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Transportation

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

Posted by Soulskill
from the thank-you-for-endangering-so-many-people dept.
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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  • Whoosh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:10PM (#45303167)

    I'm pretty sure this guy passes me every day on the way to the office.

  • Insurance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dskoll (99328) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:14PM (#45303217)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:15PM (#45303235)

    Clear cut case of speeding and the guy even collected his own evidence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twocows (1216842)
      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 @02:19PM (#45303337) Homepage Journal

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

        • by tgd (2822) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#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 Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmail.LAPLACEcom minus math_god> on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:54PM (#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 camperdave (969942) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:21PM (#45304389) Journal

              Speeding fines are there to collect some money for municipalities. Otherwise they would be uniformly and much more strictly enforced.

              Um... no. Speeding fines are NOT there to collect some money for municipalities, otherwise they would be uniformly and much more strictly enforced.

              • by clarkn0va (807617) <apt.get@gAAAmail.com minus threevowels> on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:31PM (#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 Rich0 (548339)

                Um... no. Speeding fines are NOT there to collect some money for municipalities, otherwise they would be uniformly and much more strictly enforced.

                If speed limits were uniformly enforced either the limits would be eliminated within a week, or riot police would have to shoot most of the population within that time. The only reason the current limits are tolerated is the fact that everybody can easily get away with violating them.

          • by w0mprat (1317953)

            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.

            And revenue. As minor speeding isn't really much danger at all, but a lucrative cash cow authorities have become accustomed to suckling the milky teats of.

            You'll find speed cameras and cops hitting motorists hard in places where people are likely to speed, and there for generate maximum revenue. But conspicuously absent at notorious deadly accident blackspots where there isn't a high volume of traffic.

            If the primary goal was to save lives by slowing people down. Using first principals, where would you

        • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#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 danbert8 (1024253) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:49PM (#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 nbauman (624611) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:25PM (#45306075) Homepage Journal

            no one ever cites those studies that show lower speed limits are safer... Because they don't exist.

            Here's a study that shows lower speeds are safer. Among people who were wearing a seat belt, nobody driving 60 mph or less died. People driving over 60 mph died, because in an accident above 60 mph, the car rolls and the passenger compartment starts to fall apart. (Unfortunately the full paper is paywalled, but it had a nice chart of fatalities increasing with speed.) This happens to be a classic paper from 1967; there have been studies coming to the same conclusion ever since. You can look them up in the Engineering Index.

            Driving fast is safe as long as you don't have an accident. When you do have an accident, the faster you're going, the more energy you have to dissipate, and the more likely the car is to crush in a rollover or tear apart and send you flying unprotected at 60 mph. It's pretty hard to hit the ground at 60 mph and survive. That's roughly equivalent to falling off a 15-story building.

            http://papers.sae.org/670925/ [sae.org]

            A Statistical Analysis of 28,000 Accident Cases with Emphasis on Occupant Restraint Value

            Paper #: 670925

            Published: 1967-02-01

            DOI: 10.4271/670925

            Citation:

            Bohlin, N., "A Statistical Analysis of 28,000 Accident Cases with Emphasis on Occupant Restraint Value," SAE Technical Paper 670925, 1967, doi:10.4271/670925.
            Author(s): N. I. Bohlin

            Affiliated: Passenger Car Engineering Dept., AB Volvo

            Abstract: The value of the three-point safety belt has been evaluated by a statistical analysis of more than 28,000 accident cases, which concerned mainly two cars only and in which 37,511 unbelted and belted front-seat occupants were involved. The safety harness concerned is the Volvo three-point combined lap and upper torso harness with a so-called slip-joint. The average injury-reducing effect of the harness proved to vary between 0 and 90%, depending on the speed at which the accident occurred or the type of injury. Unbelted occupants sustained fatal injuries throughout the whole speed scale, whereas none of the belted occupants was fatally injured at accident speeds below 60 mph. Slight injuries only, mostly single rib cracks, bruises, etc., caused by the safety belt were reported in some cases. The three-point belt proved to be fully effective against ejection out of the car. Almost all cars involved were equipped with safety belts, of which, however, only 26% on an average were used. The frequency of use increased with the age of the occupants.

