Saturday April 29, 2006

YOU get over law

Hey, I have an idea! Why doesn’t the state pass a useless (and possibly dangerous) new law that requires drivers to do something they’ve never had to do before, and then keep ticketing every single person who “breaks” it, until they learn. Oh, nevermind: they already thought of that.

Here’s the deal: if any police, fire, ambulance, tow truck, etc. has it’s emergency lights on and is standing by the side of the road, you have to get out of the MBPD logo lane adjacent to the stopped vehicle, or slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit.

So, picture a routine traffic stop on, say I-95. Say, on the left shoulder. Suddenly, everyone in the fast/carpool lane has to merge with the next lane or slow down to 35 mph. Am I the only one to whom this sounds like a recipe for a massive pile up? If the previous situation was dangerous for police officers, how is this not going to be 10 (100? . . . 1000?) times as dangerous for the regular drivers driving by?

Well, that would only happen if drivers actually followed the law (I find it extremely difficult to remember, even though I’ve known about it for months). And as they begin to, things are going to get dicey, and probably the law will be revoked. But not before police departments get some serious play out of all the tickets they were writing. I passed by that “operation” on MacArthur friday (by the sheer will of God I wasn’t in the right lane, otherwise this would be a much crabbier piece), and there must have been 30 cops on motorcycles there, just pulling over one mark after another.

If police want to be safe during traffic stops without causing mayhem, why not use those PA systems they have in their cars and instruct the poor sap to pull all the way off the highway before stopping? (via Miami Transit)

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  1. Miami Transit Man    Sat Apr 29, 12:29 PM #  

    Honestly, the law is going to cause more problems than anything else. I can see many accidents occuring as a result of it as drivers suddenly veer to the left to avoid having to slow down…It may have some use on the turnpike or I-95, but the MacArthur? C`mon give me a break…

  2. Jonathan    Sun Apr 30, 01:37 PM #  

    Probably a bad law and seems like it was poorly thought through.

    One problem which this law does nothing to address is that police often leave their flashing lights on even when they are parked a safe distance from traffic. The flashing lights inevitably cause traffic slowdowns which are themselves dangerous.

  3. Franklin    Sun Apr 30, 05:41 PM #  

    Years ago, but not so many, I heard a news report that put an image in my head that continues to haunt me. A Miami cop stopped a car, parked in front of it, walked behind it to check the plates, and the next thing he knew, he was lying in a hospital bed with both of his legs amputated at mid-thigh because someone rear-ended the car, with him in the way.

    The law being enforced above is not a new law. It’s just widely disregarded, and if you look at typical Miamian driving behavior around emergency vehicles (“those sirens don’t apply to me”) it’s not hard to see why it might need periodic conspicuous displays of enforcement. No sympathy from me – the level of idiocy on the roads down here justify it.

  4. alesh    Sun Apr 30, 08:41 PM #  

    Careless, and/or thoughtless drivers should be ticketed. But driving by a police car stopped on the side of the road within the speed limit does not strike me as necessarily dangerous.

    If they want to start making the roads safer by enforcing something that gets routinely ignored, they should start handing out tickets to the 90% of Miami drivers who don’t even realize their car has turn signals.

  5. Jonathan    Sun Apr 30, 11:52 PM #  

    Maybe it would be better to make cellphone companies put turn signal buttons on their keypads.

  6. Franklin    Mon May 1, 11:06 AM #  

    they should start handing out tickets to the 90% of Miami drivers who don’t even realize their car has turn signals.

    I would support that.