Monday, August 09, 2004


“I Can’t Drive, Fifty-Five!!!!” What Song? Now I Know It Can’t Get Any Easier Than That!

So I read a story about the connection between speeding and rich people. This was of interest to me because someday I hope to be one. A rich person, I mean; I can already speed even though I’m poor.

When I finished the article, I hadn’t found my personal guess about an explanation for this mentioned anywhere. So I’ll talk about it here in my own Castle Greyskull, where I have the POWERRRRRR! Some tender vittles:

Dawn Royal of Gallup found the relationship between moderate speeding and
higher incomes to be statistically significant, and was surprised to find such a

According to the data, 60 percent of those surveyed with household
incomes from $75,000 to $99,999 — and 66 percent with household incomes of
$100,000 or more — said they "often" or "sometimes" drive 10 mph over the posted
speed limit, compared with 42 percent to 49 percent of people at lower income

Similarly, 77 percent of drivers with household incomes between $75,000
and $99,999, 73 percent earning more than $100,000, and 70 percent earning
between $50,000 and $74,999 said within the past week they had exceeded the
number of miles per hour over the speed limit that they thought might lead to a
police stop…

"Scofflaw behavior is directly correlated with wealth," said Berglas,
the California psychologist who treats many wealthy patients. "They genuinely
believe … the laws governing the hoi polloi don't apply to them."

That seems like a lot of vittles, so let me just say that the higher incidences of speeding among richies were of the moderate sort, and excessive speeding (more than twenty mph over the posted limit) was evenly spread among drivers regardless of income. Except for Berglas, no one was willing to say why, and I’m not convinced Berglas has it right. In fact, the headline “Money to Burn” is the only spot that seemed to be on target. You can read the article by Michael S. James here. You go look now!

I should say here that I’m sure Berglas has many more interactions with richies than I do. I have practically none. But do the richies really believe that laws don’t apply to them? I guess I always imagined that it would be because the penalties don’t really harm them.

Let’s say an average schmuck like me gets a speeding ticket. The ticket costs me money, and I have to pay more for insurance. And the more tickets I get, the more these costs go up. I cannot afford these costs, so I am pretty careful with my speeding. I’m always on the lookout for Ponch and Jon. But richies don’t feel this sort of pinch like I do. I mean, I can tell you right now that if I was some millionaire, I would speed all the time simply because I could afford it.

I think this is consistent with richie attitudes, even though if I were a richie, I would still agree that the law applies to me; I would not think I was somehow above or exempt from the law. Richies speed because they can afford it. Sort of like on my bus tour in Mexico when I got to ride in a hot bus past a $5,000 a night hotel where richies stay. Richies live differently than you and I do because they can afford to.

Richies buy clothes at Macy’s or Nordstrom’s and I buy clothes at Mervyn’s. They shop at gourmet food stores and I shop at the local chain supermarket. They speed more often and I speed less often. Richies can afford to do all these things more than I can.

Maybe we’ll see some complaints about this article over the next few days. I mean we should. I seem to recall plenty of controversy over a study of the speeding habits of certain groups of drivers back in 2002. Back then, doing a study that shows one group of people sped more than others was practically the end of civilization. Oh the horror! Of course, the 2002 study was about African-American drivers in New Jersey; this study was only about rich people, and as we all know, it’s ok to profile, categorize, and assign qualities to anyone who isn’t part of an officially aggrieved group. Namely, rich crackers.

You can read about the study here. You go look now!

You can read about the controversy here. You go look now!

You can read a heavily footnoted article about African-American seat belt use that briefly mentions the speeding study, along with a healthy dose of common sense, here. You go look now!
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