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Criminal Charges Against Speed Trap Tweeter 253

Posted by Soulskill
from the flashing-your-lights-is-now-passe dept.
martinlp writes "A Twitter account named Pigspotter is making big news in South Africa. The traffic authorities in Johannesburg are taking legal action against Pigspotter, an individual who is tweeting up-to-the-minute information about speed traps in and around the city. He has recently stopped, stating that his Blackberry is going in for repairs, but it may be out of fear of getting prosecuted. The police claim he must be getting inside information and suspect that disgruntled traffic officers may be involved. There is also speculation that it is more than one individual that is tweeting."
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Criminal Charges Against Speed Trap Tweeter

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @02:22AM (#33625194) Homepage Journal

    Police here in Victoria, Australia actively encourage the publication of speed camera locations, which are not particularly precise. So radio stations can report that there is a speed camera on $HIGHWAY without saying exactly where it is and drivers slow down all along that route.

    Now if you tell the public exactly where the speed camera is (1km past $CROSSROAD) then the camera could be moved by the time you get there, or you might get the location wrong, or forget by the time you get there. So giving out the precise location might not save the drivers from a ticket and again they just have to slow down and keep a look out.

    What the police might not like is a distributed iphone or android app which broadcasts their location in real time and presents it on a map showing your location. You could have "Police Camera" button on the screen and press it after you go past. But the information is going to get stale fast and police could game the system with cheap decoy speed traps.

    • by Moryath (553296) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @02:39AM (#33625282)

      It's not about safety. It's about money. Speed traps are designed to trick people into a spot where revenue generation occurs.

      There's a spot I know of ~100 miles north of me where a highway marked at 65 off-ramps onto another highway marked at 60. The change in speed isn't marked at the top of the ramp, however, but 3 miles down the road instead. Local sheriffs LOVE to sit at the top of the hill and watch for people doing 65-70, who don't know about the speed change, and then cite them tickets.

      Likewise, my city has a bunch of redlight cameras. And non-coincidentally, right after installing them, someone noticed they could issue a lot more fines if they shortened the yellow light time, despite every available study showing that safety is improved with longer yellow times. They are now getting sued and it's going up to the state supreme court because they shortened the things to .25 seconds below the state required timing in order to beef up ticket revenue, AND they made them "civil fines" rather than actual ticket infractions to try to get around a state law prohibiting cities from getting more than a certain percentage of their funding from traffic fines (a law, ironically enough, passed because of certain little shit-pot one-stoplight towns that were running traffic scams left and right and getting 80-90% of their revenue from issuing insane tickets to out-of-towners).

      Of course, the major problem here is that police - pretty much all of them - are corrupt. They start them on traffic duty, set a ticket quota, tell them to issue tickets by hook or by crook. If they don't meet quota, they get their income screwed with, they don't get a chance at overtime hours, or they get lousy performance reviews. By the time they graduate from issuing traffic tickets any semblance of honor, integrity, or respect for the general population has long ago been trained out of them in favor of the "fuck it, ticket them, cuff them, they're all guilty of something anyways" attitude.

      Show me an honest cop today, and I'll show you a flying pig doing cartwheels next to a unicorn.

      • by Yetihehe (971185) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:15AM (#33625394)

        Show me an honest cop today, and I'll show you a flying pig doing cartwheels next to a unicorn.

        This is just a visibility bias. Do you remember the last 10 officers who didn't give you a ticket? But you do remember those who did. There are many honest cops, but they are doing their job and not screwing with citizens so the citizens don't even notice them.

        • by Moryath (553296) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:27AM (#33625444)

          When there's a freeway underpass the city over from mine where they sit on quota day (and it's pretty fucking obvious it's quota day, no time else do you have 10 pigs parked in the underpass breakdown lane waiting in one spot) trading turns on who gets to pull the next guy over on the radar-gun spotter's call until they have all made quota, in a zone where they pull a speed limit 45-25-45-25-45 trick?

          The locals all know - unless they forget or are brand new teen drivers - to do no more than 30 through that entire zone, because if you get up to 45, there's no way you can hit the brakes and get down to 25 in that distance without locking your brakes and risking a skid.

