Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

Bad Drivers Should Be Punished

Mon Jun 26, 2000 4:48 am

I need to vent.....I'm still battle fatigued because of this.....

Whilst returning home from my date last night, I was stuck in what had to be the worst traffic jam I've sat in for a very long time.
I was driving westbound on Interstate 10, and right after Cedar Ave, the freeway just stopped. Turned into a total parking lot. And the next exit is Sierra Avenue, which is 2 miles down the road, so I am pretty much screwed. So I turn on my local radio news station, KFWB AM 980. They have traffic reports "On the ones"....
Anyway, sure enough, they announced that the 10 west was closed at Sierra due to a hit-and-run accident.
I sat there, marrooned in my car...wanting to gouge my own eyeballs or burn my hands with my cigarette lighter just for want of something to do. The freeway was going NOWHERE. That particular stretch of freeway normally takes about 2 or 3 minutes to traverse took me over 2 HOURS last night.
Anyway, whilst stranded on the 10, and watching traffic on the eastbound side roll freely....I also watched several trains go by on the tracks that run parallel to the freeway...and I did some thinking.
We need to punish drivers that do not know how to drive.
As we all know, any time there's a traffic collision, the traffic comes to a screeching halt. Of course this is in part due to the local law enforcement and the wreck itself blocking lanes. Then you have your lookie-loos...I'll address those later.
I have come to the conclusion that anyone that causes a wreck needs to pay heavy consequences. Not only for the damage they did to the other person(s) vehicle(s) but also the damage inflicted on the passing public. Think about the stress incurred...the lost time...the aggravation. Why not send a message saying that if you cause an accident, you're gonna pay heavily for it?
It could go something like this:
If you are determined to be at fault for an accident, irregardless of the circumstances, it's an automatic $10,000 fine, 6 month suspension of drivers license, and 30 days in the county jail. If you are caught driving after the 30 days in jail, but before the 6 months are up, it becomes an automatic impound and sale of the vehicle, lifetime loss of drivers license, and 1 year in jail. And if you are caught again, it's lifetime imprisonment without possibility of parole. Sound ludicrously harsh? Yes, even I realize it does....but getting caught like that means you are incapable of abiding by the law, and that instantly labels you as a danger to society. Punishment like that will make all but the dumbest of people think twice before cutting off that big rig, or attempting to do 90 while talking on the cell phone, checking your e-mail, sending a fax and stirring your coffee.
Sound harsh? You bet. That's the idea. Maybe it will get the message across that you better pay attention when driving.
I realize that many, if not, most accidents are the result of shared blame on the part of the drivers involved. The penalties will apply if you are determined to be >51% responsible. Lesser penalties can be imposed on the other party.
Is this something that would work if implemented or did I sniff too many diesel fumes while stuck last night?
Maybe Copper1 can reply...
As for those damn bottlenecks and everyone slowing things down to see the wreckage....well as much as I hate that, there really isn't anything that you can do about that. It's just human nature.
Maybe if we can prevent these wrecks by imposing very steep penalties for those responsible, there won't be anything to stop and look at.
Please remember, I am venting as I write this, so it may seem a little disjointed........
Hopefully after I calm down, and someone replies, I can discuss it a little more rationally.
Posts: 6633
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Bad Drivers Should Be Punished

Mon Jun 26, 2000 5:04 am

Boy would you have a time where I used to live... rural North Carolina. There drivers seem to think that instead of the double yellows being a divider, they are a target. Whilst driving there a few weeks ago I was repeated ran off the road so that I would not have a head on collision. This is mostly due to the high speed limits (40-60 on tricky roads), the bad condition of vechiles, and the pure ignorance of some drivers.

I don't quite agree with you about punishment for accidents as a lot of times, it is nobody's fault. Say a wheel blows because of debris or engine overheats, ... Yet I am in total favor of taking all drivers off the road that just can't drive. This includes many of all ages. Some that know nothing of the speed limit (be them 16 yearolds going double or 90 yearolds who can't even read the speed limit sign), those drivers who cannot stay calm during driving, those who think that they must get stuff done while driving (I am sometimes guilty of this... studying for exams on the way to school), and those who know nothing of what to do if something on their car goes wrong (such as changing a tire).

Granted I am only 16, yet I got a 100% on both written and driving tests, took driver's ed, know how to keep my car in its current condition - perfect working order, and know and understand the laws.
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 10:26 am

RE: Bad Drivers Should Be Punished

Mon Jun 26, 2000 6:26 am

Thanks for thinking about me Matt.

There is no doubt that the driver's who cause Motor Vehicle Collisions get off way to light whan it come to punishment from the law. What their insurance company does to them is another matter.

I call " accidents " motor vehicle collisions because I for one believe that an accident is something that happens where no-one is really to blame. In 99 % (or more) of collisons someone is to blame either through neglect of the rules of the road, inattentive while driving or lack of proper maintenance on their vehicle. All of the above are absolute liabilities on the driver as far as I am concerned.

