Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Traffic law oddities - and injustices

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    23,036

    Traffic law oddities - and injustices

    If you needed further evidence that traffic "safety" laws are often arbitrary - and even downright pointless - consider this interesting juxtaposition:

    Most states now have mandatory seat belt laws. Click it - or ticket, chief.

    Yet no state (yet) requires that a motorcyclist wear more than a helmet. So... you can't legally ride around unbuckled inside an air bag-equipped steel cocoon. But you can ride a bike wearing shorts, a t-shirt, no gloves or boots - as long as you've got a helmet on.

    Make sense to you?

    Which is the riskier thing to do? Which is more likely to result in serious (potentially fatal) injury in the event there's a wreck? Yet the cops will pull over the unbuckled guy in a 4,500 lb. S-Class Benz equipped with more active and passive safety technology than Apollo 13 - while the kid on his CBR900 wearing flip flops and a "No Fear" t-shirt sails right on by.

    This isn't an argument for mandatory "gear" laws. It's simply an observation about the Mr. Magoo-like focus of the laws we do have.

    Some more examples?

    DWI/DUI laws have become very severe. Most people don't realize this, but in many states, a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of as little as .06 is enough to qualify you as "impaired" or "under the influence" of alcohol. This is significantly below the already low .08 BAC threshold that defines "drunk driving" in most states. Either way, the penalties are similar - despite the fact that it's very debatable whether a person with a BAC level of .06 or below is functionally impaired in any meaningful way. (Most alcohol-related accidents involve drivers with BAC levels of .10 or higher.)

    Meanwhile, few states do much to weed out past-it senile citizens - the most accident-prone group of drivers after teenagers.

    But who is more "impaired" - the sober as a pope (but Alzheimer's addled) 85 year-old driving the wrong way onto a freeway? Or the guy who had two glasses of wine with his wife over dinner?

    How about driver's licenses - and illegal aliens?

    American citizens get put through all kinds of rigmarole related to their driving privileges these days. For example, most states require proof of motor vehicle insurance; in Virginia, the DMV conducts random spot checks - asking that proof be provided of coverage of all vehicles registered to the person holding a license. If they catch you running around without insurance, sever monetary and other penalties come crashing down around your head. Probably a good thing. No one wants uninsured people running around out there.

    Meanwhile, Pedro and Jesus - who aren't even supposed to be in the country - are given same driver's licenses, but easily escape the consequences of actions such as driving around without insurance because, well, they're illegals. When they smash into you - or the DMV wants to see some paperwork - they just disappear. What is the DMV going to do?

    Hasta la vista, baby.

    One set of rules (and punishments) for us. Another for the illegals.

    Eees beautiful, no?

    Speed limits, of course, are especially arbitrary. You can be driving a stretch of Interstate highway, cross a state line - and even though the road conditions are pretty much exactly the same, suddenly (and for no reason beyond the fiat of state lawmakers) the posted max drops by 10 mph. What was legal a moment ago is suddenly not. It has zip to do with "safety" - even though that's the canned speech you'll get when the trooper pulls you over.

    Twelve years ago, running 76 mph in Virginia was prima facie "reckless driving" - because it was more than 20 mph faster than the posted max speed limit of 55 mph. But today, it's just a simple speeding ticket - because the highway limits were upped after '95 - when the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) was finally repealed.

    However, the tens of thousands of "reckless driving" citations issued to Virginia motorists were not repealed.

    The long and short is it's mostly a dog and pony show. The whole thing, that is. Don't expect either rationality - or even-handed treatment - from the powers that be and the increasingly uneven edicts they fashion.

    Indeed, irrationality and randomness is fast becoming the defining characteristic not just of traffic law - but of American law, generally. And of course, irrational, random laws are the sine qua non of what we used to call "Third World" countries - banana republics we once sneered at.

    The reason, of course, is that random laws are unpredictable - and unpredictable laws are uneven and thus, unjust by definition. As are arbitrary laws that punish Joe - but leave Jeff alone. Jeff likely has pull. So he runs under the radar. Joe hasn't got a lobbyist in the legislature - or money to stuff the pol's pockets with directly - so he gets targeted.

    This is what it's coming to here, as well. We see it all around us - from the four figure "abuser fees" in New Jersey and Virginia that practically crucify motorists over relatively trivial traffic violations (while people who commit physical assault get maybe a couple days in jail - suspended - and a much smaller fine) to the current "click or ticket" harassment campaigns that henpeck cagers - while bikers only need to put a helmet on.

    It's enough to get your back up, if you think about it too much.

    So try not to!

    END






  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3,614

    Re: Traffic law oddities - and injustices

    >> It's enough to get your back up, if you think about it too much. <<

    That's sound advice.

    I once worked for a guy whose byword was: "Don't think, you'll spoil the team."


  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    23,036

    Re: Traffic law oddities - and injustices

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    >> It's enough to get your back up, if you think about it too much. <<

    That's sound advice.

    I once worked for a guy whose byword was: "Don't think, you'll spoil the team."

    It's how I avoid stroking out over SS!

Similar Threads

  1. Traffic law oddities...
    By Eric in forum Fight Traffic Tickets/Driving Issues
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-14-2010, 01:13 AM
  2. Traffic law oddities
    By Eric in forum Fight Traffic Tickets/Driving Issues
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-03-2007, 10:57 PM
  3. TRAFFIC
    By gail in forum Fight Traffic Tickets/Driving Issues
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 07-23-2007, 09:22 AM
  4. Traffic jam
    By misterdecibel in forum Motor Mouth
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-03-2007, 06:10 AM
  5. Worst traffic law?
    By Eric in forum Motor Mouth
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-10-2007, 06:34 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •