A sure sign that confusion lies ahead

Local government is often said to be superior in many respects to state and federal government because it can respond more quickly, is said to be in better tune with the needs of its constituents and usually comes in personal contact with constituents on a far more regular basis. 

However, local government is just as capable as its bigger counterparts of entangling residents in bureaucratic red tape that leaves people confused, irritated and, often, unwittingly in violation of the law.

Take the above sign, near an elementary school in White Lake, Mich., which is in the Detroit metro area.

Instead of simply installing a flashing light when the speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour, or having wording to the effect that the speed limit is 25 miles per hour from, say, 6 a.m.-9 a.m. and again from 2 p.m.-5 p.m., officials have detailed five 30-minute periods and one 26-minute period in which the limit drops to 25 mph.

And, as one can see, they’re all oddball segments, rather than, say, 7:00 a.m.-7:30 a.m., further enhancing befuddlement.

(The 6:49 a.m.-7:15 a.m. block ought to really cause confusion among sleep-deprived motorists attempting to calculate their speed, the time and their position in relation to the reduced-speed zone.)

And beneath the sign highlighting the various slower-speed time blocks is another sign that reads, “school days only.”

One is somewhat surprised that a calendar detailing when the students at White Lake Middle School are to be in class wasn’t attached, as well.

Ultimately, all of the above sounds like a great way to confuse motorists and create opportunities for the writing of traffic tickets, a much-needed source of revenue for cash-strapped communities, particularly during hard times.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not clear how much the signs do to actually protect students.

The Agitator, the blog that highlighted this inanity, led with this tongue-in-cheek quip, “Future Headline: Motorist Kills Half Dozen Fifth Graders While Trying to Read Speed Limit Sign”.

(HT: The American Times)

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