THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: On the (Potential) Cost of Crime - Part 1

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On the (Potential) Cost of Crime - Part 1

I commute to work. My office is about 35 miles from my house. On my return trip, I customarily take the exit off the freeway and travel approximately one mile on the frontage road (in Texas the frontage road is called the "feeder" by the way; I've not heard it referred to as the "feeder" anyplace else; I like referring to it as the "feeder") to a go light at which I turn right.

The posted speed limit on the feeder is 45 mph. The posted speed limit on the freeway is 65 mph. Many nights when I am getting home, I find it difficult to accept traveling 45 mph on a nice, three-lanes-of-traffic-going-north concrete road. It is a difficult adjustment to make from going 75 to 80 on the five-lanes-of-traffic-going-north concrete road of the freeway moments before. So I generally do not adjust my speed. I usually drive this stretch of my commute at 60 mph.

I consider 15 mph over the speed limit to be excessive enough to earn me a ticket if I am unlucky enough to be driving that fast at the wrong time when Johnny Law is in the wrong place (observing me speeding).

So I could just slow down.

But I don't want to. So tonight I crunched some numbers. I thought it might be interesting to see how much my decision to speed is costing me based on a particular arbitrary set of assumptions I came up with.

The assumptions are:

  • I will get one ticket per 50 weeks of commuting on average.
  • The ticket I get will cost USD$350 and the "traffic school" I will go to so I can avoid a blemish on my driving record and the accompanying hike in insurance premiums will cost USD$400.

The math is:

  • It takes 1.3333333333 minutes to travel one mile at 45 mph (the posted speed limit for the subject patch of road).
  • Over 50 weeks of commuting, if I drive this one mile piece of road at 45 mph, I will spend a total of 333.333333 minutes navigating this part of my commute.
  • It takes 1 minute to travel one mile at 60 mph (the speed I customarily drive).
  • Over 50 weeks of commuting, if I drive this one mile piece of road at 60 mph, I will spend a total of 250 minutes navigating this part of my commute.

So I save a little more than 83 minutes driving 60 mph as compared to driving 45 mph. But I am spending $750 to save those 83 minutes. That's $9 per minute. That's over $500 an hour.

That's a lot.

Another way to think about it is:

The traffic stop will take 20 minutes from start to finish. I will also have to spend probably no less than six hours finding a traffic school to attend, attending the course, submitting the paperwork, following up to make sure indicia of my violation have been properly expunged from the record, and so on and so forth.

Twenty minutes for the traffic stop plus 720 minutes of lost time dealing with the traffic school is significantly more time lost than the 83.3333333 minutes gained by speeding for 50 weeks.

Isn't that interesting.

P.S. Of course the assumption that I will get one ticket per 50 weeks of commuting may be overly conservative. Just last night I was driving home at about midnight. There were very few cars on the road. So I was actually going 65 mph on the subject one mile stretch of road. And as I approached the corner for my turn a cop raced past. Not pulling me over. Not pulling anyone over. Didn't have his lights on or anything. Just driving like 85 mph (40 mph over the posted limit) passing me doing 20 mph over the posted speed limit like I was not going particularly fast at all. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

Photo credits: here


Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Don't let the man keep you down.

I say speed. Have you received a ticket yet? I think you have greatly overestimated the chance that (a) a police officer will be at that point at the same time you are; (b) said police officer will detect your speed; (c) said police officer will select only you (when there is a very good chance others around you are also exceeding the speed limit).

Punch it Chewy!!

10:17 PM, October 10, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Yes, yes. Thank you for your patronage. The postscript contemplates your point.

All my best!

10:23 PM, October 10, 2006  
Blogger Dongley Shlongford said...

I don't own a car.
I spend my days smoking doobage in my thong and tagging skanks.

Crunch those numbers, dude.

8:42 AM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger Truth Girl said...

Did you factor in which speed your vehicle operates most efficiently and calculate for increased or decreased fuel costs

10:24 AM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Truth Girl - How embarrassing. I didn't even think of that. The good news is, I guess, the fuel efficiency difference is significantly more nominal, I suspect, then the aggregated time difference. My new car does have a gauge which purports to indicate the m/p/g I'm obtaining at all particular points in time during traveling, so I will try to remember to check it out tonight.

Of course that'll be at the 60 mph pace. To test the 45 mph pace would require I actually travel that speed which, as I've indicated, I am not willing to do.

Alas ...

10:32 AM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger Chris Hagenow said...

If that $9 per minute is time lost that you could be watching "Wheel of Fortune" or reruns of "King of Queens", then it's totally worth it.

12:36 PM, October 11, 2006  
Anonymous Partyboy said...


4:42 PM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Were you potty trained at an inordinately early age by any chance???

9:49 PM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...


SPAM = 243

9:51 PM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

I think you are making the 243 number up.

11:41 PM, October 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have no life

9:59 AM, October 12, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

Hey Spliff,
Your new avatar makes you look like you are on the cover of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit".
That's good stuff there, Shores.

1:54 PM, October 12, 2006  
Blogger crallspace said...

You save more by driving the speed limit. When I drive in-town, I barely put my foot to the medal and I end up at the red light the same time as the moron who speeds up to the light. My brakes last a bit longer as well.

