Archive for the 'Driving' Category

09
Dec
07

Driving test requires parking test no?

A young man is reported to have passed his driving test, with dubious results:

A student driver in Houston passed his test, then crashed the car into the Texas Department of Public Safety building. – [Yahoo/AP]

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you have to pass a parking test in order to pass a drivers test? Or did he hit a blunt in celebration after passing? Someone help me out here…

Honestly I think the parking test should include a solo session where you get to parallel park in the small space between endless rows of bikes, in front of a bar known to be frequented by your local bad news biker gang. Seriously. If you make it out of there in one piece, you pass…

Driver passes test, then hits building – [Yahoo/AP]

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18
Nov
07

More car crushing idiocy…

It would appear that Australia is taking a page from Californias law book of senseless and excessive practices:

Street racers in Australia will soon see their beloved cars being deliberately smashed by the authorities in videos posted on the Internet.

The often flashy, souped-up vehicles will be wrecked in crash tests under laboratory conditions, the New South Wales state government announced. – [Yahoo/AFP]

Now I’m sure some of you out there are thinking “Serves them right!”, but I assure you, this law is not a good thing. There is a reason this hasn’t been done in the past. This is technically a violation of an individuals rights. When convicted killers go to prison, even they do not have their belongings destroyed. They may be confiscated and cataloged, but they get them back when they get out. If they get out.

So how exactly can anyone think that this is a fair penalty for any lesser crime? I’d rather impose this penalty for drunk drivers, rather than street racers. At least the street racers are actually in full control of their faculties, and some of them (let me iterate the *some*) are actually really good drivers. The same cannot be said for drunks. But the kicker is that ultimately, as a deterrent, it wouldn’t work for that either.

These kinds of knee-jerk, intimidation-based legislative decisions set very dangerous precedents that could have very profound future ramifications. And to top it off, it’s not like this is going to deter anyone from street racing anyway. Most of the folks who street race will do it regardless of the penalties. Literally. These laws are little more than public displays to make others feel like something is being done about the problem, when in fact, it will have little effect on any hard core racers.

However to their credit, the Australians have adopted a better use for the vehicles than just crushing them. They will be used for crash tests. Which is orders of magnitude better than Californias pointless “crush ’em all” solution. But both laws are seriously troublesome. The law will have to be very specific on what constitutes “street racing”, and even then I’m sure many police officers will still abuse it, much like how the “aggressive driving” box is seemingly checked on tickets at will, as opposed to, let’s say, the tickets of drivers who actually meet the legal definition of “aggressive driving”…

Aussie street racers to see cars crashed by govt – [Yahoo/AFP]

04
Nov
07

Technology is no substitute for common sense.

Given the number of different, varied and complex technologies that goes into our everyday lives, even the simple act of reading this very post, I would be the last person to say that technology isn’t one of the most awesome things we have going for us.

Unfortunately there will also always be people who abuse it. Or simply don’t know how to use it properly:

A Czech lorry driver was stranded for three nights in south-west England after his satellite navigation system directed him down a narrow country lane, British newspapers reported Friday. – [Yahoo/AFP]

OK, obviously, there has been a large number of similar GPS navigation system related mishaps recorded, and probably even many more that we never got to hear about. And I can understand that many people rely heavily on their GPS navigation systems, but there is still one small problem I still have difficulties wrapping my head around.

Under what logical rule set would you ignore what your eyes are telling you based on what the GPS navigation system is telling you? Seriously. If you come to a bridge that says it’s out of order, but your GPS navigation says that’s the route you should take, under which common sense rules does it make sense to continue past the highly visible warning signs, and obvious construction markings, ultimately ending up in the river?

Honestly, if, as a truck driver, a given route seemed like it might be too narrow to navigate, why would what your GPS navigation systems information over ride what your own eyes are telling you? People, please remember, technology is only as useful as the people who use it. It is no replacement for using your head.

In fact most of the time, the gray matter in your old noggin is the most valuable piece of technology available to. Please use it. That’s what it’s there for.

Czech lorry stuck for three days after sat-nav blunder – [Yahoo/AFP]

31
Aug
07

A minor “Hit and Run” with tragic consequences…

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths to which some people will go to avoid bearing the responsibility of their actions, as displayed by the ff article submitted by a friend:

A woman, fleeing the scene of a wreck that she was involved in, crashed her car into a tree Thursday night, killing her child, police said.

The woman, who was not identified, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. But the boy, believed to be between 5 and 7 years old, died at the scene, said Atlanta police Officer James Polite.

Police said that minutes before the collision, the woman ā€“ who has not yet been named ā€“ was involved in a minor wreck on Jonesboro Road and Cleveland Avenue in Southeast Atlanta. – [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

You know, even though we don’t know the details of the original accident that caused this woman to decide to flee, and eventually careen out of control, it is easy to see the trail of bad decisions that got her there. First, a “Hit and run” is just plain irresponsible.

We may never know why she decided to run that day, but regardless of who is at fault, if you are involved in a traffic collision, to drive away from the scene without ascertaining the condition and well being of anyone else in the collision is just not acceptable.

But to then decide to drive your vehicle so fast that you lose control of it going round a curve with your young son in the car is just plain negligent. Plain and simple. I firmly believe that the most honest measure of our character can be seen in how we react when we are faced with difficult situations. And to be quite frank, I think this lady was of very poor character. And she paid for her bad decisions with the life of her young son.

