"Good God, I don't know how you did it."
December 4, 2019 8:50 AM   Subscribe

The record for the Cannonball Run is now 27 hours and 25 minutes.
At least two dozen attempts are known to have been made by others since the last record was set in 2013, but only one managed to break 30 hours. Toman, Tabbutt and Chadwick succeeded not just in breaking a record many people thought would be difficult or impossible to break. They utterly destroyed it, making the trip in less than 27 and a half hours.
The Cannonball Run previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.
posted by Sokka shot first (88 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Mayor West at 8:58 AM on December 4, 2019 [51 favorites]


As possibly one of the least responsible people on here when it comes to cars, I'd just like to say this record is entirely irresponsible and it irritates me that it gets so much coverage. It is wildly dangerous and has SO MUCH that is out of the control of the people competing that it is only luck we haven't had one of these teams end up in a fiery ball of wreckage, taking a couple of innocent people with them (or worse).

I wish this nonsense would either evaporate or, better, evolve into an actual controlled environment challenge.
posted by Brockles at 8:59 AM on December 4, 2019 [45 favorites]


Barreling across the country at 120MPH, relying on a network of other spoiled rich kids to sniff out any speed traps that would result not in a speeding ticket, but in jailtime and having their custom-made vehicle seized... how is the DA in one of the places where they gave GPS data proving that they were traveling 50MPH over the speed limit not putting out a warrant for their arrest?
posted by Mayor West at 9:03 AM on December 4, 2019 [34 favorites]


Thirteen year old me who thought that Gumball Rally was the best movie ever would have been excited by this.

Fifty-something me is just happy that no one died.
posted by octothorpe at 9:03 AM on December 4, 2019 [17 favorites]


Because they can't prove who was driving, I'm guessing.
posted by Brockles at 9:04 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is terrible and terrifying. This seems like reasonable justification to have their drivers licenses suspended if not outright revoked. Wonder where they are registered.
posted by enfa at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


[General frustration elided.] The registered auto owner should be on the hook for any traffic violations unless they previously reported the car stolen or can point to another specific person as being responsible.

The whole system where we can't stop dangerous drivers because they're able to obfuscate their identities inside a car needs to be dismantled.
posted by asperity at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2019 [14 favorites]


First image features a bozo with one of those thin blue line American flags so I just noped right out. Perfect embodiment of white boy authoritarianism, who love cop power and just skip the whole rule of law thing. An AMG is the perfect car for these guys.
posted by zenon at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2019 [30 favorites]


ok. I have driven across the country, from northern NJ to bay area (pretty much the entire length of route 80 from its beginning to end) I was not racing but I didn't have time to dally. we did not quite 5 full days, with of course, stopping to sleep every night and eating and bathroom/leg stretch breaks. its pretty exhausting. I drove about 75% of the trip myself as I was teaching my travel companion to drive a stick as we were going...good plan! its a looooong drive.

so this trip was essentially 1 day. I have known people to do this trip in 3 days. but 27 hours...that's just insane. so yeah, this is extremely dickish entitled behavior boys-will-be-boys until someone gets killed...
posted by supermedusa at 9:16 AM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


Mayor West: how is the DA in one of the places where they gave GPS data proving that they were traveling 50MPH over the speed limit not putting out a warrant for their arrest?

Brockles: Because they can't prove who was driving, I'm guessing.

Or where they were driving. They could say they were driving on a closed course, where those speeds are tame.

From the article:
Although Cannonball drivers, including Toman and Tabbutt, claim to be hyper-focused and safe while driving two to three times the posted speed limit, the US ain't Germany, where the left lane on the Autobahn is kept clear for the fastest drivers.
It's more than having a high-speed only lane: 8 reasons that Germany’s Autobahn is so much better than different from US highways, where Business Insider also notes that the speeds are unrestricted only in open, rural areas; German driving preparation and testing is far more rigorous than in the U.S., and similarly the vehicles get more frequent and thorough inspections; the Autobahn is concrete, making for a better driving surface (but a much more expensive one, which is why concrete is only found in high-volume sections of U.S. routes); passing on the left is strictly enforced; and tailgating is heavily fined (when police are actually on the road).

The other place that where drivers travel at higher speeds is in rural South Africa, where there are huge, open roads in rural areas with very low traffic. They don't design the roads to Autobahn standards, but the traffic volumes don't require it. You can find some of those landscapes in the U.S., but not enough to get across the country safely in just over a day.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:25 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


I like Finland's approach to speeding. It would be particularly helpful to be applied to those who can afford the kinds of vehicles, equipment and logistical support required to do this kind of driving.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:30 AM on December 4, 2019 [19 favorites]


how is the DA in one of the places where they gave GPS data proving that they were traveling 50MPH over the speed limit not putting out a warrant for their arrest?

Because they can't prove who was driving, I'm guessing.


