For those who don't know, the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap in Tennessee is one of, if not the greatest, driving roads in the world. Containing 318 curves in an 11-mile stretch, the Tail is visited by both car enthusiasts and motor cyclists from all over the globe. While it brings a healthy amount of tourist dollars to the region, the curvy two-lane road that runs on US-129 has effectively been shut down by an overbearing Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Apparently the governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, has instituted a program to reduce traffic deaths and accidents on US 129, and so the 11-mile stretch known as the Tail of the Dragon has been saturated with Tennessee Highway Patrol officers writing tickets at a hand-cramping rate. The situation has gotten so bad, US 129 is now being called Tennessee's newest toll road. The Tail of the Dragon website is keeping a running list of tickets that have been issued and why, and the reasons are rather ridiculous. Cars and motorcycles are being ticketed for literally just touching the double yellow line that indicates no passing allowed. Tickets for going 5 mph above the posted 30 mph limit are also supposedly common. And then there are reports of blatant harrassment, with THP officers caught tailgating drivers for miles and threatening arrest for minor violations.
Enthusiasts and those invested in the health of the region are trying to fight the crackdown, even keeping an ongoing photo archive of THP cruisers breaking the law themselves. Alas, authorities have not relented and will reportedly be watching the Dragon like a hawk for at least the next month.
[Source: Tail of the Dragon]