          It also helps that the locals all have "flood zone" stickers on their cars that serve the "spoken" purpose of allowing them to be in the area during voluntary-evacuation times, but also let the local corrupt pigs know EXACTLY who's from out-of-city for ticketing purposes. I've actually sat in traffic court and watched a city resident get his ticket dropped after a sidebar conversation with the judge about how it was a brand new car and his flood-zone ticket hadn't yet been issued to him.

          So I say no, they're ALL corrupt. No "visibility bias" about it.

          • sure, there is no such thing as a quota system. uhuh.

            and in fact, if you do a good job for the boss (and his boss) you get to keep yoru job.

            don't measure up? they have ways to give hints about your 'performance'.

            lets stop being children here and wise up: its a financial endeavor and we all pretty much know it.

            like much in life, there is a duality: the story as its official on paper and the actual reality out on the street. officially, there is no quota system. but are you that new to life that you reall

          • by insufflate10mg (1711356) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @11:29AM (#33627614)
            The reason they drop the speed limits is because there is an increased risk of accident/injury in that particular area. If you really have a problem with it, shoot me the street name so I can check out the Google Maps images of the area. I guarantee the speed limit variation is perfectly justified. Also, there is no such thing as quotas for speeding tickets.
        • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:40AM (#33625504) Homepage Journal

          But those "honest" cops KNOW some of their co-workers are not honest cops, they all know of cases where a colleague fudged an arrest report or claimed that a driver crossed the white line when they didn;t actually, because they had a hunch that the driver was not legitotherwise but had no probable cause to stop them, etc., etc., ALL cops know of these things happening from time to time, yet don't arrest them or report the cops to supervisors or testify on behalf of the other cops' victims.

          So there are no honest cops.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @09:48AM (#33626870) Journal

          >>>Do you remember the last 10 officers who didn't give you a ticket?

          Yes I do, because I was surprised they did not ticket me. (I speed a lot and in 99% of cases I deserve it.) You made a false assumption here. As for the grandparent post I agree that Speed Laws are about making money. Accidents are not caused by fast driving (500,000 miles and zero accidents for me).

          Accidents are caused by lane changes where one driver misjudged and hit another car. i.e. Zig-zagging i.e. recklessness. Nobody has ever proved that speeding, by itself, caused accidents. Look at the low rate of accidents in places like Montana where 85-90 mph is the norm. Speeding is not what causes accidents. Driver error/recklessness does.

          So basically reducing the speed limit, even as low as 35 on an interstate, will not magically end crashes.

          • by Yetihehe (971185)

            Nobody has ever proved that speeding, by itself, caused accidents.

            Yeah, and falling from heights is not fatal, only impact is. I had collision once and I can say one and only cause was me speeding. If I didn't go so fast, I would have enough time to break. Of course reducing current speed limits won't cause drop in accidents due to reckless driving or inattentive drivers.

            • >>>Yeah, and falling from heights is not fatal, only impact is.

              Nonsequitor. And does not prove that speeding, alone, causes accidents. As I mentioned I could drive through the empty plains of Montana at 90mph and never have an accident. Accidents are caused by changing lanes or zig-zagging through masses of other cars (aka driver error). That is what causes 99% of the wrecks in the US, not speed.

              Even if you made everyone drive at 10mph, there'd still be accidents because speed is not the cau

        • by russotto (537200)

          Do you remember the last 10 officers who didn't give you a ticket?

          Sure. 4 of them were giving other people tickets, one was eating a doughnut, and the other 5 were beating up a member of $ETHNIC for fun.

        • by DrugCheese (266151) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @12:20PM (#33627966)

          There are many honest cops, but they are doing their job and not screwing with citizens so the citizens don't even notice them.

          How come we never see them speak up when another cop is under indictment for brutality? You would think a criminal would be a criminal, but if they wear a badge then they're somehow exempt. Any cop who can stand by silently while another cop takes away basic human rights is just as guilty.

        • by sjames (1099) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @12:53PM (#33628244) Homepage

          Are they busy exposing the rampant lawlessness within their department? If not, they are at least partially corrupted into turning a blind eye to a problem that is slowly eating away the foundation of our society.

      • by bigsteve@dstc (140392) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:25AM (#33625430)
        Read this article: http://www.safemotorist.com/articles/traffic_ticket_quotas.aspx [safemotorist.com] Among other things, it says that traffic fine quotas are explicitly forbidden in most jurisdictions (USA). Of course, you may be in a jurisdiction that doesn't forbid quotas, or where the local police ignore the rules.