            • Um. A paper from 1967? Really?
              A time when cars didn't have a steel cage around the passenger compartment, no airbags of any kind, no crumple zones...

              Have you seen the youtube video of a 1959 Chevrolet crashing into a 2009 Chevrolet?

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joMK1WZjP7g [youtube.com]

              • by nbauman (624611) on Friday November 01, 2013 @11:50PM (#45309007) Homepage Journal

                The crush space was the same in 1967 as it is today. I remember an article in Automotive News which reported on a lecture by a Mercedes-Benz engineer on the problem of designing a car that would let the occupants survive a front-end collision into a barrier.

                The engineer described the physical constraints. They had to decelerate the car at a maximum number of Gs. They had 50 inches of crush space between the passenger compartment and the front end. In order to decelerate to a stop through that distance, you couldn't be driving any faster than about 50 mph. It didn't have anything to do with the mechanical capabilities of the car, that was the maximum theoretical speed you survive at. The crush space increased as the square of the initial velocity, so it wasn't feasible to increase the crush space in the hood. You can't make a practical car with 16 feet of crush space.

                I used to work for the Society of Automotive Engineers, and I worked on the papers that they used to design seat belts and air bags. (That's why I know about Bohlin's paper.) The lap-and-shoulder seat belts (which Bohlin originally designed) were actually safer in a collision than the airbags. The airbags only make sense if people aren't wearing seat belts.

                There's a big difference in safety between a 1959 Chevrolet and the cars that came later. Ralph Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed in 1965. The lawsuit Larsen vs. General Motors was decided in 1965, and made auto manufacturers responsible for designing safer cars. And Volvo, which Bohlin worked for, were always designed for safety. Bohlin's study is only one of the best studies, but it was followed by many, many studies that all showed that the faster you drive, the more likely you are to die in an accident.

                It's just basic engineering physics. 60 mph is like falling off a 10- or 15-story building. The faster you go, the more kinetic energy you have, and if that car becomes unstable, as it will in an accident, that energy has to get dissipated somewhere. The higher the speed, the less likely the occupants are to survive.

                Don't take my word for it. Look up the engineering literature.

          • by Derec01 (1668942)

            You don't want to pick this champion for that cause. You could probably show ranging it from 60-80 doesn't matter much.

            This guy was AVERAGING 100mph and probably going 120mph in stretches with other cars. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he was only going 150mph on an isolated road (and even then, God help a poor guy turning onto the highway not realizing the car could possibly be going at that speed).

            From 60mph to 80mph is only a 50% increase in energy. From 60mph to 120mph is quadruple the ener

      • by bitt3n (941736) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:02PM (#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.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        speed limits are posted to keep the public safe

        Highway speed limits were introduced to save oil, not to keep people safe. Germany doesn't have speed limits on large stretches of its highways, and much higher speed limits where it does, and yet fewer people get killed per million vehicle miles.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate [wikipedia.org]

        What this guy did was clearly reckless, but that's because he was driving at different speeds from the rest of traffic, not because he was goi

      • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:56PM (#45304895) Journal

        I'm conflicted about this. Yes, he broke the law, and as pointed out, even collected the evidence to be used against himself.

        But "reckless" is a matter of opinion, the definition being "without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action", and it wasn't clear that this was the case. One could argue (and in his position, I would, in court) that the degree of preparation involved (only some of which, undoubtedly, we have heard here) is proof positive that the participants very much were thinking and caring about the consequences of their actions.

