the Blacklight Arrow

David Blacker’s Blog

Speeding on the Southern Expressway

Me, speeding past a kovil

So on my sixth trip down the E01, they nailed me for speeding. It was actually a bit of a relief. Like a serial killer giving up to the inevitable. And I have been speeding. Probably still will. The relief came from finally knowing how they were going to catch me. I had been told they were installing speed detecting cameras, and on my last trip down south, I even saw cops standing by the road, mostly under overpasses, aiming speed guns at me. If they were going to stop me, they would have, since I was doing variously 130kmph, 140kmph, and 150kmph when I saw them. Obviously, they saw me first. And let me go.

Mostly, I wondered how exactly they were going to stop me. Flagging me down seemed impossibly dangerous, and I didn’t think they were going to give chase. I thought I was going too fast for them to visually read my plates and radio ahead, and I doubted that they had the technology to take a high-speed photograph and upload it to cops at the exits. In the end, it proved to be a bit of both the latter two.

My first time on the E01, I stuck to the speed limit for a full ten minutes, while cars overtook me. Then I got up to 140kmph and stayed there as long as I could, except when traffic or the sight of cops slowed me down. After several trips with nothing happening to stop me speeding, I realised I was on average faster than everyone else; I overtook everything placed before me, and nothing overtook me. Going down to Unawatuna this weekend, I took the usual precautions and nothing happened. Again. Coming back, traffic was moderately heavy, and I just kept my foot planted, doing the trip in 47 minutes. My slowest is 53 minutes, my fastest 38.

When I got to the Kottawa exit last evening, I saw a cop checking number plates in front of me. I’d seen this before, but not noticed anyone being charged. This time he gave me the good new: 128kmph at the 27th mile post. Aside from that being an embarrassingly low speed to be copped for speeding (I’ve been nailed for doing 140 on Baseline Road), I wondered where the Hell the 27th mile post was. I had slowed down on spotting a parked patrol car, and hadn’t seen a speed gun, but I guess that was it.

While I was waiting my turn to have my fine sheet filled out, other offenders unrepentantly inquired from each other what speeds they had each been clocked at. 138kmph was the winner amongst the half-dozen there, the champ unjustifiably proud. I sneered. I had passed him close to the Horana exit like he was standing still.

That’s where I found out how they nailed me. The police radio kept crackling and a voice would say something like, “Vehicle HA-1242, 28th milepost, 130kmph, silver car.” The cops at the exit would then write this down. Obviously, this was happening at all the exits north of the 28th mile post. I wondered what would happen if I challenged the charge. I’m guessing that they have some sort of camera attached to the speed gun — ‘cos no way they can read a number plate going by at that speed — and this picture would be produced in court if needed.

One improvement over the old system of cops flagging you down for these violations, is you get charged at the point of exit; so I only needed to go back to Kottawa to pick up my license, and not Aluthgama or somewhere like it was before. The fine’s a thousand rupees plus a hundred-rupee stamp. I sent a three-wheel driver today with the fine to the post office, and then to Kottawa to collect my licence. He charged me 1,500 bucks. So, 2,600 all told.

Also saw an Army patrol crossing the expressway while I was doing 150kmph. I saw them three seconds before I passed them. Luckily they were still in the oncoming lanes. In my rearview mirror I glimpsed them vault the center barrier. They were carrying a small sign about a foot in diameter which said “STOP”. Probably Vijayabahu Regiment. They always were idiots.

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January 23, 2012 - Posted by | cars | , , , ,

32 Comments »

  1. David mate ,

    Is the Freeway a success ? Why didnt they connect it to Katunayake AP ? Can ya post a pic of Traffic on the E01 ? Nice post !

    Comment by Rajarata | January 24, 2012 | Reply

    • I think it’s definitely a success, and they are going to connect it to Katunayake soon. That section’s still under construction. I haven’t any pix of traffic ‘cos I was driving. But I’m sure you can Google it.

      Comment by David Blacker | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  2. David pretty interesting. Last Saturday I went to Hikks and on the way back around 1.30 am or so I was touching 180-210km/h. Wonder how I managed not to get detected? See its petty simple in my opinion to catch speeding. When you enter your toll fee receipt has the time on it. Then when you exit you can check the time and then calculate average speed. Simple as that!!!

    Comment by Paddy | January 24, 2012 | Reply

    • Hey Paddy, I guess they aren’t checking at night. And this is the first time I saw them copping people. But Shammi’s right. You could do 200kmph at places and 80kmph at others, though that’s probably unlikely.

      Comment by David Blacker | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  3. Tsk,tsk.Getting caught speeding and bragging about it also! Must admit I enjoyed reading the account, though :D

    Comment by Shammi | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  4. Paddy, that would let those who’s speed fluctuated, but reached over the maximum limit at some points, get away.

    Comment by Shammi | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  5. hey David,
    met a guy recently who had supplied a few high-end speed detector camera’s which operate apparently on some sort of laser-based technology, can detect speed +/- 2% accuracy at 1.2km distance. He mentioned the cost of the machine, but i forget. Those were for the highway. Apparently there is a tender out for 50 more such machines -so the other routes dont feel discriminated.

    Comment by Holmung | January 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Yeah, they probably have some sort of camera attached as well. Time to break out the laser detectors.

      Comment by David Blacker | January 25, 2012 | Reply

  6. Breaking law must not be a fact of pride or a piece of crap to bragg about. Terrorists when they shoot or bomb innocent people also go back to their camps and gragg about how many they killed.

    However people like you would readily comment on someone else who would make inconveniences, petty things like going to a distant location to pay for your speeding fine. But no sorrow about a possible “irreversible” damage like death to another motorist due to your illogical brain asking you to speed and break the law.

    If you are a civilised person then you must obey the law volunteerily not just because cops are there to catch you. If you obey the law just because of a possible penalty then tamed elephants, pet dogs, ride-on-donkeys etc are also similarly civilised. Sorry but I cannot be proud of you (so would be your mother I guess). Selfish people like you will only learn when an accident happens to you or to your loved ones.

    Ability to think for safety and welfare of others in advance is a rare talent and a difficult skill.

    Comment by Manja | January 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment, Manja; but I wasn’t trying to make you (or my mother) proud when I wrote this post. Just sharing my thoughts.

      Comment by David Blacker | January 25, 2012 | Reply

  7. Yep they have camera attachments. I know of a story where someone had trouble cos some idiot (“VIP” probably) used the registration no of his car on fake plates to speed on the EO1 and got caught at 150. This was even before the opening. Police had come to his house saying that they have photographic evidence. Funny thing was the speeding vehicle was a SUV.

    Comment by Raven | January 28, 2012 | Reply

    • Yeah, the old speed guns were challenged in court ‘cos there was no proof that it was in fact you that they had clocked over the speed limit.

      Comment by David Blacker | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  8. Do you think it is funny to drive over speed limit with the potential to kill someone? I don’t think foriegners should take poor Sri lanka as their playing field. You should go and do it in a western country.

    Comment by Manja | February 1, 2012 | Reply

    • Firstly, Manja, I doubt there’s room for foreigners to play anything here with the number of Sri Lankans playing pandu. Secondly, what makes you think I’m a foreigner? Maybe you should change your name to Manyang.

      Comment by David Blacker | February 1, 2012 | Reply

  9. hi david, this is not about the topic. i like to know your views on the coup in Maldives. Do u think there is an unknown foreign hand?

    Comment by sach | February 10, 2012 | Reply

    • Sach, I don’t think a regime-changing coup can occur anywhere in the world without some foreign influence, or at least support.

      Comment by David Blacker | February 12, 2012 | Reply

  10. yeah now i get this foreign hand behind the coup. Just read dbsj’s article. this whole talk about international community, world peace, pro -democracy west and biggest democracy all things are just bogus. everyone is involved in their own power struggles. One thing for sure this is not good for the region.

    Comment by sach | February 12, 2012 | Reply

  11. David – what is the general standard of driving like on the expressway? Is the lane discipline etc any better than on the other roads in SL? Very keen to try it out when next in the country.

    As for methods for stopping speeding cars, I would have thought they’d have patrol cars stationed on the expressway for the purpose. Or maybe they should just hand the job to the Vijayabahu regiment…

    BTW I find it amusing how many people assume you’re foreigner. Must be the name and the fact that you write well

    Comment by Ashraf | February 26, 2012 | Reply

    • Ashraff, the general standard of driving is excellent. People behave like it’s a different country. It’s amazing! Lane discipline is very good. Of course, you occasionally get some moron driving in the overtaking lane, but that’s not too common.