I just listened to a podcast about the Bolian/Black run, and when this came up, the consensus was that the vast majority of cops would think a Cannonball Run is incredibly cool and would react somewhere on a spectrum from letting them off to actively helping them until they hit the next jurisdiction. I'd be shocked if DAs were much different on that front (at least in the absence of a significant incident). It's hard to get convicted when the people responsible for doing so think what you've done is just some good old-fashioned fun, and if you've seen cops drive, you probably have an idea what their personal respect for the dangers of driving unsafely fast is.
posted by Copronymus at 9:30 AM on December 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


lol I really should've looked at the comments for the previous threads before pulling the trigger on this one
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:35 AM on December 4, 2019 [25 favorites]


I took a week to do San Jose to Boston. I-80 to Ohio, I-90 the rest of the way. There are some stretches that you could probably do with little relative risk to others due to both the straight, flat nature of the roads and limited traffic (i.e. Wendover to Argonite over the salt flats, Grand Island to Lincoln although there's more traffic there).

It just seems suicidal when they talk about "did not exceed 175mph". Yeah, a C63 AMG with top notch tires, carbon ceramic brakes and what not can drop from 60 to nothing in a hundred feet (2/5ths the length of your average sedan) but kinetic energy is velocity squared not velocity linear. Stopping from 60mph in a C63 AMG (4000ish pounds) you have to dissipate 650,000 joules. An average hand grenade is about 250,000 joules. Stopping from 175mph would mean dissipating 5.5 million joules. The energy of 22 hand grenades. So you need to dissipate 9 times the energy for three times the speed. You're going to take nearly 1/7th of a mile to stop!

Talking about not realizing deer were a problem. Son, if you hit a deer at 175mph there isn't a material that exists that's going to leave a passenger safety compartment intact after a 150lb deer has its way with the car.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:41 AM on December 4, 2019 [27 favorites]


Not excusing any of this, yes, speed runs are dumb, and fuck these assholes in particular etc.

And I'm on record for basically mostly hating our reliance on cars and the car culture in the US.

But I've been on a couple of speed runs in ludicrously fast sports cars with people that were very skilled and otherwise safe drivers.

One of these was with a friend of a friend who owned a fully loaded and tuned BMW M5. We needed to get a mutual friend all the way across the LA basin from south Orange County to Hollywood in afternoon to early evening rush hour traffic so they could sign and finalize a record contract before a time limit ran out, and they needed me as carpool HOV lane ballast.

The driver-owner spent time in Germany and held a German license, spent time at tracks like Nuremburgring and the usual stuff that Euro style sport-touring drivers get into.

That drive was... ridiculously fast. Sure, we never even had a chance to really break the speed limit above and beyond the local LA traffic norms - which can be as much as 20 MPH over for the flow because that's LA - because of the traffic but our driver cut through that traffic like some kind of ninja or master, and this was before GPS autorouting.

Parts of his improvised route involved skipping some of the more complicated freeway interchanges entirely and switching to surface streets with timed lights and applying LA's version of The Knowledge to skip the backups at the interchanges and picking the freeway up again on the other side, as well as working the complicated HOV only parts.

It was the kind of driving that was - technically - mostly if not completely legal and even safe because of the driver and car's capabilities. Lane changes were clean and spacious and passes - as much as possible - on the left, all signals and controls followed, just really clean surgical driving. It was also just really aggressive and took full advantage of the M5s capabilities to accelerate and stop a lot better than pretty much any car we passed on the run.

To be honest it was a fuck ton of utterly terrifying fun. I think I started cackling and laughing just 15 minutes into the drive because up until then I had no idea a street legal car could move like that. I mean, yeah, fuck BMWs and M5s and stuff, but man, that car was something else entirely.


Another speed run involved a different friend who had a pretty ludicrous Porsche. He had never been to LA before, and I was living in SF at the time. As I recall the story was he had just cleared the points on his license so he wanted to see if he could get more, I guess?

It ended up being remarkably mundane and boring? It was kind of lightly raining most of the way, traffic was super light and I think it was mostly mid day, mid week traffic in a straight shot down I-5. We were running an advanced radar detector, and I did a lot of scoping and spotting with some good binoculars.

If I'm remembering correctly our time was well under 6 hours. I had my own hand held mapping GPS. Moving average was about 90, with a total stopped time of about 30-40 minutes because we actually stopped for lunch at some point. Max speed was, uh, 120ish? 125? Certainly the fastest I've ever gone on land in any vehicle. I kept the all time trip max speed setting on my GPS for years before losing it when I let the batteries run out for too long.


It might mean something that I later replaced (not beat) that personal speed record in that GPS the night I bombed down Pine Street in Seattle on my bicycle at 64 MPH, which was certainly a lot more thrilling than 100+ in a Porsche. I used to regularly hit 40-50 going down Denny just coasting and keeping the brakes light. Time it right and you blast across Westlake so fast you get G-force compressions almost all the way coasting up the hill to Denny Park.

This is why I am not allowed to own a motorcycle. You're welcome.
posted by loquacious at 9:53 AM on December 4, 2019 [27 favorites]


This is madness.

I might've found it charming in a ne'er-do-well sort of way when I was younger, but probably not. Back then I did my own share of recreational speeding (and had a long string of high-power sports cars to do it in), but to be successful at this is to be safe and aware.

Consequently, yeah, I used a fancy radar detector (Valentine One, fwiw), but I also didn't go wildly faster than the vehicles around me, because that way lies INSANE AMOUNTS OF DANGER -- plus, it freaks other people out, and that's not cool. 100MPH on a deserted stretch of straightaway interstate? Maybe, once or twice. But you realize VERY quickly that your margin for error is super, super thin at that speed. If somebody had a shitty day at the tire factory, you could die.

So my usually highway behavior was 75 or 80 or so. Maybe a little faster, if conditions permitted. That's as fast as I ever really wanted to go for any period of time.

Then I got older, and stopped tolerating the law-enforcement stress of it, and also for lots of life reasons spent lots less time on the highway. And then something funny happened: the 55 MPH limit became 65, which then became 70 and in some places 75MPH.

I'd love to say I don't speed so much anymore because I'm older and wiser, but a good chunk of it is that I never really wanted to go any faster than 75-80 for long periods of time anyway -- and nowadays on lots of Interstates that's either legal or barely speeding at all.
posted by uberchet at 9:53 AM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


The last time the record was broken I remember reading about it here on metafilter as well, it sounded hard to believe. Since then, I have actually driven cross country myself several times and it seems more plausible than I originally thought. There are just so many swaths of wide open nothingness in this country. I wonder if the frequency of police speed traps in lower-population areas might be lower now.

I can't think of anything offhand, but if there is any felony involved in their conduct, they could get all of them for conspiracy, since they wouldn't have to prove which one was driving at any particular time.
posted by skewed at 10:11 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Without the corpse of Burt Reynolds strapped to the roof like Mitt Romney's dog, it means nothing to me.
posted by thelonius at 10:11 AM on December 4, 2019 [15 favorites]


Without the corpse of Burt Reynolds strapped to the roof like Mitt Romney's dog, it means nothing to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcZUHSRMXzA
posted by loquacious at 10:13 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Man, Metafilter, we got old and turned into a bunch of narcs. I mean yeah, thinking rationally of course this is a terrible irresponsible thing. I thought the article about the race covered that pretty well. But, well, there's some fun in it too.

My favorite part is how they disguised the fancy 700hp AMG to look like an ordinary Accord. Finally this past decade of ugly Mercedes' styling pays off!

I'd love to know more about the fuel cell. Also the refueling arrangement. The article's pretty thin on both and I can't make any sense out of the fuel cell link.
posted by Nelson at 10:15 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


It was the kind of driving that was - technically - mostly if not completely legal and even safe because of the driver and car's capabilities.

Except the skilled driver isn't the only person on the road. I'm worried about the other drivers who might panic when they see a car coming up behind them at 100mph and do something stupid.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:16 AM on December 4, 2019 [15 favorites]


Man, Metafilter, we got old and turned into a bunch of narcs

You're only a narc if you're tattling on illegal behavior that is harmless (e.g., smoking a joint) or actually good (e.g., doxxing fascists).

If you're tattling on illegal behavior that recklessly endangers the lives of random bystanders, for the sake of some stupid testosterone-fueled frat-boy thrill ride, you're not a narc.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:22 AM on December 4, 2019 [49 favorites]


I don't think it's "we got old and turned into a bunch of narcs," I think it's "the US has one of the worst safety records for a 'developed country' when it comes to driving already, killing 40,000 people a year" and we didn't know that when we were 13.

Honestly, reading the description of this race made me think of the post-apocalyptic death-race John Osborne arranges in Nevil Shute's On The Beach - drive fast, the consequences of a mistake are that you die, but they were all going to die in a couple of months anyway because of the radiation poisoning, go out doing something you love. And at least that was on a closed course.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:27 AM on December 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Story makes me think of an estate sale I went to recently where the previous owner had multiple speed radar detectors stocked. Probably not a cannonball runner.

These sorts of things are dangerous and flat-out illegal, but something other than to impress people or get a thrill driving fast may be a factor.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 10:32 AM on December 4, 2019


A legal (ie no speeding) EV record of 48 hours was set earlier this year. Driving flat-out in an internal-combustion vehicle doesn't even get you down to half of that? Weird.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:35 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


Maybe it's because I just watched an episode of Watchmen but I can't help but think that this would be a very difficult race to participate in if one were black.
posted by kingv at 10:36 AM on December 4, 2019 [31 favorites]


Driving fast is scary. Driving fast is extremely fun.

After I put the new motor in my Impala, right about 100 miles of break-in, I got passed on a desolate stretch of I55 in southern Missouri. I was doing about 80, but they passed so quickly I could barely tell it was a Mitsubishi Starion and some flavor of Lexus. After two beats, I decided to catch up and convoy with them.

