A Bad Sign- Lawyers Weekly, May 2001
We always knew corporate America was out to get us, but now we have proof. Or, at least an indication that it's responsible for our speeding tickets.
According to Geoffrey G. Nathan, a Boston lawyer who defends traffic violations, the distracting speed limit signs Fleet Bank has posted over the state's "Fast Lanes" may be responsible for more than a few speeding tickets.
"The signs that they've constructed do not conform with the federal regulations," Nathan says.
All states must comply with 23 CFR 655, which requires speed limit signs to be black and white, he notes.
The signs' distracting colors and the fact that they look like a Fleet advertisement rather than a warning to drive through the Fast Lane at 15 miles an hour serves to complicate the situation, the lawyer adds.
"The signs that do exist are clearly advertisements for the bank," Nathan maintains. "The consumer is looking at Fleet Bank and not the speed limit."
Nathan says he gets at least two irate phone calls a week from people who didn't realize the Fast Lane speed limit until it was too late.
"The State Police are writing tickets for doing 25 miles per hour in a 15-mile-per-hour zone," he explains.
Nathan notes that toll worker safety factors into the speeding tickets, but says there must be a better solution for the tickets which, he estimates, bring in millions of dollars to the state each year.
For the time being, Nathan suggests that Fleet should pay the fines. "Fleet Bank is the one that's responsible for this nonsense," he says. "It's a Fleet green sign that diverts your attention."
Fleet Bank did not respond to Lawyers Weekly's inquiries.
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