      They do have patrol cars and bikes stationed along the expressway and on patrol. But stopping vehicles may be an issue because there aren’t many places to stop. There aren’t any rest stops cos the expressway is only just over 100km long. There are a few clearings that are suitable but these are few. I assume these will become rest stops once the E01 is connected to a larger network of cross-country expressways.

      Comment by David Blacker | February 26, 2012 | Reply

  12. Now this is disgusting. You endanger people’s lives and then brag about it? As if there is anything to brag about keeping your foot on the gas on a mostly straight stretch of road. That’s like bragging about getting a perfect score on a 3rd grade math test.

    The law applies equally to everybody. There is no way in the world where you can come up with a reasonable justification for what you did. Snide remarks, yes. Coherent logical arguments. Not a chance in hell.

    It’s macho if you risk your own neck for thrills. When you gamble with other folks’ lives, it’s just stupid.

    Speaking of stupid, you might want to take a shot at that math test. Might be bragworthy material for your next post. If you pass, that is.

    Comment by Wathsalya Dissanayake | March 5, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for the little lecture, Wathsalya. I hope you feel better today. A pity about the juvenile personal attacks, but then I guess some people do need to compensate, eh?

      Personally, I don’t see any endangerment in driving fast on a good road in a good car with good visibility and a good driver. So there’s no such gamble. However, I haven’t attempted to justify my act, nor did I try to avoid paying a fine (perhaps you should have another shot at English comprehension — apparently someone took a nap during that class). I’m quite happy to pay a thousand bucks if I can drive at the speeds I choose, and the government doesn’t think it’s he horrendous crime you suggest either. For speeding, you pay a Rs 1,000 spot fine and whizz off merrily on your way; for driving across a pedestrian crossing at 15kmph (more about that later) you have to appear in court, spend half a day, pay a lawyer a couple grand and then pay a Rs 1,000 fine. What do you think the government considers worse?

      Comment by David Blacker | March 6, 2012 | Reply

  13. How does your personal view factor in here? Does the fantasies of a simpleton like you who lusts for a selfish adrenaline rush rival the views of experts on traffic and road safety? Seriously? Under that logic I might as well go and rob a man in a BMW at gunpoint tomorrow – because in my ‘personal view’ I don’t see anything wrong with robbing from the rich.

    Your other opinions are also equally hilariously illogical. The Government considers rape to be more serious than shoplifting. Does that mean that the latter is acceptable?

    Oh and yeah, now that you say it, it does feel good to have you riled up enough that you contradict yourself in your own comment.

    “However, I haven’t attempted to justify my act”

    You just did bro. One sentence ago.

    Also, talking about compensating, you might want to check this video out.

    Comment by Wathsalya Dissanayake | March 6, 2012 | Reply

    • My personal view factors in because it’s my blog. The fact that you are here discussing it proves the relevance. I couldn’t give a toss for the experts frankly. As for your BMW fantasies, go for it, “bro”. Live a little.

      As for contradictions, I don’t see any, and I see no sign of you being able to point out any such contradiction.

      Glad to see you’ve found YouTube. Nothing like getting an education even at this point in life, kid.

      Comment by David Blacker | March 6, 2012 | Reply

  14. Your personal views do factor in your blog. What I’m saying is that they don’t factor when you are choosing at what speed you drive on a road. If personal views were relevant, then everyone would speed as they please, drive like morons on overtaking lanes and give no regard to single and double lines. I don’t think that even you, throwing logic out of the window in a feeble attempt to defend your point, can say that this is desirable.

    All this is really not that hard to understand. Try to figure it out. Even for someone like you, I don’t think it would take more than a week.

    Well of course you can’t see yourself contradicting yourself a couple of sentences earlier. You’d need to have an intelligence at least on par of that of a rotten vegetable to do that.

    Glad to see that you consider YouTube to be an education. I guess all you did in secondary school was to figure out how to ‘like’ Facebook posts. Quite an achievement, that, given your measly endowment of grey matter.

    Comment by Wathsalya Dissanayake | March 7, 2012 | Reply

    • “If personal views were relevant, then everyone would speed as they please, drive like morons on overtaking lanes and give no regard to single and double lines.”