The speedometer goes to 120. Based on the angle of the speedo needle, we were doing about 20MPH faster than that. And I had to catch them first. Best guess? 155, but I didn't keep up long. The HOOM-HOOM-HOOM of the road became deafening.
posted by notsnot at 10:42 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Except the skilled driver isn't the only person on the road. I'm worried about the other drivers who might panic when they see a car coming up behind them at 100mph and do something stupid.

Sure, and there could be debris in the road or all kinds of stuff. In the case of the first story with the M5 I don't think we ever actually broke 80-90 due to the heavy traffic. None of the passes were at excessively unmatched speeds, either, and he was fastidious about keeping a safe stopping distance clear in front of him and not tailgating. The utter lack of tailgating and the use of planned lane changes and staying out of wolf packs or clogs to keep lots of room around the car was one of the things that really impressed me most about the driving. It was really precise, professional and aggressively defensive driving that would fit right in on the Autobahn in either city or full speed country segments.

I'm also now remembering I dated someone in my early 20s who grew up in the UK and driving all over Europe. She had a total sleeper of a tuned up Golf GTI and could also cut through heavy traffic like some kind of wizard or ninja without being unsafe or breaking traffic laws. That was really my first experience with European style driving and how serious they were about driving skills. She made LA drivers look really bad.

Another favorite kind of traffic cutting wizards are the Eastern European drivers they seem to get for the Bolt Bus line between Seattle and Portland. There's one driver I've had a few times and he is very, very serious and very Slavic and it's like hitching a ride with The Transporter or something, but on a huge bus with WiFi. I've been on a few trips where they're somehow flowing through stop and go traffic on the interstate and even jumping off to side roads to make it either well on time or even really early in ways that puts Amtrak or even Bolt's parent company Greyhound or even most airlines to shame.

The fellow I'm thinking of in particular seems to enjoy his job a great deal, too and takes obvious pride in the safety, speed and quality of the driving. Every ride I've had was super smooth and comfortable without excessive G-forces or hard braking or anything yet just moves relentlessly forward and somehow cuts through traffic like butter.

Not to defend the assholes in the FPP, but I find these skills fascinating. Some people definitely have a knack and a gift for this, like they can mentally will the traffic to part in front of them or find just the right path or flow to slipstream through it without causing as much turbulence or risk.
posted by loquacious at 10:42 AM on December 4, 2019 [13 favorites]


> Man, Metafilter, we got old and turned into a bunch of narcs.

brb, filing an emergency appeal to the Unicode Consortium for a proper jerk-off motion emoji.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:49 AM on December 4, 2019 [17 favorites]


I'd love to know more about the fuel cell. Also the refueling arrangement. The article's pretty thin on both
I've read more on a more car focused site. Calling it a fuel cell is a weird misnomer. It is an auxiliary gas tank holding 40 gallons that was installed directly over the factory tank and gravity fed into the original tank, significantly increasing range and lowering the frequency of refueling stops. When they needed to refuel, they just pulled into an ordinary gas station and refueled their secondary tank through the trunk, which in turn filled the factory tank.
posted by Lame_username at 10:52 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


I do think that the police have inconsistent feelings about things like this. They would most certainly write a citation that included reckless driving and probably impound the vehicle if they caught the drivers. At the same time, I was in a friend's car that was driven by a buddy of his who is a state police officer on our way to a college football game. I'm confident we averaged more than 100mph and his friend assured us that if we were pulled over by any police, he would not receive a ticket.
posted by Lame_username at 10:56 AM on December 4, 2019


anyway, Two Lane Blacktop is a great movie.
posted by philip-random at 11:13 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


I do think that the police have inconsistent feelings about things like this.
This is because police do not feel they are subject to the same laws as the rest of us. This is not a feature.
posted by uberchet at 11:15 AM on December 4, 2019 [29 favorites]


This is a form of toxic masculinity. If you want to drive an overall average speed of 103 mph, do it someplace safe.

Cannonball Run You misspelled Dick Size War. (I always chuckle at the DSW shoe store.)
posted by theora55 at 11:22 AM on December 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Man, Metafilter, we got old and turned into a bunch of narcs.

Yeah, the longer you've been around, the likelier it is that you've lived through having someone you love be killed by a speeding driver. Kind of sucks the fun out of it.
posted by Kat Allison at 11:33 AM on December 4, 2019 [22 favorites]


If you want to drive an overall average speed of 103 mph, do it someplace safe.

For reference, the 24 hours of Daytona has an average speed of 83mph, and requires at least 3 drivers to do it safely. Le Mans 24 hours has a higher average speed (136mph) and is considered one of the hardest races in the world. So to be in the middle of that *on the public highway* for 27 hours is just.... stupid.
posted by Brockles at 11:36 AM on December 4, 2019 [13 favorites]


Yeah, the longer you've been around, the likelier it is that you've lived through having someone you love be killed by a speeding driver. Kind of sucks the fun out of it.

Or known someone who died following the kind of behavior you yourself have engaged in went wrong for them, and had a there-but-for-the-grace-of-god moment, an I-better-calm-the-fuck-down moment.