Thanks for the response, but as you'll see, I stand by my post. I think that with what we know of peak oil and how fucked up our air quality is, lessening our impact is a wise way to go. Sure "freedom" can be used as an argument, and we can look at the profits of the promoters and overpaid drivers, but thinking long term, we need the planet if we want to enjoy anything. And frankly, if some unimaginative rednecks are bummed out that racing is no longer, I couldn't give less of a shit.

7:37 PM, October 12, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Dan, thanks for stopping by, man! I saw your response and the other comment by "anonymous" ... good stuff. I'll be by to try to explain my arguments a bit more and to demonstrate the errors in your arguments after a bit.

Too much brain drain today!

8:13 PM, October 12, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

I responded as well. We are going to get banned from NWG's site.

8:15 PM, October 12, 2006  
Blogger crallspace said...

I am leaving this comment here, as I don't anticipate your immediate return.

You misunderstood the point entirely. I am anti-waste, anti-pollution and anti-stupidity. Auto racing encompasses all of those terms. I think hardcore porno should be shown on television after midnight. I think marijuana should be legal for recreational purposes and I think secularism should be declared our nation's religion, if any. No, you say?

That eats away at MY freedom. But I won't say shame on you. You are entitled to your opinion.

When we leave a burnt out, polluted wasteland for the next generation, I'll just hush them with, "We had to race those cars and drive those obnoxious two ton Chevys. It was FREEDOM, baby!" They'll understand.

10:30 AM, October 16, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Dan, did you delete one of my comments from your auto racing post? Did you censor me?

I am thoroughly perplexed if you did. I thought we having an intellectual discussion and that we were getting closer to understanding each other.

For example, the comment you left for me above is very helpful to me. It helps me understand you.

For example, now I am clear and am willing to agree that you are not anti-freedom. You are anti a bunch of other stuff. You seem to be willing to infringe on other people's freedom to bend them to your will, but hey, that's better than being entirely anti-freedom.

And I think what I'm going to say next will help you understand me (though for the life of me I don't know how you could have been coming over here to my blog for a year and still be unclear about my views on these matters, but nevertheless, here we go again) ...

I have not -- to my knowledge -- shared with you my views about hard core porn, recreational pot use, or state-sponsored religion.

But I will ... since otherwise you will apparently have the wrong idea.

I am AGAINST the government prohibiting hardcore porn from being shown on TV at night. I do not want the government to make decisions for me about what I watch on TV. If there is a large enough community of people who are willing to pay their own money to be able to watch hardcore porn on TV (I don't care when it's on), that is their business and I am AGAINST the government prohibiting them from paying their money to watch what they want. As it happens, I do not want my daughters to accidentally see hard core porn on TV. But I am PERFECTLY HAPPY to be personally responsible for preventing them from seeing hard core porn on TV during this period I would prefer they not be exposed to it. I do NOT want the government to "help" me protect them. Quite the contrary.

Same goes for all drugs that people might use for recreational purposes. Marijuana and others. I do NOT want the government to tell me what I can or can't put into my body.

I can't honestly tell you what my view is about secularism as the national religion. As much attention as is already paid to the U.S. government, there is too much government worship already. But I don't know what I really think about it. This is one of the issues I am working on and thinking about a lot lately as my daughters get old enough to wonder why all their friends go to church (and we don't).

But I am not done thinking about it yet. The one thing I can say for sure about it is that I do not want any government telling me or anyone else what to worship (or what not to worship).


8:16 PM, October 16, 2006  
Blogger crallspace said...

Garrett-- I promise I did not censor you. I remember your initial response (which sparked a good deal of early discussion) and your most recent one. I just looked and they are both there.

There is a blogger named Ruben who I though censored me once. I looked through the 60+ comments and wondered where my went. I looked up and down. I asked him about it, but checked after I sent the question, only to see my comment was there.

I would not censor any ideas, even as I might disagree. Especially not yours, as they were valid points. Aside from the 2 you sent, was there another?

I am not a big govt. liberal. I see it as this. What our taxes go to now (rich people tax cuts, war, oil companies subsidized a trillion dollars a year), why not allocate some of that to important things? Things which might help us dig ourselves out of this hole? I'd like to see taxes cut, but important and significant amounts funding the things that keep our society in tact. They could cut taxes and eliminate govt. waste, while still subsidizing sustainability, schools, renewable energy, tax benefits for poor and middle class (not necessarily at the expense of the rich, who will undoubtedly complain about the loss of the big payof they're used to).

Anyway, more later I'm sure.

1:28 AM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger Satan said...

quit being a pussy and come up with a good crime

youre worried about speeding

try something cool

go to peru swallow fifteen balloons filled with heroin and sneak across the border

then we can talk


10:13 PM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

I am entertained with this whole business.

8:53 AM, October 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is fascinating. Simply fascinating.

12:58 PM, October 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is fascinating. Simply fascinating.

12:58 PM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

I still have to read this post.

12:29 PM, October 22, 2006  
Anonymous TheBoss said...

I am a virgin to your blog, and I have had too much wine tonight to really understand what is going on here. As soon as I sober up, I am sure I will have some inspiring analysis of all of this crap.

8:37 PM, November 01, 2006  
Anonymous TheBoss said...

Are you insane? $350 for a ticket will pay for 20 bottles of half way decent wine, if you don't speed. (if you don't drink wine, you could have invested it in an online poker game. I am reading some of the earlier postings trying to get a feel for you guys - I think it is driving me insane, so I should fit in just fine.

8:49 PM, November 01, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Get to know me!

8:51 PM, November 01, 2006  

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