        My second point, is that individual police officers and the police force typically does not get any direct financial benefit for traffic fines. The collected fines generally goes into general government revenue. (In Australia, it is state or territory revenue.) So unless there is a quota system in place, the typically police have no particular incentive to act as revenue raisers.

        My third point is that while traffic fines do raise revenue, appropriate use of speed traps, red light cameras and so on does reduce traffic accidents.

        Finally, a long time ago (when speed cameras were new), I worked in the IT department of an Australian state police force. One of the systems that we ran for the police was a radar trap location planner. One of the inputs into that system was localized road accident statistics from the State's department of main roads.

        • by Moryath (553296) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:33AM (#33625466)

          Among other things, it says that traffic fine quotas are explicitly forbidden in most jurisdictions (USA).

          And who the fuck is ever going to catch them doing it? The police?

          No, they have "spoken but unwritten" quotas. All the law forbids is actually writing a quota down. It doesn't forbid the local government making a budget based on an expected yearly dollar-amount in fines, and then holding the police department responsible for either making quota or having their budget cut. Nor does it forbid them from writing the cops up for "insufficient zeal in traffic enforcement" (actual words they use on the reviews) for failing to meet the unwritten quota.

          Again, I ask - who's going to report them or enforce it. The police? Yeah right - protest a quota policy and watch how fast no police department will ever hire you again, because you don't play ball with the corrupt policies. Anyone honest enough to not write fraudulent tickets is never going to move up the ladder, only the dirty ones ever get promoted.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bigsteve@dstc (140392)
            Provide me the evidence. Just because you and a bunch of other people believe it is true, doesn't make it true. If it was really happening to any great extent, there would be evidence. Someone, somewhere would be blowing the whistle. (And I don't believe that all cops are corrupt, any more than I believe that all Americans are god fearing.)
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-05-04/news/the-nypd-tapes-inside-bed-stuy-s-81st-precinct/

              http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/414/right-to-remain-silent

              Just because you and a bunch of other people deny it, doesn't mean it can't happen easily.

            • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @09:52AM (#33626892) Journal

              "The police claim he must be getting inside information and suspect that disgruntled traffic officers may be involved."

              Cops know the real score, but they want to keep their job just the same as you & I do. Example: I witnessed my boss taking a government-paid "business trip" but really a Vacation every single week - but I kept my mouth shut because I needed a job.

              If you search around youtube you'll find a few videos from former cops discussing all the corruption they have witnessed, not just in speeding revenue generation but also in general, like entering homes without permission.

            • if it walks like a duck, .... its a duck.

              dont piss in my cheerios and tell me its milk. we're not that dumb.

              of course there are quotas. don't be naive.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jawnn (445279)
          Personal friend, a cop, shared with me that while his "employer" did not have a quota on traffic citations, it was "expected" that each officer would write at least a certain number per month, lest he receive a poor review for not doing his job. "So," says I, "any given infraction you witness may, or may not, result in a traffic stop and citation, depending on what your numbers are for that month?" "Pretty much", says he.
          Sounds like a quota to me.
          As for the efficacy of red light cameras, please cite you
      • by CarpetShark (865376) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:25AM (#33625440)

        Show me an honest cop today, and I'll show you a flying pig doing cartwheels next to a unicorn.

        I was going to show you an honest cop, but I've nothing to gain from it, since he already happens to be flying and doing cartwheels next to a unicorn.

      • The little town I used to live in did this.

        There was an expressway that passed through a rural spot of the town. It was in a cut down grade, all local town roads that came near it (very few) passed over it on bridges. So there were NO traffic or safety issues for the town as a result. The town was totally unaffected by this stretch of highway, it was down in a gulch between farm fields, fenced off and inaccessible - essentially a complete other world from the town.

        The town used to station cop cars (the town

        • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @04:00AM (#33625576) Homepage Journal

          I'll just add, before someone accuses me of a sort of bias, saying I'm just a leadfoot who wants to speed without consqeuence... BZZZT, wrong!

          I don't drive. I never drive. I have never driven nor owned a car.

          The reason? I am disabled and can't.

          Why am I disabled? Because when I was a teenager crossing the street as a pedestrian I was struck by a speeding pickup truck driver.

