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Transportation

Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH 666 666

New submitter The Grim Reefer sends this quote from CNN: "[Ed] Bolian set out on a serious mission to beat the record for driving from New York to Los Angeles. The mark? Alex Roy and David Maher's cross-country record of 31 hours and 4 minutes, which they set in a modified BMW M5 in 2006. ... He went into preparation mode about 18 months ago and chose a Mercedes CL55 AMG with 115,000 miles for the journey. The Benz's gas tank was only 23 gallons, so he added two 22-gallon tanks in the trunk, upping his range to about 800 miles. ... To foil the police, he installed a switch to kill the rear lights and bought two laser jammers and three radar detectors. He commissioned a radar jammer, but it wasn't finished in time for the trek. There was also a police scanner, two GPS units and various chargers for smartphones and tablets -- not to mention snacks, iced coffee and a bedpan. ... The total time: 28 hours, 50 minutes and about 30 seconds. ... When they were moving, which, impressively, was all but 46 minutes of the trip, they were averaging around 100 mph. Their total average was 98 mph, and their top speed was 158 mph, according to an onboard tracking device."
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Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

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  • Insurance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dskoll (99328) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:14PM (#45303217) Homepage

    I wonder if his insurance company will be hiking his premiums? Sounds like a risk-taker...

  • Very Illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:16PM (#45303261)

    Why isn't this guy in jail?

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:18PM (#45303303) Homepage Journal

    Driving like a fool puts everyone on the road near him in danger. He should be sitting in jail, and lose his license.

  • by twocows (1216842) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:18PM (#45303307)
    This. Not only that, this is a clear case where he SHOULD be, if not arrested, at least fined heavily. This is clear cut reckless driving; speed limits are posted to keep the public safe. Stunts like this should not be pulled at the potential expense of other drivers on the road. We're all beholden to the same laws, whether you're trying to break a record or not.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:19PM (#45303337) Homepage Journal

    No, highway speed limits, at least federal interstates, have speed limits for the purpose of generating revenue.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@a[ ]com ['ol.' in gap]> on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:21PM (#45303369) Journal

    This guy ought to be ashamed of himself. IMHO he does not represent the character, integrity, or mission of Georgia Tech, it's students, alumni, faculty, staff, or administration.

    There are right ways and wrong ways to do things, and this most certainly was the wrong way.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:23PM (#45303397)

    Look, we all know everyone speeds. 5-10 MPH over the speed limit is socially acceptable and tacitly condoned (it's rare to get pulled over by the cops for that, unless they want to bust you for some unrelated reason). But this is entirely different – it seems to be a clear case of reckless driving. On most interstates, you can do 75 MPH no problem, and on the better ones, 85 MPH is reasonable during the daytime if there is no inclement weather. There are a few interstates where you can safely do 90-100 MPH, but these are not all that common, and even then, extreme caution is required. I don't see any possible way that someone could safely average nearly 100 MPH on a cross-country road trip. Safety comes by going with the flow of traffic, and this driver must have been blowing past the majority of other cars during most of his trip. It's amazing that he made it there in one piece.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:31PM (#45303551)

    If you've ever driven an older car, at speed, you'll understand why the speed limits were set where they are. Many feel very 'floaty' at 100 MPH, their brakes suck, and they weight too much. Cars now, even cheap ones, are much more capable of being controleled at those speeds. This still leaves the human factor, but on a highway it's minimized. They really should raise some speed limits.

  • by tgd (2822) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:33PM (#45303593)

    No, highway speed limits, at least federal interstates, have speed limits for the purpose of generating revenue.

    Reckless driving is a criminal offense, not something you're fined for. Speeding fines are there to provide some disincentive to doing stupid things prior to going to jail for it.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:33PM (#45303603) Homepage

    What do federal interstates have to do with anything? The 55 mph limits were proposed by Nixon as a way to conserve gas during the first big oil crisis. The actual speed limits, enforcement, and ticket revenue are all handled at the state level- for interstates and every other road.

  • by luckymutt (996573) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:34PM (#45303635)
    Except that he's already made a public confession and documented publicly as well. They may not be able to compel him to testify against himself, but everything he's publicly said and displayed is freely admissible.
  • Bust the jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:40PM (#45303739)

    Moving at those kinds of speeds, people don't have time to accurately judge merging time, lane changes, etc. You can be 1/4 mile away and be on someone traveling the speed limit before they've even finished changing lanes. Record or not "top-gun" dick moves belong on the race track, not public highways.

