I Am Not A Race Car Driver — So I Shouldn’t Have To Drive Like One

I almost didn’t get to post anything today, as I was nearly delayed — permanently — as a result of a near-miss on the highway.  While returning home from the post office (and less than five minutes away from my house),  I was in a near-collision.  The road I was on is a four-lane U.S. highway.  The almost-accident occurred when the idiot next to me, impatient as he apparently was riding behind a somewhat slow-moving ice truck, decided to swerve over to the left lane — doing so without looking, without a turn signal, and without regard to whose life he was putting in jeopardy with his racetrack maneuvering.

The problem was, I was already in the left lane, and if I hadn’t made a quick swerve into the middle turn lane myself, he would have collided with me.  As I swerved out of his way, the driver evidently caught sight of me and pulled back into his lane — but only for a second, as when he saw me ducking for safety, he continued right on and sped past the truck.  So much, I guess, for our near-miss — which was forgotten by our friend almost as quickly as was forgotten his responsibility to operate his motor vehicle in a safe fashion.

The driver in question -- on a normal day on the highway

The driver in question -- on a normal day on the highway

We debate constantly as to ways to raise the income levels for our local governments, to lighten traffic on our nation’s roads, and for ways to cut down on the emissions our automobile usage has on the environment.  Well here’s a radical idea — why not start enforcing the rules of the highway as they’re written, and take the people off of the streets who have shown no willingness to show responsibility for either their safety or the safety of their fellow drivers around them?

People like the fool that almost hit me today, for example.  He wasn’t a public official rushing to an emergency, and he also wasn’t a private citizen headed to the hospital or to someone’s aid — unless that desperate situation I don’t know about was taking place at the convenience store that he pulled into not more than a quarter-mile after he almost rammed into me.  He was just a guy in an incredible hurry, and the rules of the road (and my safety along with them) didn’t matter and were going to have to play second fiddle behind his need to be wherever he wanted to be sixty seconds faster.  Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before — it’s another example of the people in today’s society who don’t care about anyone or anything else if it affects what they want.  And as usually is the case, there were no repercussions forthcoming for this NASCAR wanna-be — even from the local police car that was trailing me about five cars behind who, unless he was blind, clearly saw this driver’s reckless actions — and did absolutely nothing about it.  No ticket, no warning — nothing.

I for one would love tougher standards enacted for drivers across the country, even if it meant fewer of those people with licenses to drive.  Piloting an aircraft — even the smallest, single-engine planes — requires strict licencing, and anyone who doesn’t practice safety in the cockpit finds themselves grounded permanently — so why is the licensing for the operation of a multi-ton motor vehicle less strict?  Reckless and careless drivers behind the wheel are just as much of a danger to public safety, and it’s past time that our police start treating it as the serious business it is.   The solution?  Enforce the laws more often, fine reckless drivers accordingly, and if need be, impound the motor vehicles of said drivers as a last step if needed.

That last statement will be the most controversial aspect of my proposal, I’m sure.  As someone pointed out to me, the “right” to drive is something that people in this country would fight bitterly to hold on to, particularly those irresponsible drivers who’d be the first to lose their driving privileges.  But there’s nothing in our Constitution that guarantees the right to operate a motor vehicle.  The argument will be made that, taking away the right to drive of some will impair their ability to function effectively in society — my response is that, so long as they just simply act responsibly behind the wheel, such an action won’t be necessary.  And it they can’t — tough luck.  The laws are on the books for a reason, and people who can’t abide by them have no excuse for what happens as a result, and do not deserve sympathy — no more than the reckless driver that almost ended my day badly earlier would have gotten one iota of sympathy from me.

In the meantime, think of the much-needed money that could be raised by local governments in the form of increased fines collected.  Think of the cut in drive-times responsible drivers would see from having fewer cars on the road.  Think of the possibility of fewer automobiles around the country leading to mass transit becoming more of a necessity around the nation, with the end result being a lower consumption of foreign oil and fewer pollutants released into the atmosphere.  Couple all of that with a safer experience for everyone on the highway, and can anyone say that any of this would be a bad thing?

I for one am sick and tired of having my life put at risk by people who don’t care any more about my safety than they apparently do of their own.  I’ve had too many near-misses over my lifetime to count, and unlike a race-car driver, there’s never been a big money check waiting for me when I pulled into the garage at the end of the day — so I’m tired of having everyday being an exercise in rolling the dice behind the wheel.  I hope I’m not alone in thinking it’s time for a change.

** A quick note ** — due to circumstances beyond my control (this near-wreck and my subsequent rant being only one of them), my weekend wrap-up won’t be up until later this evening, and this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo Award will go up tomorrow, instead of today.  Hope everyone checks back, and thanks for reading.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: