads) with a limit of 80 km/h, if you're going to drive that speed anyway get out of the 110 km/h zone and see some of the scenery.

    It won't be an issue for a driverless car, but for a human driver in a hurry that could very easily become a situation where things go horribly wrong. Slow people aren't to blame of course, they should be driving at whatever speed they feel comfortable and confident with, but this is one of the major arguments for driverless cars. Even if the person trying to get around them is angry that they're running late, or still have a 3 hour drive that's looking more like 5 hours, with a screaming kid in the back the worst they can do is scream their heads off at the slower driver, or the kid, rather than whip out and speed up into on coming traffic (I've seen it happen, and it didn't end well for anyone on the highway that day). Also with a driverless car Granny isn't going to be driving super slow, her car will be going the same speed as everyone else.

    So there you have it, Grannies are driving faster and the speed daemons are slowing down. As an added bonus that you can actually pay attention to the 2 year old in the back and actually do something about whatever they're screaming about rather than just listen to it for 3+ hours or have to pull over every 15 minutes because they dropped their sippy cup or stuffy on the floor... Or you could just read a paper/book or watch a movie instead of staring at the back end of a giant RV.

    --
    "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by drussell on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:05PM

      by drussell (2678) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @04:05PM (#83584) Journal

      I actually have heard this for a long time from defensive driving courses. You should drive the speed of traffic within reason to the posted speed limit. Obviously if there are cars doing 150 km/h in an 80 km/h zone you shouldn't be trying to keep up, but if traffic is moving around 90 km/h then you should be moving along with it, otherwise you're a rock in the middle of a river and traffic is going to do whatever it can to flow around you.

      Precisely. Way back in driver's education (20+ years ago) I was taught that you "drive with the flow of traffic" even if it is slightly above the posted limit. This still holds today as being correct and seems to be exactly what Google has programmed the cars to do.

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday August 20 2014, @09:07PM

        by Tork (3914) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @09:07PM (#83700)
        "Way back in driver's education (20+ years ago) I was taught that you "drive with the flow of traffic" even if it is slightly above the posted limit. This still holds today as being correct..."

        I wish cyclists were aware of this.
        --
        Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:06PM (#83607)

      Ahh man. I've BEEN that RV. Here's the thing: many RVs/travel trailers/trailers in general have a maximum safe speed. Most of the suckers aren't very aerodynamic, many are quite old, and nearly all of them are attached loosely to a small balljoint that doesn't inspire confidence. Also bear in mind that despite electronic brakes (you brake, it causes the trailer to brake also) if you DO have to slam on the brakes you have an additional 2-4 tons pushing you onward. It is simply unsafe to drive above a certain limit regardless of the posted limit. If I'm pulling an RV, I WILL NOT GO FASTER THAN 60. Period. So yes, I try to plan that out in my routes, but very often I'll accumulate a tail of local frustrated traffic and I can only pull over to allow traffic to pass, relieving some congestion temporarily. I get a lot of middle finger solutes as they floor the gas and swerve around me as I'm still pulling off onto a shoulder or driveway. I've even seen a truck lose control and nearly wreck doing so.

      Honestly, It's an awful lot of energy expended over getting from A to B a few minutes faster. That's the other thing, if I'm pulling an RV, I'm on vacation fuckers! HAHAHA!

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:47PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 20 2014, @06:47PM (#83650) Journal

        Not only that, but many states impose a lesser speed on these big rigs.

        As for the kid in the back seat screaming, why not pull over and take care of that issue instead of getting all road-rage (which kids sense). Going faster isn't going to make the kid's diapers change themselves.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday August 20 2014, @09:18PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @09:18PM (#83701)

          Kids cry for all variety of reasons the easiest of which to diagnose is a dirty diaper. You obviously don't have them if you think pulling over every 15 minutes on a 3 hour drive is an acceptable policy. If you did you'd know that'd easily turn a 3 hour drive into 6 - 8 hours. If you think listening to a screaming kid for 3 hours causes road-rage, Oh Boy! Do it for 6 hours AND having to pull over every 15 min.

          That's really beside the point anyway, the kid was just one example of some of the things that could be going on that could warrant a person being in a rush, and not so much a rush as just wanting the trip to take extra long.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
          • (Score: 2) by zsau on Thursday August 21 2014, @11:41PM

            by zsau (2642) on Thursday August 21 2014, @11:41PM (#84146)

            If you can't safely drive with kids in the car, maybe you shouldn't be driving with kids in the car.

  • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:57PM

    by Geezer (511) on Wednesday August 20 2014, @03:57PM (#83581)

    It's not unreasonable to build a best-practice into the system. "Go with the flow" is a good driving tactic, with exceptions that surely can be parameterized into the system as well. Despite the hysterical summary title, the guys doing this are actually just applying real-world functionality, not building an autonomous street dragster.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @05:53PM (#83625)
    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday August 21 2014, @12:08AM

      by HiThere (866) on Thursday August 21 2014, @12:08AM (#83760) Journal

      In California there's a thing called the "General Speed Limit" which says that you must travel at a safe speed. If by driving to slow, you are creating a traffic hazard, then you are required to drive faster, and conversely. I believe that the speed limit signs are seen as essentially advisory of what the local safe speed is deemed to be, though I'd need to reread the driving manual to be sure of that. But in adverse weather the speed is set by the general speed limit, and you can't rely on the posted speed as a defense. (Fog is an interesting case. One could reasonably argue that there *IS* no safe speed, but people drive anyway, many as if the visibility were clear, which is *why* there is no safe speed.)

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.