Poor driving conditions are no excuse so if I show up at your collision, don't even go there. I have managed to drive for 24 years and have never hit anything. Snow, ice, rain or fog, I don't care. If you screw up I'm going to give you a ticket. If some bleeding heart Judge or Justice of the Peace wants to let you off I can't do anything about that.

Now I don't know what the standard fines are out in California but in Ontario the range for most moving violations are anywhere from $120 - $300 dollars. There are of course some higher fines ( and lower ones as well ). These fines, if you are involved in a collision do not even begin to cover the cost of the investigation let alone pay any penalty.

While I don't agree with Matt's penalty range in most cases, there is no doubt in my mind that penalties for repeat offenders need to be substantially increased. I must have slept through the part of my training that says driving is a right. I always thought that it is a priviledge, one that should be taken away from more people.

Another problem is that there are just too many vehicles on our highways. North Americans have a love afair with motor vehicles and even with the huge increases in fuel prices over the past year, we refuse to find alternative sources of transportation. Take a look at how many vehicles on your highways and freeways have a single occupant. I may be wrong but is there not a law in some parts of California that prohibits single occupant vehicles on certain freeways or lanes on the freeways.

Public transportation is one area that can help with the overcrowding. The problem however is who is willing to make the first move. As it currently stands public transp. does not offer the frequency of transport required and will not unless ridership increases. Ridership will not increase as long as the frequency ( convenience) does not improve. I hate to suggest that the govt. stick it's nose into this problem because we all know, no matter where we live, what a screwup the govt. is whenever they try to do anything.

If and when the next downturn in the economy arrives ( and it will ) that will remove some of the vehicles from the road as people can no longer afford two or three cars etc. The downside to that is people will keep cars longer, therefore increasing the number of unreliable vehicles on the road and therefore increase the number of breakdowns causing more traffic delays.

I think that traffic delays are just becoming a part of the driving experience. My big beef is with these transport truck drivers that roll their rigs on the highway and all lanes are closed for multiple hours at a time. Each one of these MVC's causing something like a million dollars an hour in lost time and production. No-one would be able to afford insurance if the companies had to reimburse anyone who suffers a loss because of an MVC that closes a road or slows traffic down to the point where people are delayed.

Is it frustrating ? You bet. Can we do anything about it ? Slow down, be careful and when you get stuck in taffic and are doing a slow boil, remember you are part of the traffic jam and the guy in the car next to you is cursing at all of the other traffic and that includes you. We are all part of the problem, we all need to be a part of the solution.

Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am


Mon Jun 26, 2000 6:38 am

Your welcome.......

Anyway, now that I have had a few hours to cool off, I looked at your reply and I must say, I couldn't agree with you more.
It's been more than a decade now since I sat in drivers ed class, and yet I still remember almost everything that they told me...including the Basic Speed Law which states that you should not drive any faster than conditions permit.
You would be amazed if you came out here to CA when it's raining and yet I see people fly past me on the freeway doing 75+.
Don't you realize that braking on wet pavement is nothing like dry pavement? I don't care who is driving on my ass or honking at me, when the weather is bad, I slow down. I always try to double the distance between me and the next car when it rains as opposed to when it's dry. I also try to double the amount of time to travel from point a to b. I can always count on someone cutting me off or doing something stupid....and the last thing you wnat to do when it's wet is to slam on the brakes. I've seen people do that with spectacular results. I always shake my head everytime we have a storm because the next day, the newspapers blame the 300 accidents on the rain?
Huh? The rain didn't cause the accident...its the people that don't know how to drive in it!!!!!!
I have had my drivers license since July 10, 1990.
I have never struck a tree, traffic standard, pedestrian or any other object. So I know its possible.
I've been struck a few times though.......

RE: Bad Drivers Should Be Punished

Mon Jun 26, 2000 6:55 am

Matt you make a good point but I’m beginning to think of you as an unhappy camper.  
Posts: 502
Joined: Wed May 19, 1999 7:07 am

RE: Bad Drivers Should Be Punished

Mon Jun 26, 2000 7:08 am

Some here say they have been driving "X" amount of years and have not hit anything.

I have been driving for 15 years. I haven't hit anything either. But I have had my car written off three times by other drivers. There isn't much you can do when a car hits you from behind while you're waiting at the traffic lights. For this type of "accident" I think severe fines should be introduced.

The last driver hit by rear bumper at 30mph. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt. He ended up flying through his windshield, and my rear window. Coming to a stop with his feet around my head. Thank God for airbags. He spent weeks in hospital. But I think he should have been fined for careless driving.

Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am


Mon Jun 26, 2000 7:16 am

I'm not really an unhappy camper, I just have a few issues that the best way to deal with is to get them out in the open.

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