For me, this is why I gave up motorcycles.
posted by everythings_interrelated at 11:41 AM on December 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Got a chance to go to Rome for first time last year. I have to say just the "normal" street traffic driving gave me a lot of new appreciation for what's possible. In a (somewhat) scary cab ride to the airport when I complimented the drivers I'd seen in Rome the cab driver called it "driving to the millimeter".
posted by aleph at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Re: Prosecution, in earlier runs, the drivers would wait for the statute of limitations to run out before they unveiled their time so that they weren't charged with crimes. The article mentions November 10, but I wonder if it was November 10, 2016 or something like that.
posted by matrixclown at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2019


I recorded and bragged about breaking the law, but I waited a few months before posting it in HD, it's all good.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:50 AM on December 4, 2019


W/r/t the macho stupidity of rich boys driving too fast, Hunter S. Thompson did it earlier and better.

I recall the motorbike driving instructor I had who put the young men, insisting that they could ride fast with reflexes and expensive tech and skills, in their places; ‘the kangaroos don’t care, and the bitumen doesn’t give a shit’
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:00 PM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


If you forgo the car, it's been done in 7 days 15 hours 56minutes by bicycle. Which is kinda neat.
posted by alex_skazat at 12:11 PM on December 4, 2019 [19 favorites]


Time it right and you blast across Westlake so fast you get G-force compressions almost all the way coasting up the hill to Denny Park

As a Seattle kid this gives me the cold sweats... loquacious have you done the Dead Baby Downhill?
posted by sammyo at 12:16 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah, these guys are assholes. Their desire to break some stupid record does not justify imperilling the lives of others on the road. Part of the social contract of driving on public roads is that everyone more or less follows the rules. This is bullshit. I don’t care how great a driver people feel they are, they have no right to pull this shit on public roads. I would be all for permanently banning them from ever driving again.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:33 PM on December 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


I do 1/2 of this drive 4X a year (in a minivan). At least 15% of traffic (there isn't much) is going 100+mph and seeing cops on the interstate is pretty rare west of Texas.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:10 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


One of the spotters talked his way out of a ticket for going 130mph by claiming his Ferrari was "acting up"?? Hmmmm...
posted by clawsoon at 2:30 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


I believe public roads exist for the transportation of people and goods, and for that purpose only. Not only do I endorse harsh punishments for street racers, but I also think we should ban mobile billboards and funeral processions.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:48 PM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is all a diversion for Cledus Snow and his truck full of 400 cases of bootleg Coors.
posted by peeedro at 2:56 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


> A legal (ie no speeding) EV record of 48 hours was set earlier this year.

This is what stood out to me:
First record: Set by EV sticking strictly to speed limits: 48 hours 10 minutes.
Second record: Set by EV not observing any speed limits: 45 hours 16 minutes.

Breaking the law got them there 6% faster. Congrats.
posted by ardgedee at 3:17 PM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


At least 15% of traffic (there isn't much) is going 100+mph and seeing cops on the interstate is pretty rare west of Texas.

I recall driving the I-5 between Sacramento and Los Angeles back in the early 1980s when the posted speed limit was 55 mph. Traffic was sparse. It was blazing hot. But I soon realized the average vehicle was going upwards of 70-75 mph and that 80 was hardly abnormal. In fact it seemed about right for the vehicle I was driving, so I settled in. Every now and then somebody would just tear past. Sometimes it was a cop.
posted by philip-random at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2019


I prefer the London equivalent, which requires a similar level of stamina, steely-eyed determination and total disregard for the law* but can be done in less than 17 hours with a much smaller chance of killing fellow travellers (unless they stop at the top of the escalator, in which case no jury would convict you).

*in this case, the unwritten but no less ironclad law of not doing anything on the Tube that might suggest you are a lunatic or a tourist

on the other hand it would be pretty dope if someone keyed the shit out of every car this guy owns and also i dunno broke some windows. and also punched him in the face.

Didn’t realise it was possible to be this tough on the internet. Impressive.
posted by inire at 4:29 PM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


I wonder how much of it is jurisdiction and just logistics. On some of those middle of nowhere stretches, having the popo out and about would mean that you put two officers in a car and send them out driving to nowhere for four hours, turning around and coming back for four hours, probably needing to refuel. Two cops, car wear, gas, just for one day of patrolling that stretch of nowhere with a single car.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:32 PM on December 4, 2019


They wouldn't have them driving. Most of the time cops sit in the median or shoulder and wait for some idiot to do something extremely egregious that's worth stopping the completion of paperwork and chasing said idiot.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:37 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Cars make people so fucking stupid.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:06 PM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


First image features a bozo with one of those thin blue line American flags so I just noped right out.

