Yes, it's true. North Carolinians speed. And don't care.

The N&O has done a marvelous piece of investigative journalism recently on the plethora of drivers who speed, are ticketed repeatedly, but walk from any charges or points due to some gaping loopholes in the traffic laws. In the interest of full disclosure, I've been the beneficiary of such laws a couple of times when I got a ticket in the past.

Back to the article, one thing they asked some readers to do is drive the speed limit on their daily commute,count how many cars passed them, and report on their experiences. I decided to participate unofficially and see if all the hype was real.

It is.

I drive approximately 12 miles to work, I'd estimate 8 of that is via Interstate Highway. On the highway portion of my commute today, I got passed 12 times while going 65 mph in the right-hand lane of a 4 lane highway. Blew my mind. I thought maybe 4-5. It does seem many drivers are making a conscious effort to slow down, but still.

Now, I've always been a 'be a part of the solution' person, so here's my idea:

One of the chief reasons given for not having tougher laws and stiffer penalties is lack of capacity in the court system to handle all the offenders. I propose the following:

Empower the State Highway Patrol to act as a 'judge' right there on the highway at the time of offense and collect the fine.

Whine and protest if you want, but speeding isn't something that requires a CSI team investigation, to keep it real. You did or you didn't. If they can get a court date and print your ticket from the patrol car via computer today, how hard would it be to allow a driver to enter a plea and pay their fine right there and get it over with? No one in their right mind wants to participate in the traffic court cattle call half the day, guilty or innocent. How to pay? Have the option of swiping your credit/debit card right there or paying cash. (The technology is there; Hertz does this when you return a car.) If you don't have either, you get a bill in the mail due in 30 days to pay via mail or pay online. What happens if you request a court date anyway? Employ what they did in Illinois when I lived there: you must surrender your license and you don't get it back until your court date. Your fine and points should be higher if you are convicted going this route also.

What do you think? No I'm not a goody-two shoes who wants to cramp someone's style. I LOVE to drive and I love sports cars. This is a matter of safety and the best use of our tax dollars.
Let me hear from you and what you think about solving this problem.