          So I think I can reasonably claim that I have no particular bias in favor of traffic scofflaws.

          • by hldn (1085833)

            i've seen people without arms drive cars. i'm sure you could drive if you wanted to.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              +1 for Cold Hearted Snake.

              You clearly didn't understand the man's point (he's biased in favor of *stricter* traffic law) but were too busy trying to prove him wrong to pay attention.

        • Traffic court was on Thursday night. Every Thursday nights would show our tiny town hall (a historic converted 19th century one-room schoolhouse) with a line of people winding around several times outside. Processed quickly, cha-ching.

          Unless you were a country singer, in that case you had to spend an evening singing at the Boar's Nest.

        • by Jawnn (445279)
          It probably isn't, but that sounds exactly like Selma, TX, back in the days before the town hall became a Hooters [wikimapia.org]. Selma regularly made the annual "Top Ten Worst Speed Traps" list in one of those gearhead magazines (Car and Driver?), and for good reason. Though the town has grown up a lot since then, with much more revenue coming from a horse racing track, strip malls, and the aforementioned dry-hustle restaurant chain, the local LEO's still beat up on unaware drivers coming down that hill into town on I-35
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dangitman (862676)

        It's not about safety. It's about money

        So, if it's about money, then just drive at the speed limit and screw them out of the money. If everybody did this, then the cameras would disappear because revenue would dry up (assuming it is about money).

        • by Moryath (553296)

          If only it were that easy.

          The point of "speed traps" is that you can be going the speed limit one moment, and they set up a situation where you can't POSSIBLY - at least not without risking a serious wreck - slow down to the new limit in time, or else you're on a road switch and the new limit is posted "down the road."

          Likewise with the yellow-light timing; they shorten it enough, and even people who couldn't possibly stop (at least, again, not without risking someone running into them from behind) get caugh

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by GeigerBC (1056332)
            Why don't you call up your local jurisdiction and tell them of your findings? The yellow interval has to be at least 3 seconds long.
          • by loshwomp (468955)

            The point of "speed traps" is that you can be going the speed limit one moment, and they set up a situation where you can't POSSIBLY - at least not without risking a serious wreck - slow down to the new limit in time, or else you're on a road switch and the new limit is posted "down the road."

            I ran out of mod points before I could mod this funny. So that's "the point of speed traps", huh?

            I've measured yellow times as short as 1.75 seconds in my area on a 40mph road.

            So why didn't you report them? Yellow light timing is a complicated subject, but there is generally no excuse for durations under 3.0 seconds.

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          Then they will just lower the speed limits.

        • >>>then just drive at the speed limit and screw them out of the money.

          So instead of a 6 hour trip from DC to my weekend home, I'd have an 8 hour trip. Your solution is a poor solution for those who have to travel a distance. Besides interstates are ALL designed for 120 mph travel per Congressional law, other than a few close=in spurs (like I-495). It is illogical to badge a high-speed road at only half its designed speed.

          Speed limits on US interstates should be the same as they are on Germany's

          • by loshwomp (468955)

            Besides interstates are ALL designed for 120 mph travel per Congressional law, other than a few close=in spurs (like I-495).

            I'm going to need a citation on that. There may be parts of the system that would be safe at that speed, but those would be exceptional.

            It is illogical to badge a high-speed road at only half its designed speed.

            So why don't you petition to get that changed, instead of breaking the law and then whining when you get caught? It sounds like most of society actually likes having speed limits.

            Speed limits on US interstates should be the same as they are on Germany's autobahn, which is what Eisenhower was copying when he brought the idea back home.

            You cannot possibly have driven on the modern autobahn if you are seriously making that claim. The US interstate highways are lame by comparison, in terms of road surface quality, lane marking,

      • No speed limits

        Safety: Dangerous drivers will eventually kill themselves off. Let natural selection follow its course. There will be collateral damage at the start, but things will eventually get better.

        Money: The state gets dead at-fault drivers' estate. No camera costs, minimal enforcement expense.

        Freedom: Everyone gets to go at the speed they're comfortable with.
        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          Freedom: Everyone gets to go at the speed they're comfortable with.

          That's a bad thing. Too many idiots holding the rest of us up. There should be laws that require slow vehicles to pull over and let the rest of us pass.