My initial thought as well. Then I also thought that perhaps their idea was that this might curry some degree of favour with a cop that pulls them over. Like that old idea of putting a police charity sticker on one's car in the hope that it will get you out of traffic tickets.
posted by good in a vacuum at 5:07 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've wondered this since I was a kid...why are cars designed to go so far above the speed limit in the first place?
posted by captain afab at 5:19 PM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


Because it is possible to have recreational pursuits involving cars going extremely fast at appropriate times and places.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:24 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


I wish this nonsense would either evaporate or, better, evolve into an actual controlled environment challenge.

I'm contractually required to note the existence of a third option in which costumed drivers in custom automobiles travel across the country intentionally running people over for our amusement, but that ship sailed a while back, even before the treacherous French destroyed our telephone system.

But mostly I wanted to say: Hey, I hear there's this place in France where folks have gone farther than San Diego to Portland ME in a day.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:29 PM on December 4, 2019


I got around just as well with my 60hp 1972 VW beetle that could maybe push 120 kph as I do in my modern Golf that can easily do twice that speed. People just like the idea of being able to go fast, even if they spend most of their time averaging under 50kph. My Honda has an average speed readout, and as we live in a city it rarely goes above 35 or 40 kph.
posted by fimbulvetr at 5:30 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


a C63 AMG with top notch tires, carbon ceramic brakes and what not can drop from 60 to nothing in a hundred feet (2/5ths the length of your average sedan)

Damn but they grow some big-ass cars wherever you are.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:34 PM on December 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


Mayor West: how is the DA in one of the places where they gave GPS data proving that they were traveling 50MPH over the speed limit not putting out a warrant for their arrest?

Brockles: Because they can't prove who was driving, I'm guessing.

Interesting. Here in BC they just charge the owner if a driver isn't clear.

Or where they were driving. They could say they were driving on a closed course, where those speeds are tame.

Unless they want to claim this was all a put on they must have been driving in both New York and California. And taking their claim at face value I bet a little digging could find evidence of the car on CCTV footage at many places along their route. Plus their GPS data could be subpoenaed. How ever they organized their assorted helpers I'd bet there is a trail a mile wide on assorted message boards, email accounts etc pre, during and post that would also be available to a court. I'm assuming they also had cell phones and billing data if they used them could provide speed data.

Here in BC cameras that I know about are less than 100kms apart on our major long distance freeway. Even if they only wrote the owner of the car a ticket for excessive speed every 100km segment the fine would be tens of thousands of dollars plus a gazillion points on their licence.

On top of which it wouldn't be much of a stretch to charge them with something like reckless endangerment.

It's motivation that is lacking when it comes to prosecuting these yahoos not a lack of ability. One of these jerk offs is going to mow down a construction worker or a cop who happens to be issuing a ticket on the side of the freeway and that will be the end of this contest. Or at least the public bragging about it.

The comparisons to autoban driving are completely irrelevant. Besides the human factors highways have a maximum design speed that effects everything from the font size of signs to maximum curvature to off ramp length. Saying that safe travel at speed FOO is possible on any highway just because it's possible on the autobahn is ignoring vast swaths of what makes a speed safe.

The car was equipped with brake light and taillight kill switches,
And this seems completely unnecessary until they've come to the attention of cops. At which point this is just further endangering the public simply because they don't want to get a relatively minor speeding ticket (IE: even in BC at most it would be a couple grand). Even if one thinks the achievement is cool this sort of behaviour on a busted run is straight up irredeemably anti-social.

What is impressive is the refueling times. An unmodified C63 AMG gets about 10l/100km highway (and that at a reasonable 55mph and not laden with three people and 1-200 litres of fuel). The 4556 kilometres of the trip would have burned a conservative 450L of fuel (I wouldn't be surprised if it was 50% more). That's probably at least two stops and more likely three depending on the size of their fuel storage. Even at two stops of 11 minutes each that's paying for and putting on 250 litres of fuel. Maximum legal flow rate of a consumer US pump is 38l/minute or 6.5 minutes once the fuel starts flowing per 250l. Plus here pumps generally won't dispense more than 125 or so litres of fuel in a single transaction. If they used 750 litres of fuel dispensing time alone would be 20 minutes. I wonder if they had one of their buddies waiting at their fuel stops with a pump already energized and ready to go.
posted by Mitheral at 7:31 PM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


The article says they spent 22.5 minutes refueling.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:34 PM on December 4, 2019


Man, Metafilter, we got old and turned into a bunch of narcs.

If Metafilter had enough time, they'd take those rosary bleeds and stuff 'em up the driver's nose.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:42 PM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


These bleeds?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 PM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


"These guys suck" combined with "I want too" is a complex emotion.
posted by Admiral Viceroy at 2:31 AM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


(BLEEDS!)
posted by uberchet at 7:07 AM on December 5, 2019


As a Seattle kid this gives me the cold sweats... loquacious have you done the Dead Baby Downhill?

Yeah and they ride too slow.
posted by loquacious at 10:03 AM on December 5, 2019


I've had an AMG pass me at twice the speed limit with my mom in the car. I hope everyone gets to their destination safely, but if anyone should die in a fire, these doucebags should die twice.

