Friday, April 16, 2010

The Truth Behind Speeding

If you have your driver's license, then you know how much of a temptation speeding actually is.  When you're in a hurry, when you're on an empty road, you feel like it's no big deal to speed.  At least five miles over.  Speeding is nothing... right?  As you read this, you may be thinking, "What are you talking about?  It's not wrong to speed, so long as you aren't speeding way over the limit and endangering someone's life.  Speeding a little is fine.  I do it all the time and nothing ever happens." 

You might be surprised to find out that speeding is wrong.  In fact, when you drive over the speed limit, you are disobeying God.  Let me tell you why. 

The government has set down specific speed limits for each road.  The government is your authority.  Romans 13:1-2 says, "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."  When you go over the speed limit, you are disobeying a law that your government has put over you.  Even if you are speeding by only a few miles, you are still rebelling against something that your governing authority has established.  According to Romans 13, that means that you are not only rebelling against what the government has put over you, you are also rebelling against a law that God has established.  That's pretty serious, if you ask me. 

Do you carry the opinion that speed limits aren't that strict- that really, a speed limit is only a loose guideline for you to follow?  When you think that speed limits are only guidelines, then you are rationalizing something to yourself that isn't true.  You are deceiving yourself.  Speed limits are not guidelines.  What happens when a cop catches you speeding even five miles over the limit?  He pulls you over, gives you a ticket... you have to pay a fine for breaking the law.  If speed limits were only loose guidelines, don't you think that you wouldn't get in trouble for loosely following those guidelines?  No, of course they aren't guidelines.  They're laws.  They've been set into place with a purpose.  When you speed whatsoever, you are breaking the law

Also, when you speed, you are endangering someone's life.  Did you know that in 2009, 46% of road deaths were caused by speeding?  That's nearly half of all road deaths.  How would you feel if you caused an accident that took someone's life?  If the police discovered that you were speeding before you were in an accident, you would be given a large fine or even arrested.

I'm one of the only teens out of my friends who chooses not to speed.  Because of this, the way I drive is often criticized.  My friends jokingly tell me that I drive like a grandma.  Although I'm often teased for driving the speed limit, my mind will not be changed.  I strongly believe that when you speed, you break God's law, and that means that you are sinning.  A friend of mine, Caydence, has willingly agreed to participate in a small interview about speeding.  Caydence believes that speeding is okay as long as you stay careful, but watch how her opinions slowly start to change by the end of the interview.     

ME: Do you think that speeding is wrong?
CAYDENCE: I don't think it's wrong as long as you aren't driving recklessly.  Like, if the speed limit on a major road was 40, I think that's a little ridiculous. 

ME: How fast would you go on a major road with a 40mph speed limit? 
CAYDENCE: That depends on if I'm late...  Normal: 45- or 50 if I'm not stuck behind someone.  In a hurry: Well... in the middle of the day when there's plenty of room and nobody right in front of me, maybe 60?
ME: How fast do you have to be going for speeding to be wrong?
CAYDENCE: Kind of depends on if they're reckless, but sometimes- like 60 on a 40- honestly, I think that is wrong... In neighborhoods, I think it's really dangerous to speed, and I don't because I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hit a kid who ran out in the street.  On the highway [60mph limit], 90 would be "okay" if there's lots of room, but 100's pushing it.  But there's not any specific rules or anything, it mainly just depends on if you're under control [while] driving. Driving recklessly is always wrong; you need to be in control, especially if you're speeding. 

ME: What is the farthest you've gone over the speed limit?
CAYDENCE: 125 on the [60mph limit] highway... but it was at 4:30 in the morning.  [I was] running late and there was no one else on the road.  I actually screamed out loud and my car freaked out, then I went back down to 100.

ME: Have you ever texted or talked on the phone while driving?
CAYDENCE: I always talk on the phone while driving, but I wait till I'm stopped to text. If I don't finish the text when the light turns green, I finish it and send [it] really fast while going extra slow or [I] just set it down and wait to finish it.  If it's important, I'll ask either [a friend] or my brothers to text for me when I'm driving.

ME: Do you think that you are disobeying God when you speed?
CAYDENCE: When I think about it, yes. I know the speed limits are to keep people safe. That's why I started cutting back [recently], but I tell myself I'm in control, so it's okay.

ME: Did you know that 46% of road deaths last year were caused by speeding?  Does that change your opinion on speeding at all?
CAYDENCE: I didn't know that, [but] yes, it changes my opinion.  I didn't think about it being so dangerous before, but I heard about a lot of people being killed and decided it's definitely not worth it.  And when I think about it, it's selfish of me to speed, putting other people in danger, but in the moment I didn't usually think about that.  

Maybe some of Caydence's thoughts echoed your own.  Maybe you're shocked by her answers to my questions.  Unfortunately, my friend's responses are similar to the thoughts of many drivers (especially teenage drivers) today.  If you are a speeder, I would like to encourage you to pray about what you are doing.  Ask God what He thinks about speeding.  And if your opinions are still not changed about speeding, then please remember to drive carefully while on the roads.  One reckless action can change your life forever.

What do you think about this article?  Do you have any opinions?  Do you think speeding is okay?  If you want, answer my questions on your own and post them as a comment.  I'm curious to see what other drivers believe.  If you don't have your license yet, answer the questions anyway.  What do you plan to do when you drive?  Thanks for reading.      

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