      Don’t be idiotic, Wathsalya. And don’t shift the goalposts just because your argument is going nowhere. Neither my post nor my comments were about overtaking lanes or any other such nonsense your peabrain seems to spawn; it was just about speed. Rules on overtaking and double lines don’t vary from country to country or road to road; they remain the same. Speed is a variable and is variously enforced. Sometimes not at all. So clearly, how fast too fast is is something that someone decides — a personal opinion. I believe the speed limit on the E01 is too low. It should be at least 120kmph with the usually practiced allowance of 10% over.

      “All this is really not that hard to understand.”

      Given that you can’t figure out the difference between lane discipline, speed, and armed robbery, I suggest you take a month off :D

      “Well of course you can’t see yourself contradicting yourself blah blah”

      And you seem unable to point out the contradiction, why don’t we stop labouring the non-existant and just take it as understood that you’re a retard who needs somewhere to vent because mummy doesn’t love him or daddy loved him too hard.

      Actually, when I was in school, there wasn’t even an internet, never mind Facebook. Unlike you, I don’t think Google is a dictionary and Youtube is a useful alternative to an education, or that a blog can serve as a shrink. Thanks for the tips on Facebook :D That’s probably the only useful info you’ve posted so far.

      Comment by David Blacker | March 7, 2012 | Reply

  15. Seems I was right to ask you to take a week to digest what I said. You’ve jumped the gun and made an even bigger fool of yourself.

    “Speed is a variable and is variously enforced. Sometimes not at all. So clearly, how fast too fast is is something that someone decides — a personal opinion.”

    Now this is just embarrassingly, laughably wrong. Even Mervyn Silva would wince at logic like that. I’d love an intelligent discourse, but your sub-primate level mind seems to be unable to grasp the concept of analogies, so I’ll rest my case. It would be easier to train a chimp to use the potty than to teach you to follow logic and see reason.

    I’ll just say that even according to your inane standards, anything over 132 kmph is too fast. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. LOL.

    Comment by Wathsalya Dissanayake | March 7, 2012 | Reply

    • “Seems I was right to ask you to take a week to digest what I said. You’ve jumped the gun and made an even bigger fool of yourself.”

      Lol, if you say so. Believe me, there are a lot of morons on the net who’ve declared themselves geniuses because they think no one is smart enough to understand their non-existant point. At least be original if you can’t be right.

      “so I’ll rest my case”

      Always a good option when you haven’t got an argument.

      “It would be easier to train a chimp”

      So you did go to school after all. Guess you should have hired a better trainer.

      “I’ll just say that even according to your inane standards, anything over 132 kmph is too fast.”

      Hmm, what were you saying about retaking maths? Where’d you learn that 10% of 130 is 2? That’s the variable speed limit in some countries. I said at least 120, not that it should be 120. Back to the comprehension issues. Ah, that chimp trainer again, right? Lol

      Comment by David Blacker | March 8, 2012 | Reply

  16. So, moderating comments are we? Did I rattle you that much? Didn’t think you’d stoop that low David.

    Anyway nice arguing with you. Adios.

    Comment by Wathsalya Dissanayake | March 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Patience, monkey, patience. When you use too many epithets you automatically get tangled up in my moderation list. But talking about rattling, have you got your morning banana yet? try rattling your cage a bit; I’m sure your trainer will be over with your meds.

      Comment by David Blacker | March 8, 2012 | Reply

  17. Hey David, pertinent blog post as always! The frustrations each one of us has with moronic traffic cops is legendry. You best watch out during the latter part of the month, coz that’s when they have to add up their traffic offences and fines etc, in order to be elligible for their commissions! I suggest that you email this incident to the IGP and see what he has to say. I have personally witnessed the responses he has provided in the recent past by e-mail no less and at a speed which is unbelievable! Good luck!

    Comment by ldesilva | March 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Idesilva. As far as I’m concerned it was a fair cop on the speed issue, and I can’t really fault them. Did you mean to comment on my pedestrian crossing post?

      Comment by David Blacker | March 8, 2012 | Reply

      • hi! yes i did, my response was all on the pedestrian crossing issue vis – a – vis the lazy cops hiding under the bushes and looking the other way, whilst the crazy buses and the wheelers flout the law like nobody’s business! One cannot find fault with the cops on the SEx cum E01, coz it sounded like they were doing their duty fair and square! :)

        Comment by ldesilva | March 8, 2012 | Reply


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