        I recall an article back in the seventies, may have been in an auto or men's magazine (I remember the graphic was a pantera overtaking a sedan at an extremely high rate of speed) about the ethics of speeding. As I recall, the author exceeded the speed limit by large margins on a regular basis, but he had commensurate skills, a car equipped for the job, and a set of ironclad rules. I don't remember all of them, but one was: If anything you do makes another driver deviate in any fashion, by flinching, braking, swerving or anything other than jaw dropping as you go by, you have lost. Find another hobby. Another was: What you're doing is illegal. When you get pulled over, and it *will* happen, take it like a man. Don't whine, don't try to get out of it, be courteous and respectful. There were other rules that I don't recall. The gist was, if you have decided to speed, you have a duty to do so in a way that doesn't make you a menace or an asshole.

        As for "speed limits are posted to keep the public safe", yeah, that's what they always say. And back when we had a 55 mile per hour national speed limit, they said it then too. Did the populace at large suddenly become better drivers when the double nickel was repealed? Speed limits tend to be arbitrary, and at best, "safety" is measured as some government-set lowest-common-demoninator. Drug laws exist to keep us safe too, and that's working out swell.

        I have a Harley with a five speed transmission. I've heard of a six speed upgrade, but thought those were just for bragging rights, as nobody would ever really need a sixth gear. And then I visited Texas. Now I'm saving up for one.

      • by cffrost (885375) on Friday November 01, 2013 @06:21PM (#45306685) Homepage

        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.

        I don't buy into this philosophy of punishing people for "crimes" based on arbitrary risks of things that could, but did not occur — and they are most certainly arbitrary: Texting-while-driving is illegal, but adjusting-the-stereo-while-driving is not, nor are any of the following "risky" activites illegal when performed while driving: putting on makeup, talking to passengers, turning around to yell at ones' kids, solving a crossword puzzle, driving after having had poor-quality or inadequate sleep, driving while having to taking a piss, driving outside of the envelope of peak physical and mental human performance conditions, and so on. That these activities are legal while driving represents a gaping hole in the philosophy of writing and enforcing laws based on risks.

        Another example, taking risk-based vehicular "crime" close to its logical conclusion: Clearly, it would be safest for there to be only one car on the road at a time, or to enforce a half-mile vehicle-separation distance. This would eliminate nearly all multi-vehicle collisions; by driving near, or (even worse) towards me, you put my life at risk! This is unreasonable, and impossible to enforce in a consistent or productive manner. What is reasonable, is to make it a crime to cause damage to people or property by way of negligence — but, we already have that. The rest — these "risk-crimes" — are all instances of moral panics, cash-grabs, power-grabs, and authoritarianism run amok — "for our own good." No, thanks. If someone actually hurts someone else, that's something else entirely, and worth having the laws we have against.

        You wouldn't have even known this event had occurred, had he not come forward, because there were no victims. This guy hurt no one, and in my opinion deserves no penalty.

  • Very Illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:16PM (#45303261)

    Why isn't this guy in jail?

  • .. will he plead guilty?
  • As the "dept" byline heading says, thanks for endangering so many people.

    My grandfather was a leadfoot, and crossed from NC to AZ a couple times a year under 48 hours. My dad was to follow him in a second vehicle once, and ended up slowing down and going his own pace, when he saw just how irresponsibly granddad was rushing things just for the sake of rushing. Grandpa never killed anyone but I'm sure it's been very close a couple of times.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:18PM (#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 TWX (665546) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#45303585)
      It's possible to go fast and not be terribly dangerous. In an urban area where the freeway speed limits are 65MPH, traffic flows at 75-80MPH normally. On rural Interstate highways, the speed limit is commonly 75MPH and traffic definitely bumps up against 85MPH, and some states have speed limits in the 85MPH range.

      If he was driving 100MPH in a 75MPH zones, then he was only 33% above the speed limit. He also picked a vehicle designed for high-speed, Autobahn driving, meant to handle at those speeds, and I expect that his route intentionally avoided metro areas as much as possible to avoid both extra law enforcement and extra traffic. I can attest to my part of the country, it would not be that hard to go 150MPH in some areas without particularly endangering anyone but one's self, as there are long stretches of straight road with little to no usage. I wouldn't recommend it from a personal safety standpoint, but if one were to wreck in those areas it'd probably be a one-car accident.
    • 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
  • It seems like if you can do this with a car, where there are traffic laws and speed limits, there's no good reason why a NY-LA bullet train wouldn't work.