  • by SpaceManFlip (2720507) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:42PM (#45303763)
    Sounds to me like he "drove like a genius" instead of a fool, because he made it _literally_ from one end of our vast nation to the other at top speed without hurting himself or anyone else AND he didn't get caught while obviously breaking the law. Not exactly the kind of "fool" you hear of on those Dumb Crook News segments in the media
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:46PM (#45303837)
    Says all those people who are more influenced by emotion than reason. I'm happy to say that to the best of my knowledge, none of my views have changed based on serious harm to a loved one, even though, like most people, I have seen serious harm happen to more than a few loved ones.
  • by Mr Krinkle (112489) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:48PM (#45303881) Homepage

    Ermm, no. He had a "lead" spotter to get him out of the NE corridor of traffic hell, where construction can easily add 4-6 hours to your trip.

    Then he had a spotter in the car, and a co-driver that was also spotting/sleeping.
    As to the parent,
      There are definitely places out west, where with a proper car (and proper driver) a "safe and reasonable speed" could easily be well into the triple digits.
    Is that true in my lifted Jeep Wrangler? Nope. Is that true in a nice sports sedan with active suspension? yep.
    Was he breaking the law? Yeppers... Do I think he was pushing it? less than you'd think..
    Do I know people that have done similar/worse things on motorcycles? Yeppers...
    I've ridden on interstate trips and averaged 90-100 on the bike including quick fuel stops... and felt perfectly safe.

    So while he was "breaking the law" I doubt he was as wreckless as Sally the realtor hurtling along in her Infinity SUV on her cell phone, explaining stuff to clients, and looking up things on her laptop....

    I know I'm a lot more scared of the texting idiot than someone actively trying to drive...

  • by danbert8 (1024253) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:49PM (#45303887)

    Why don't I have mod points? ACs can reply all they want, but no one ever cites those studies that show lower speed limits are safer... Because they don't exist.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:54PM (#45303977)

    Speeding fines are there to provide some disincentive to doing stupid things prior to going to jail for it.

    Speeding fines are there to collect some money for municipalities.
    Otherwise they would be uniformly and much more strictly enforced. Currently they are enforced in a haphazard manner, often collected at locations where speedlimit rapidly changes.

    If speed limits were uniformly and strictly enforced (rather than an occasional tax on the driver), there would likely be enough outrage to repeal them.

  • by bitt3n (941736) on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:02PM (#45304091)

    This. Not only that, this is a clear case where he SHOULD be, if not arrested, at least fined heavily. This is clear cut reckless driving; speed limits are posted to keep the public safe. Stunts like this should not be pulled at the potential expense of other drivers on the road. We're all beholden to the same laws, whether you're trying to break a record or not.

    Unless he posts GPS data (maybe he did), how can he be arrested? Theoretically, he could have been traveling the speed limit through any given state that might want to arrest him.

  • Speed limits.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by David_Hart (1184661) on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:31PM (#45304503)

    Speed limits on interstates are set to road conditions and what is safe for the average, or below average, driver driving an average car based on a formula from 20 or more years ago and includes a formula to reduce gas consumption. While driver skills haven't changed all that much, cars have become much safer due to technology. In addition, you can drive safely at higher speeds in a car with race car engineering due to the added down-force, braking, less weight, etc. There is also a big difference between driving fast and driving dangerously, though most people equate one with the other.

    I'm willing to bet that the first image that most have in their mind when they read this is the guy weaving in and out of heavy traffic at high rates of speed and cutting everyone off. However, there is no way that he could achieve this speed with any amount of traffic on the road.

    The article says that they left NY at 9:55pm on a Saturday night. My guess is that the majority of their driving in urban areas (i.e. NY, etc.) was late at night and into the early morning hours, a time when the Interstates are largely empty. He spent Sunday morning crossing Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico etc. Net exactly major transportation hubs. He had a co-driver to switch off when they got tired and he had a pilot car running in front of him keeping eyes on the road conditions, traffic, etc.

    I'm not saying that I agree with what he did. It was illegal and relatively unsafe. But, in my opinion, it wasn't quite as reckless as people make it out to be. For my money, I prefer people who know how to drive and drive fast to people who drive drunk, while texting, while taking on the phone without a hands-free device, tailgate, switch lanes without looking or using a signal light, weave in and out of traffic, etc....

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:40PM (#45304647)

    I wish I had mod points. Great post. The most dangerous person on the road is the idiot sitting in the left lane going 10 under the speed limit yakking away on their cell phone. Pretty much anyone that does routinely go over 100MPH on the freeway isn't the danger. They know what's going on around them. It's the oblivious idiot that just rolls over a lane or two without checking anything around them because they're too busy talking and/or texting.

    Given that you know there are people going 10 under the speed limit in the left lane, isn't it disingenuous to claim that going 50mph faster than them is perfectly safe? Your stopping distance at 100mph is about 4 times greater than at 50mph. And since, as you say, drivers are not always paying the best attention to their driving, you're also at risk from the driver that does a quick check out his mirror before a lane change but doesn't see you because he's not expecting someone to be driving twice his speed.