It's one thing to be young and reckless... it's another to have abundant experience and money and still decide everyone else is less important than your hobby. Killing people going about their normal lives is an obvious and direct result of this. It is murder, as proven in Germany. The defense said that they thought nothing could go wrong: the definition of overconfident.

Zero respect. They deserve less.
posted by netowl at 1:35 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


netowl: It is murder, as proven in Germany. The defense said that they thought nothing could go wrong: the definition of overconfident.

And, if the Google translation is to be believed, it's also the definition of deadly indifference, which provided the path to a murder charge rather than mere negligent homicide.

Am I reading correctly that those German drivers ran through a bunch of red lights?
posted by clawsoon at 5:12 AM on December 6, 2019


The level of consensus-vitriol in this thread is interesting.

Like most US folks, I imagine myself to be a fairly responsible driver -- lots of following distance, reasonable and prudent speeds, knowledgeable of how my car handles in snow and ice, all that good stuff. I've never been in an accident. And yet, after something around a million miles of driving, I could not even count all the times when only the grace of Lady Fortuna has kept me from being killer, killed or both.

It's hard to argue that these folks weren't guilty of reckless indifference to the value of human life. But for my fellow drivers, I wonder how much of the disproportionate anger here can be attributed to our own suppressed guilt at our own recklessness in ever getting behind the wheel in the first place.
posted by Not A Thing at 8:20 AM on December 6, 2019


I'm sorry, but the idea that anyone behind the wheel is just lucky they haven't killed anyone (and thus anger at these guys is "disproportionate") is ludicrous. What they did was many orders of magnitude more dangerous to the general public than anything nearly anyone else behind the wheel has ever done, and they did it so they could brag about having done it. They are reprehensible, and frankly should be in jail.

Also, if you've lost count of the number of times you nearly killed someone driving, you are a bad driver and should stop driving.
posted by tocts at 8:45 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much of the disproportionate anger here can be attributed to our own suppressed guilt at our own recklessness in ever getting behind the wheel in the first place.

Just you.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


What they did was many orders of magnitude more dangerous to the general public than anything nearly anyone else behind the wheel has ever done

I highly doubt that - it's just more spectacular than the usual drink driving, mobile phone use while driving, speeding in places that aren't interstates, etc.
posted by inire at 10:14 AM on December 6, 2019


Just you.

Ah, the ol' "stop personally attacking yourself!" I guess it's hard to improve on the classics.

There's a lot of interesting conversations that could be had about how this story brings out so many different contradictions in American cars-and-cops culture. But I guess we've already settled on "These Are Bad People Who Did A Bad Thing And Must Be Punished By Good* Cops, Because Nobody Would Ever Die If Not For Bad People."

Maybe some other thread then.

*Obvious disclaimer is obvious.
posted by Not A Thing at 3:24 PM on December 6, 2019


There's a lot of interesting conversations that could be had about how this story brings out so many different contradictions in American cars-and-cops culture.

Name even one.
posted by tocts at 5:32 PM on December 6, 2019


At least they’re eponysterical. Project much?
posted by Burhanistan at 5:52 PM on December 6, 2019


Name even one.

The valorisation of the police as set against the lauding of those going to great lengths to evade the police and break the law, and how that intersects with race and American ideals of liberty, to name a blindingly obvious one?

Or the disconnect between the widespread acceptance of mild speeding and the antipathy shown here towards much rarer incidents of extreme speeding, despite the former causing more harm than the latter, and what that says about people’s understanding of statistical risk?

But I sense your question might have been rhetorical...
posted by inire at 6:44 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't see anyone valorizing the police here, and MeFi of all places is not really that kind of scene.

However, I don't see how there's any remotely interesting discussion in that vein about people who are endangering the lives of unwitting participants so they can set a record for driving fast. They aren't making a point about car culture, nor are they examples of anything that somehow highlights aspects of the rest of the US driving experience. They're just a bunch of assholes who think it makes them manly to do something both pointless and dangerous to others.

There's an entire sport for people who want to spend countless hours planning precise driving routes and then executing that as a team -- it's called rally racing. The difference is, nobody is driving on a rally track or standing beside it as a spectator without knowing full well the danger they're putting themselves in.
posted by tocts at 6:58 PM on December 6, 2019


I don't see anyone valorizing the police here, and MeFi of all places is not really that kind of scene.

Indeed - that’s why the hypothetical interesting conversation would have been about the broader “American cars-and-cops culture” (per Not A Thing’s comment), rather than the Mefi debate about ‘Is Cannonball Run good Y / N’.

I don't see how there's any remotely interesting discussion

I wonder why.
posted by inire at 7:11 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ahh yes, there could be an interesting conversation, but you can't actually have it because ... I'm stopping you from typing?

Please, tell me, what's the interesting point you think is so really worth talking about that these assholes need more media exposure? Oh, but no, it's just ... it's a "hypothetical" point that you just can't actually say out loud what it is.