          • There are. Many states have "left lane for passing only" and I've seen cops ticket drivers that disobey.
            • by Dan541 (1032000)

              In Australia you're only supposed to use the right lanes (we drive on the left) of the freeway for overtaking. But I always stay in the left lanes because they are the fastest.

              This is the opposite of how your supposed to legally drive but people have an obsession with getting into the right lane, being oblivious to everything around them and then exit across all 4 lanes of traffic because they are to comatose to read the exit signs.

              When driving in the United Kingdom I was surprised to see that other people

      • by khchung (462899)

        The stupidity is letting the police Dept pcket the fines. Instead, like some other sane places, all fines should go to the country/state/city budget, mixed up with all other taxes. This remove all incentives for police to create speed traps in the first place and focus on reducing traffic accidents instead.

      • by caluml (551744)

        There's a spot I know of ~100 miles north of me where a highway marked at 65 off-ramps onto another highway marked at 60. The change in speed isn't marked at the top of the ramp, however, but 3 miles down the road instead. Local sheriffs LOVE to sit at the top of the hill and watch for people doing 65-70, who don't know about the speed change, and then cite them tickets.

        So you appeal, go to court, and get it overturned?

      • "It's not about safety. It's about money. Speed traps are designed to trick people into a spot where revenue generation occurs."

        Maybe where you live but the OP is correct, police in Victoria engourage the publication of speed trap and red light camera locations because their aim is to cut the road toll. Reducing the road toll in our state from 1500+/yr in the late 60's, early 70's, down to the current 3-400 has saved far more revenue than the state could ever make from traffic tickets** (not to mention d
      • In the US, mandating that all traffic citation monies go to the state's general fund would go a long way towards eliminating most of the bullshit speed traps. Given the general scarcity of resources, it would be impossible to justify speed traps as a good use of law enforcement and we'd probably see little of it.

        There may actually be some speed enforcement that makes sense (ie, design flaws in some places along some roads where there have been high accident rates) and possibly places where citizens might d

    • Moving the camera ? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thrill12 (711899)
      I think you are overstating the ease with which a camera may be moved. A speed camera has to be aligned exactly (angle/height/equipment etc) to measure the correct and valid speed of a passing vehicle. You cannot simply move it within a few minutes lest your measurements are out of bounds and any ticket you write is invalid - for people that have the energy to fight it before court, that is. I know that is the situation here in The Netherlands at least.
      Actually, announcing speed traps is sometimes done by
      • by dangitman (862676)

        I think you are overstating the ease with which a camera may be moved. A speed camera has to be aligned exactly (angle/height/equipment etc) to measure the correct and valid speed of a passing vehicle. You cannot simply move it within a few minutes

        Sure you can - they have car-mounted units and hand-held units. The car-mounted ones can even snap you while the police car is traveling at high speed in the opposite direction. It's not like accurate speed detection is difficult.

    • Doesn't matter what the cops like. In a "free" country, any information that is not classified "secret" or "confidential" for security reasons can be freely discussed. If the cops can shut you up, then it's not a "free" country. It hardly matters whether I tell verbally, or by radio, or by tweeting where the cops are. It's my RIGHT to discuss whatever I may see or hear.
    • by lattyware (934246)
      In the UK, they have to tell us where they are, put up signs warning us there are speed cameras (or that the police set up speed traps) along that road, and paint the speed cameras bright orange. The idea is that the speed cameras cause people to slow down, not catch people going fast.
      The problem was that speed cameras are simply raking in too much profit, so they were seen as being there for the wrong reasons, now they have changed it, and local councils don't get funding for speed cameras and stuff. Now
  • ...Has been revoked.

  • by clinko (232501)

    @Pigspotter Behind You.

  • Keeping us Safe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lewko (195646) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @02:27AM (#33625224) Homepage

    South Africa has the highest homicide rate in the world.

    It's good to know that the police are concentrating on fast driving.

    No doubt an increasingly broke and hopeless government has learned how to make more money. Err... I mean, save lives.

  • Free Speech? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DamienRBlack (1165691) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @02:30AM (#33625244)

    Freedom of Speech, you either have it or you don't... Although, I suppose this particular case is a little sticky. Do you think that when people are actively trying to avoid law enforcement, their speech is still protected? I side with the idea that it should still be protected. If someone posts a list labeled "100 best places to drop dead bodies off where they'll never be found", I don't think they've done anything wrong. At least not by posting the list, their research methods may be in question.