    I'm usually the guy going between 80 and 100 on the freeway. Guess how many accidents I've been involved in in the last 20 years? One. Chick deliberately cut me off in traffic and slammed on the brakes. Nothing I could do. She was talking on her phone and didn't look over her shoulder before cutting me off.

    If she was on the phone and didn't look, why do you think she did it deliberately? Sounds more like it was unintentionally, perhaps even negligently. Maybe you were going much faster than prevailing speed.

    So, the person going fast isn't the real danger. It's the morons who have no clue what they're doing or what's going on around them.

    If you just moved here from a different country and didn't realize that those morons were out there, that might be a valid argument, but to claim that you can drive faster than everyone else is not a fair argument since you *do* know what behaviors to expect.

  • by clarkn0va (807617) <apt.get@gmaiPARISl.com minus city> on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:31PM (#45305435) Homepage
    Not so, because then people would actually slow down, and the municipality's return on investment would plummet. The present lottery system allows people to speed and get away with it often enough that the occasional ticket isn't going to be any real deterrent for some--just enough, incidentally to provide low hanging fruit for minimal-effort enforcement.
  • by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:43PM (#45305609)

    o while he was "breaking the law" I doubt he was as wreckless as Sally the realtor hurtling along in her Infinity SUV on her cell phone, explaining stuff to clients, and looking up things on her laptop....

    Driving 100 to 150mp while anywhere within sight of Sally the oblivious realtor is itself reckless. Think about it, she's not paying attention, likely to change langes without looking, and even if she does look you are coming so fast that unless she's paying real attention (and she isn't: see premise) she won't realize it.

    I've been up to 100mph and well beyond in my 911, and yeah, it handles like its on rails. But even so, the highway is not a track. There can be debris on the road, and the other drivers aren't speed matched at all.

    The few times I've wound it out on a highway, I'm off the gas pedal again if I see another car on the horizon -- because you overtake them so fast, and you can't do a sudden lane change or effectively hit the brakes at that when Sally the realtor wanders out of her lane for any reason.

    I've ridden on interstate trips and averaged 90-100 on the bike including quick fuel stops... and felt perfectly safe.

    On a bike? That's even nuttier as you won't likely survive the wreck when Sally the realtor does what Sally the realtor is going to do.

    To sum up 100-150mph on an empty highway ... sure ok. Been there done that, agree its not that bad. 100mph+ where the other cars are speed matched... sure ok, done that on the track a few times, and agree its pretty reasonable, where everyone's doing it, everyone's paying attention, etc.

    But overtaking people who are semi-conscious doing half the speed, and barely paying attention... no... that's going to be reckless.

    As for this guys stunt... its hard to say... if he was doing 60-70 when there were cars in sight, and 150mph when it was wide open than sure, he might haverage 100mph and its not as crazy as you' think. But if he was doing 100mph+ while overtaking people doing 55-60... he doesn't deserve to hold a license.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday November 01, 2013 @06:55PM (#45306407)

    However driving faster than the prevailling traffic is known to be less safe. If the traffic is moving an average of 30mph and you drive the speed limit of 55mph, then you are driving dangerously as well as breaking the law.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @02:04AM (#45309279) Homepage Journal

    Speed limits have virtually nothing to do with the quality of the road surface. It's about hidden driveways, pedestrians, wildlife, oversized vehicles, bends, trees, sun glare, ect.

    Given that the Op specified "federal interstates", I can state that at least in the USA the designed safe speed for a highway takes far more into account than just the 'quality of the road surface'. For example, above 55mph driveways are outright forbidden, and 65+ you have to have on/off entry merges that allow entering vehicles to speed up to the posted limit before merging and conversely slow before exiting. Pedestrians are typically forbidden from being on the road - if there's significant need for them to be able to cross, they'll put in a under/overpass for them to cross on. Even controlled intersections are forbidden - again, roads go over/under. When you hit 75 mph, 'oversize vehicles' are handled more by the road being at least 4 lanes - and while you don't really see it at those speeds, but the lanes themselves are wider, thus 'oversize' isn't quite so oversize anymore. I've seen plenty of oversize vehicles that fit comfortably between the lines on the highway.

    I'm not a highway designer, but there are additional considerations like maximum curve, slope, and such, all of which becomes much gentler as design speed increases. Then you get some areas like Texas that imposes a different speed limit at night than they do during the day - when sight limit to avoid unexpected obstacles like wildlife is really the only limit to how fast you can go.

    So while the authorities may be "unfairly" force drivers slow down in specific circumstances, it's certainly not because they are short of a dime. There will never be a zero road toll as long as there are humans, the question is, and always will be - what is an acceptable toll, where do we stop and say that's as good as it gets?

    Come to the states. Unfairly lowered speed limits around specific towns with more than 80% of their police force dedicated to writing speeding tickets in a couple spots, 99% to those passing through, are known. It might be mostly a US phenonemon, but it's very well known here.

Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination.

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