Some people seem to think that responsibility is something that can be shucked when it is inconvenient. In fact, the opposite is true. It is at the times when it is the most inconvenient that being responsible is of the greatest value. Is is sad that such a small inconvenience had to cost so much. Had this woman understood that, her son might still be alive today…

Woman kills her child after fleeing minor wreck – [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

14
Aug
07

Sheriffs Deputy drunken shenanigans…

Just read of an unusual DUI case involving an off-duty Sheriffs Deputy:

Charlotte Moore, 36, a jail deputy, was off duty driving her 2004 Pontiac Grand Am on Saturday when she was pulled over by her husband, Elko County Sheriffs Deputy Mike Moore, a police report said.

In two separate accounts of the incident, Mike Moore indicated she initially was pulled over for either speeding or making an illegal turn.

She allegedly left before being administered a portable breathalyzer test, the Elko Daily Free Press reported.

Mike Moore pulled her over again and called for backup. He left shortly after another officer arrived. – [Yahoo/AP]

Now this case is of interest to me for several reasons. First, obviously, as a sheriffs deputy who had probably jailed many inebriated drivers, she should have known better than to drink and drive herself. But the other more interesting point for me was that her husband actually pulled her over twice, and allowed her to be arrested for DUI.

Now I can only speculate about how strong their relationship is, but things like this have a tendency to become points of embitterment. How many people, given the opportunity, would have simply taken the easy route, covered it up, taken the wife home and let her sleep it off? Maybe he had a choice and maybe he didn’t. But if he did have that option, and chose to take this route, I think he did the right thing, and only hope that his integrity is rewarded.

Though I have to admit that in this day and age, I doubt that it will…

Husband pulls over his deputy wife twice – [Yahoo/AP]

14
Aug
07

The blind driving the dumb…

The same blind man I blogged about earlier has been caught behind the wheel yet again:

“We arrested the same blind man driving his car again on Saturday in the town of Torvandi, near Tartu (in southern Estonia),” said Marge Kohtla, a spokeswoman for Tartu police district. – [Yahoo/AP]

What can I say. This guy must really really have a thing about driving. I suppose the insignificant little fact that he cannot see doesn’t seem to have had much influence in the decision making process. Or he was too inebriated to even care.

This article illustrates what I consider the worst side effect of drinking. Severely impaired judgement. The bad reflexes, jacked up motor control, all these things are bad. But the worst is your inability to realize that you are, for all intents and purposes, JUBAR. But you don’t need to take my word for it. Just ask the blind man…

Blind driver caught again – [Yahoo/AP]

08
Aug
07

A nation of finger pointers…

In writing this blog, I learn things about people and life in general that I might not have had I sat blissfully ensconced in my own world behind this monitor. I find I think about things a lot more if I have to write about them.

Some of the conclusions I end up with sometimes catch me off guard. Like I realized today that we are, by and large, a nation of hypocritical finger pointers. Conflicted blame shifters. Flip-flopping fault finders. Myself included. Well I’m a conflicted finger pointer, dunno about the rest šŸ˜‰

Let me explain. I came across an article today about Americas opinions about texting and driving:

Ninety-one percent of Americans believe sending text messages while driving is as dangerous as driving after having a couple of drinks, but 57 percent admit to doing it, a poll released Tuesday said. – [Reuters]

Now my math is not exactly known for it’s infallibility, but by my calculations, that would mean that at least 48 percent of the population are texting while driving, all the while advocating that it should be banned. 48 percent. Forty-Eight.

Now doesn’t that seem strange to you? That almost half the population of the United States of America is engaged in a practice they believe should be illegal? And this occurs while completely sober? Here’s another example. I recently came across a message board where some unfortunate sap got caught for speeding in the wee hours of the morning on an open stretch of deserted road.

He came to the board asking for legal advice. He got his advice, but not before enduring some scathing remarks about breaking the law by a few other folks on the board and, apparently, an active law enforcement officer. To his credit, he tried to explain that he attempted to pick the safest optimal conditions for his “speed run” however one particularly vigorous poster immediately flamed him to death for “breaking the law”.

Now I ask you: how many of those people do you think have never broken a law before? How many have gone just that little bit over the speed limit because they were late? Hogged the passing lane doing 5mph under the speed limit, while a line of increasingly irate drivers grew behind them? Had a cellphone conversation while driving? Took a pen home from work? Put on makeup/did their hair on the road? Ate lunch on the road? With a burger in one hand, a shake in the other, and a knee on the steering wheel?

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Nobody is perfect, but everyone insists they are better than everyone else. Everyone likes to be able to point a finger at another and say “He/She broke the law! That Idiot! That imbecile!”. The guy who decided to speed in the safest environment he could think of, (and actually consciously thought about it before doing so) gets flamed, while people are talking on cellphones and texting in the middle of traffic on a busy highway (without a second thought for safety) is somehow culturally more acceptable?

Whose actions are more irresponsible? Do you think the law adequately addresses the more dangerous action? My opinion: (like I have to actually say it) No! The law isn’t perfect. You should see some of the silly laws that have passed (some are still on the books!). And more to the point, people aren’t perfect. The fact that I can effortlessly find enough ludicrous stuff to talk about here, on a daily basis, is testament to that.

We all want compassion, mercy, and tolerance and yet we are so reluctant to show anyone else the same. We blame everything for our problems, TV, video games, guns, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, frequently each other. But never ourselves. We are so quick to point a finger at everything/everyone else. But we always ignore the three pointing back at us. We suck. Big time. Epic Fail. I wish there was a reset button on this game…

Nine in 10 Americans say ban texting while driving – [Reuters]




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