    I suppose if it turns out that the tweeter is in fact a cop then they have all the right to fire him as I'm sure it is a breech of contract. But otherwise he/she should have the right. Johannesburg just needs to find better methods and stop their internal leaks, don't take it out on the messenger. Of course, I don't know what the actual laws of Johannesburg are, I'm just considering what they should be.

    • >>>I suppose this particular case is a little sticky.

      Not really. I find it funny that a woman has more rights to kill a human fetus, than we do to flap our OWN mouths and share ideas with other people. It's bass-backwards when killing is easier than speaking/emailing. The governments around the world are effectively applying muzzles to our mouths, and then spreading "The Big Lie" that you're free even though you're not. What a great way for the Lords to impose both population control AND silenc

  • Racism? For real? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2010 @02:36AM (#33625264)

    On aspect of TFA struck me as awfully peculiar:

    One thing is for certain, though: PigSpotter has deeply offended senior members of the JMPD. Some openly accused him of racism yesterday.

    "This guy's use of words such as 'pigs' and 'bacon rashers' is alarming because you find that most of these officers are black and he is white. Why is nobody talking about this?" a police source said yesterday.

    Is this a South Africanism, the notion of 'pig' being a racial epithet? As an American, 'pig' is a not at all uncommon term for the police; less polite perhaps than 'po-po' or 'Five Oh', but certainly nothing racial. Or is this merely a vague attempt to villify the guy, since the police know they're not exactly going to get the citizenry rallying behind them on this?

    • Re:Racism? For real? (Score:5, Informative)

      by inasity_rules (1110095) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:17AM (#33625400) Journal

      Dude, its Africa. I've lived in Africa all my life, and people crying "racism" is very normal here. Its just another way of saying, "We don't like what you're doing and the easiest way to get you to go away is to call you a racist and then everyone will hate you."

      It's all very childish. But that's African Politics for you. It is also sad that it distracts from the real racism that nobody ever notices...

    • Re:Racism? For real? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:22AM (#33625424)

      The ruling majority (ANC) are incapable of: (1) Handling any criticism (2) Arguing/debating in a rational manner
      Thanks to our recent history (apartheid) they are left with a large uneducated mass of people who remember only one thing (how bad "racism" is) and will believe what they are told without question. So anytime someone attempts to criticize or make a suggestion on how to do things in a sane way they are simply labeled as a racist and ignored. Due to the unquestioning stupidity of the masses this works every single time leaving little incentive for our utterly useless government to ever improve.

      "Racist" here is the equivalent of accusing someone of being a "pedophile" in America, except on sterioids.

    • Re:Racism? For real? (Score:5, Informative)

      by beuges (613130) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:35AM (#33625482) Homepage

      It is a South Africanism, in that everything here gets turned into a race issue whether it has anything to do with race or not. Despite the fall of apartheid and having a democratically elected government, the new 'leadership' still has a vested interest in creating the perception that whites are still out to get blacks - it's a nice diversion to distract their voters away from the government's corruption and hypocrisy. Everything the ANC seems to do these days creates the impression that they deliberately keep their own supporters beaten down in order to retain their support, blaming the supporters misfortune on racism and 'the legacy of apartheid'. I get the impression that we'll still be blaming apartheid in another 50 years time... that is assuming that the ANC doesn't finally give up all pretenses and just publicly turn the country into another Zimbabwe, rather than trying to do it behind the scenes.

      An unfortunate side-effect of the continuous cry of racism is that a (hopefully small and insignificant) number of the youth of today are growing up indoctrinated with the belief that everything is still a race issue. A key example of this is the leader of the ANC youth league, Julius Malema. While he's generally ridiculed universally for his stupid utterances and ridiculous beliefs, the sad reality is that he actually believes in what the rest of us consider to be drivel. And he is poised to rise into the leadership of the ANC and therefore the country within the next decade or two.

      Every time you read a report of something being connected to racism in South Africa, take it with a grain of salt. Yes, there is still a lot of racism going on, but it's the same sort that you experience anywhere else... nowhere near what we used to have. It's sad to see the ANC that fought so hard to end apartheid is now working so hard to ensure that it prevails.