I wonder why, indeed.
posted by tocts at 7:38 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it’s a really low form of expression to kvetch about hypothetical discussion that people could be having if they weren’t so uptight or whatever instead of actually having anything of substance to bring along said lines. Just bring that if you have it instead of projecting your baggage on others.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


conflict negotiation tactic.

When you're convinced your right, get curious. You may be missing something.
posted by philip-random at 10:42 PM on December 6, 2019


Ahh yes, there could be an interesting conversation, but you can't actually have it because ... I'm stopping you from typing?

In a manner of speaking, yes, you are, by demonstrating that any such conversation (or even references to such a conversation, apparently) will be met with repeated comments about the worthlessness of that conversation, speculations about baggage, assumptions that the discussion equates to support of the idiot subjects of the post, etc. which at this point in a thread has a way of making people not want to engage in it. There have been Metatalks about it, even! They’re worth reading.
posted by inire at 1:05 AM on December 7, 2019


This entire tangent started because someone dropped in to say, effectively: "I totally have very interesting things to say about this topic but you're being so mean by having opinions I don't like that I'll just keep them to myself". This is a bullshit statement. It's what people say when they don't actually have anything to contribute, but don't like where the conversation has gone. It's an attempt, in absence of anything to actually say to push back on what they don't like, to switch the conversation to being about the rules of play instead of the actual topic, and then declare that you've been wronged and stamp out the room triumphantly.

If you actually have something to contribute, then do so.
posted by tocts at 6:08 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


inire: and how that intersects with race and American ideals of liberty

I wonder how different the reaction would've been - here and places very different from here - if these racers hadn't been white.

Or the disconnect between the widespread acceptance of mild speeding and the antipathy shown here towards much rarer incidents of extreme speeding, despite the former causing more harm than the latter, and what that says about people’s understanding of statistical risk?

I'd be interested to know more about this. Is extreme speed really less dangerous, per mile driven, than normal speeding? When I hear "extremely high speed" and "fiery crash" together in a story, I'm not surprised; have I been misled?
posted by clawsoon at 6:21 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


A German take on the oft-repeated the-Autobahn-is-safer-despite-no-speed-limits argument:
According to OECD figures, highways are the safest type of streets, with the risk of fatality approximately six times lower than on other roads and streets. Despite this, the OECD says the risk of fatality increases significantly as speed increases.

The fatality rate over each 1,000-kilometre stretch of German motorways is 30.2 percent, according to European Union data - well above the European average of 26.4 percent.

...

Per capita the results also shed further doubt on Minister Scheuer’s claim, with the Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK all having fewer fatal accidents than Germany.

Per billion kilometres travelled on motorways, Germany’s fatality rate (1.6) is twice as high as that in the UK (0.8).
posted by clawsoon at 6:28 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


This entire tangent started because someone dropped in to say, effectively: "I totally have very interesting things to say about this topic but you're being so mean by having opinions I don't like that I'll just keep them to myself". This is a bullshit statement.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I'd be interested to know more about this. Is extreme speed really less dangerous, per mile driven, than normal speeding? When I hear "extremely high speed" and "fiery crash" together in a story, I'm not surprised; have I been misled?

Not at all - you’re right that on a per-mile basis, higher speed leads pretty directly to a higher risk of accidents generally and accidents involving injuries or fatalities in particular - EU analysis mentions an increase in accident risk of between 1% and 5.5% for every 1 km/h change in speed, although the precise figure varies depending on applicable speed limits (i.e. how fast is everyone else going), road quality and conditions, etc.

The point I had in mind was the prevalence of each type of speeding. Extreme speeding on the level of the guys in the post is much more dangerous for them and others on the road at the time (although it’s mitigated slightly by the really egregious speeding being concentrated on highways), but it’s also, by definition, something way outside the norm. A small number of people will speed to a similar degree given the opportunity, and you have the separate issue of illegal street racing (which is drastically more dangerous than the Cannonball Run, as suggested by the hundreds of reported deaths in US street racing crashes alone since the late 90s and the lack of hundreds of reported deaths tied to Cannonball Run racers), but on a societal rather than individual level, it’s too rare to be a significant risk.

On the other hand, millions of drivers in the US alone are routinely going, say, 10km/h over the speed limit on a daily basis - taking the EU figures as a rough indication, that would result in around a 10% to 50% increase in the risk of an accident for each driver while speeding. Even though you’re starting from a low absolute risk level (so it’s a 50% increase to a small number), multiply that out by the number of drivers on the road every day, and you begin to see why ‘ordinary’ speeding is the bigger issue.

This isn’t to say the guys in the post are blameless - on the contrary. But they’re blameworthy in an individual, moral sense that is easier for us to grasp than the sort of diffuse, societal-level blame that attaches to millions of ordinary drivers. We tend to find it more difficult to deal with large-scale abstract issues (see: climate change), and so end up focusing disproportionately on individual, moral, spectacular issues or incidents that we can instinctively understand and judge. (To be clear, this is a general point, not a criticism of the thread, which was specifically about this particular event.)
posted by inire at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]




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