    • It's not that it wouldn't work, it's that it's too expensive to build new rail lines, especially out of the east coast. If you want to use existing rail lines, those are all owned by a hodgepodge of different companies who (rightly or wrongly) give their freight trains priority. This is why Amtrak is so slow, because they don't have priority on the main line (along with stopping at every station between here and their destination). None of those rail lines are permitted by law to offer intra-city passeng
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:20PM (#45303347)

    In the Land of the Free and the Home of the brave, They needed to add a lot of cowardly countermeasures to make sure the were not caught and imprisoned, for what was in essence a joy ride.

    If there was a way to go, I am going to do this stunt, I am expected to be at these locations between these times, and make sure the police give us enough room and clear out traffic. Sure it may require a little extra money say an traditional $10k to pay for the expense of blocking off the roads for the time.
    But Risk taking should be rewarded, not punished, especially if you are willing to work with the system.

  • by Gravis Zero (934156) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:20PM (#45303357)

    He was really just trying to get some groceries but he used Apple Maps.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:21PM (#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 @02:23PM (#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 GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:29PM (#45303501)

      I don't know where YOU live, but I'm in Kansas and you can do 100+ easily out here, even on the state highways because roads are so straight. I ride my motorcycle out in the country and the only real limitation is the mental fatigue of high speeds. I can only maintain them for a while before slowing down to make the ride more relaxing.

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      There's no relationship to how fast you go vs. safety. The Germans prove it every day. [wikipedia.org]

      As a comparison from the link above, for 2010 we averaged 6.87 fatalities for all roads per billion km (Bkm) of travel in the US, Germany 5.18. That's 24.6% less.
      for highways, US: 3.62 fatalities/Bkm, Germany: 1.98 or 45.3% less.

      On Urban areas the Germans do limit the speed limits (down to 75MPH in some areas) but the biggest problems in the US in prohibiting us to go faster are:

      1) Our Roads aren't up to their standards

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:32PM (#45303575)

    OK, this guy plotted and planned in excrutiating detail for 18 months, works in the automobile industry, yet seems utterly fearless about the legal ramifications about admitting average speeds in excess of all posted limits in the country? The article I saw had a damning amount detail, including what sound like many admissions that he knows what he's doing is illegal (e.g. the comment about the vented trunk fumes while stopped by a cop).

  • by quax (19371) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:36PM (#45303669)

    To get an idea how much faster you could get around if the US had proper no speed limit highways like the German Autobahn.

    (That said I don't condone reckless driving on roads that aren't built for that speed.)

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      American drivers are not good for that speed either. Go ask a german about their drivers education vs ours. Ask them about their testing.

      If you take your road test in an automatic you get a restricted license. Can you imagine how americans would react to that?

  • One missing detail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:39PM (#45303715)
    I just want to know how he got past all those idiots plodding along in the left lane.
  • Bust the jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:40PM (#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 w0mprat (1317953) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:48PM (#45303869)
    Speed doesn't kill it's suddenly becoming stationery that's the problem.
  • by ffflala (793437) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:54PM (#45303971)
    Who gives a shit about this "speed record"?? This asshole Ed Bolian was willing to risk the lives of everyone else on the road for some silly high score bullshit. There's no difference between this careless fuck and the asshole who killed a mother and her three children while street racing in Philly. http://articles.philly.com/2013-10-31/news/43530258_1_roosevelt-boulevard-khusen-akhmedov-ahmen-holloman [philly.com]

    This is not a fucking game. If you want to break speed records, use a track where you'll only risk the lives of those who knowingly expose themselves to this level of danger, rather than innocent people who are just trying to go about their lives. Fuck every last fucking one of these coast to coast 'racers'.
  • Speed limits.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by David_Hart (1184661) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:31PM (#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....

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