  • I mean, it's kind of vague. They say he's suspected to be geting inside info, but I'm pretty sure you can't win a case on suspiscion alone.
    • by cappp (1822388)
      TFA says he's being charged with 3 seperate offences, namley:

      Criminal charges of defeating the ends of justice, crimen injuria and defamation

      . As far as I can tell two of the charges link to the name calling - defamation and crimen injuria.

      Crimen injuria is a crime under South African common law, defined to be the act of "unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another." Although difficult to precisely define, the crime is used in the prosecution of certain instances of road rage,

  • ffs is it so hard not to speed? unless you have a woman in labor in your vehicle what is your excuse really?
    • Speeding is a very human thing to do. It's natural for people to want to test their limits. If you've never driven any faster than X, you can never be confident about driving at X. Only when you know you can handle X+10, do you feel really able to handle X. It's human nature, and it should be catered for, not stamped out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by couchslug (175151)

        "It's human nature, and it should be catered for, not stamped out."

        It IS catered for, on race tracks. Not all human nature = good judgement.

    • Yes it is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @05:27AM (#33625836) Journal

      What you got to remember is that the world is filled with people with very small penisses who can only think of the world as them vs the state and everyone else.

      They think their car is a source of income for the state when even the simplest look at the figures will show that cars COST the state far more then they pay in road taxes and such things. This in itself is not a problem. Society needs roads and transport but if you start to base your political outlook on a basic misconception (road taxes meet the costs of road construction and maintenance) it all goes wrong. Because then you start thinking that public transport, school and medical facilities must be paid for by their users as well. And not by your traffic fines.

      Even if traffic fines were a serious source of income, as in not just meeting the costs of police but deliviring more! then who cares? What do I care for a tax for assholes. Don't be an asshole and you are not taxed.

      But as you see from the majority of reactions, a lot of people are assholes and come up with bizarre explanations of why they should be allowed to speed.

      It has been proven time and time again that if everybody drove the same speed, as indicated by people who are smarter then you, traffic would flow a lot more smoothly. The ultimate example was given a few years ago in a simulation with cars crossing each other on a busy level intersection with no trouble whatsoever.

      The problem with speeding is NOT wether you can or cannot handle it, but if everyone else on the same road can. Considering cars are the biggest killer out there, it seems clear that people can't.

      But don't worry, the police are all corrupt, you can drive 50 miles over the speed limit and when you kill someone you just shrug it off as an accident.

      Because nobody is reponsible for their own actions and should never face the consequences. Oh and if someone dares to slam their car door in front of your house, the swat team should be called out and a speedbump the height of everest installed to slow those demons down.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DavidTC (10147)

        Hey, moron, the cops may cost the government in general money, but that has fuck all to do with the fact it's a huge income source for the local police department.

        And if you haven't noticed, people are bitching about speedtraps, which are the exact opposite of 'everybody drove the same speed'. They are, in fact, 'everyone dangerously drives at different speeds semi-randomly as some people know about the speed limit change, and some people don't, and the police don't want people to know about the change'.

      • by Dan667 (564390)
        A big problem is a lot of people think the world can work in some type of utopian harmony. The sooner they understand it can't the better.

        On the other hand, making money under the guise of public safety is both wrong and dangerous. You have the right to face your accuser. Ever wonder why in the US you don't get a criminal charge for a ticket? The ticket is trivial to fight for ones in the US and the more people that fight them make these cameras unprofitable. They have also been uninstalled becaus
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It has been proven time and time again that if everybody drove the same speed, as indicated by people who are smarter then you, traffic would flow a lot more smoothly

        You do realize the posted speed limit is lower than the speed recommended by people who are smarter than [i]you[/i], right? (Do you automatically assume that we're all dimwitted?)

        Ignore the above point, really, I don't care about surface streets. On most surface streets, I stick to the posted speed limits anyway. However, state speed limits (IE max of 65 in california) has [i]nothing[/i] to do with road conditions. Do you even know why they put that speed limit, or are you just being a righteous prick

  • by penguinchris (1020961) <penguinchris@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:30AM (#33625454) Homepage

    When I was a kid I remember one of my parents telling me about people flashing their lights on the highway (I-90 thruway in NY) to warn of upcoming hidden police cars, I guess because I noticed someone doing it and asked why. Since that day, though, I don't think I've ever seen anyone do it again, and I've done a lot of highway driving (for my age anyway - driven across the US about five times, and lots of driving in between and at either end). I decided to do it once when I spotted a police car on the opposite side, but I think the people going the same way I was thought I was signaling them instead or indicating that I had a problem or something. Hard to tell since it doesn't seem to be a universal speed trap signal anymore.

    Is it regional? Are there still places where this signal is common knowledge? I ask because the slashdot department line mentions this, and I haven't heard of it since I was a kid, as I said.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most people in Australia tend to flash if/when they see a cop for several km either side...

    • I do it, but I think I've only seen others do it a couple times. I'm not sure the people going the other way even understand what I'm "saying" to them.

      In Missouri, so it's (sort of) known in the Midwest.

    • by Vegeta99 (219501) <rjlynn@gmai l . com> on Sunday September 19, 2010 @04:03AM (#33625586)

      I think most have given up. There was a recent case in PA where the judiciary made it specifically legal to do in the daylight, but at night, you can be cited for wrongful use of high beams.

      I still do it, but nobody else does. When I was a kid, everyone still did it, but by the time I got my license, nobody did (I'm 24).

      • by Vegeta99 (219501)

        I clarify: As far as I know, nobody has taken a ticket for illegal high beams far enough for a court to form an opinion on it. But the PA Supreme Court seems to be pretty liberal, a young guy just fought a ticket on the tint law. The law states you must not have tint that prevents someone from seeing inside, but regulation stated 70% translucency - the cops get out the meter, and if you're below that, you got a ticket. The cop could read 8pt font on the NY Times in the front seat, so the Supreme Court let i

    • by Inda (580031)
      Thumbs-down in the UK; just by the wing mirror. Flashing lights can mean so much, or so little.
    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      I do this, but not on the highway. Most (big) highways in the US are divided and the median is quite wide; I don't think a driver going the other way would notice.

      I DO do this on local streets though, all the time. When people are getting pulled over for doing 30 in a 35 that should really be a 45, that pisses me off. Quick flash o' the brights to let em know what's ahead.

    • by DavidTC (10147)

      I still do it.

      Incidentally, whenever this has shown up in court, usually under bogus charges about having 'flashing lights' on your car (Which are referring to possessing lights that flash, not flashing a normal light.), the courts have almost always come down on the side of free speech, especially if the police tried to assert something like 'interfering with the police'. The courts have said that you simply cannot make it illegal to say 'police ahead', period. (They actually tried to do the same thing wi

      • by russotto (537200)

        Incidentally, apparently, in Massachusetts, they're pulling people over, asking them menacing if they flashed on purpose, and when the person says 'No', they cite for defective headlights. Don't fall for it. Explain that you flashed your headlights on purpose, to ask oncoming drivers to not speed. Remember, people, first amendment.

        No, in the US, remember the FIFTH amendment. If the cops ask you if you flashed, flashed on purpose, how fast you were going, what color the light was, or anything but basic iden

        • by DavidTC (10147)

          Nuh-uh.

          If you fail to say that you did something on purpose, the police officer has grounds to write you a ticket on the premise that your equipment is defective, which means you have to show up in court.

          Now, at that point, you can explain that you flashed on purpose, and the charges will be dismissed, but you'll still end up in court.

          If you intend to communicate with another driver on the road with your actions, and your actions are not illegal (And turning on your headlights during the day is not illeg

    • growing up on the east coast of the US (northeast) seeing the flash of headlights to give us a heads-up was common practice 20 or more years ago.

      then there were rumors of cops pulling you over if they caught you for 'obstruction of justice'.

      cops can still get away with anything they want. they carry deadly force and can ruin you life so completely with so little effort. they are a force to be feared, to be sure.

      when I see a blatant speed trap out in cali, now, I do flash my headlights but the calif cops a

  • yet in some areas you can do 65 in a 55 and you don't get a ticket and the cop just passes you by. Same thing with 70 in a 65.

  • Or should it be Pigspartacus?

    TSG

  • Here in Brazil all speed traps must have warning sign placed 300 meters before it, otherwise any fine is illegal. The speed traps also cannot be positioned facing the traffic, ie., it can only measure your speed after you went past it. Hiding the police car is illegal and officers must keep the lights over their cars turned on while doing a speed trap operation (but this is difficult to dispute unless you actually notice and record it somehow).

    Overall, you need to not be paying attention at all to get a fin

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