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Thread: Body filler and bad driving...

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    The Land of The Edentulites

    Body filler and bad driving...

    Body filler isn't really a fix - it just hides the damaged sheetmetal beneath. Kind of like the way passing laws against the use of cell phones and other supposed "distractions" doesn't really address the underlying problem - marginal drivers who probably shouldn't be on the road in the first place.

    Think about it:

    Most "accidents" are far from accidental.

    Almost always, they are the result of driver error - mistakes such as pulling out in front of another vehicle, taking a corner too fast, wandering crossing the center line, rear-ending the car ahead as a result of failing to leave adequate room to brake, failure to pay attention, etc. If a wreck occurs, it's no "accident." It's the logical end result of a sequence of events initiated by poor decisions on the part of a driver that could have been avoided.

    That's they key thing. An accident means something you probably couldn't have avoided that "just happened" - such as a deer suddenly running in front of your car, forcing you to swerve and causing you to lose control of the car.

    That's an accident.

    Rear-ending someone because you were following too closely isn't.

    This pretty obvious, common sense stuff - but for some reason, we don't focus on obvious, common sense solutions such as better driver training (especially for new/teenage drivers) that includes more "behind the wheel" time with a competent instructor - and less time spent in a classroom being shown "scare 'em" movies that date back to the '60s. Or higher standards for acquiring a driver's license (especially first-time licenses) that would include an extended road test evaluation with a properly certified instructor to ascertain whether the applicant can deal with a variety of traffic situations such as merging, lane changes, parallel parking - and so on - instead of the cursory 5-10 minute drive around the parking lot that's commonplace today.

    And why not shift the focus of traffic enforcement to bad driving - rather than the current preoccupation with issuing radar-trap speeding tickets and worrying about whether a driver is "buckled up"?

    Obvious answer: There's no money in that.

    Instead, we get more and more laws. Ostensibly, these are "for our safety." In fact, they are about giving the cops more ways to shake us down for money via the Motorists' Tax.

    Every time there's a high-profile accident, there is an almost reflexive outcry for some new law. Rarely, if ever, do you hear politicians suggest that perhaps something ought to be done to improve the quality of the average driver - or to take steps to weed out those drivers who can't rise to a certain minimum level of competence behind the wheel.

    This is because Americans view their driver's licenses as an entitlement - almost automatically conferred upon reaching the age of 16 - not as a hard-won privilege and testament to demonstrated proficiency, as in countries like Germany. The Germans do not fool around. It takes several thousand dollars' worth of mandatory schooling plus successful passage of a severe driving skills test in order to acquire a license there. But as a result, the Germans can have unlimited speed Autobahns - and an accident/fatality rate that's better than ours.

    Until we reverse the entitlement mindset - and require that all drivers show they can do a bit more than negotiate a few cones in the DMV parking lot - all the laws prohibiting the use of cell phones, eating behind the wheel and so on will simply give cops another excuse to pull people over.

    It won't do any more to "fix" bad drivers than glopping a couple pounds of Bondo onto an old rust bucket will turn it into a show winner.

  2. #2
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    When I had a badge, we rarely talked about accidents. We talked about wrecks. Sometimes we would call it a crash. In 10 years I only saw one or two accidents. A whole bunch of wrecks. Most of them were stupid attacks.
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