Not me. I’m never in a rush to get anywhere. Because I want to arrive alive.
But it seems that’s not a concern for a lot of other folks. Every day frenetic folks zoom past me at speeds much faster than the speed limit. And I’m talking about my work commute not the Interstate, where I set my speed control to 62 MPH and am usually alone. Which I like.
I’m sure all those folks speeding past me and otherwise driving foolishly (no turn signals, serial lane changing, etc.) don’t give much thought to the probability of not arriving alive because they’re so intent on arriving at their destination a few minutes early. Like the FSU grad student who drove his car off a Tampa Bay causeway and drowned.
His mom was quoted as saying “he always drove fast.” Not anymore. As we poker players who worship the probability gods like to say, the law of large numbers caught up with him, as it always will.
And to be perfectly frank, I’m glad that’s how it happened: a single car accident which killed no one but the responsible irresponsible driver. The faster these jerks kill themselves, and only themselves, then the safer the roads will be for me.
After September 11, the federal government got all worked up over about 3,000 deaths. Little expense was spared to set up security procedures to minimize any future occurrence.
But in 2005, there were some 40,000 traffic deaths. That’s over ten times the number of deaths caused by bin Laden. But where’s the huge government effort to stop Americans from killing Americans on the road?
Or is it only bad when “furriners” kill Americans because, like jobs, that should be for Americans only? (If so, send in your membership to “Save the Endangered American Terrorists” to Timothy McVeigh, c/o/ U.S. Bureau of Prisons.)
But there’ll be no national, or even state, “War on Reckless Driving” because (a) govenrment is not logical, only political and (b) the Constitution guarantees the right of everyone to be an idiot. The right to “the pursuit of happiness” is in the Constitution and Americans demonstrate every day that “ignorance is bliss” so… (Of course, anarchists don’t believe in Constitutions so I drive carefully; at 58, no moving accidents but I‘ve been hit three times while stopped and two of those were at gas stations.)
And don’t think the problem is the Interstate and so you’re “safe” if you don’t drive on it regularly. Most traffic deaths occur on non-Interstate roads. Which makes sense. On the Interstate, there’s no red lights or stop signs to run, less serial lane changing, etc.
Here’s selected information from the 2005 fatality facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual report, known as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). (Unlike so many other bloggers, I cite where my information comes from. If a blogger doesn’t cite the source, assume they made it all up. Like WMD’s in Iraq.)
The top cause of traffic deaths was…no, not speeding but: “failure to keep in the proper lane or running off the road” (16,551, or 28%). Now I see a lot of that in my hometown. It’s infested with serial lane changers who rarely use turn signals.
Then, there’s the wackos who believe their time is so much more important than anyone else’s that they use a merge lane as an acceleration lane to zoom up in front of everyone and then force their way into the lane rather than get into it properly behind all these slower moving drivers. They think they’re so smart, but I know it‘s probably (literally) just a matter of when they end up like that FSU grad student and realize, in their last few seconds on this planet, there’s no reboot, no “undo.”
(I never let those jerks in and they always decline my offer of a collision. But sharing tips from “Driving Secrets of Che Guevara” with you will have to wait for a separate post because I first have to e-mail Obama, Pelosi and Reid some tips from “Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun.”)
The second highest cause of traffic deaths in 2005 was speeding (11,80, or 20%). I’m sure it’s no surpise that when the speeding deaths are broken down by age there is a direct correlation with age. The younger you are, the more likely you’re going to be in a fatal accident. The 15-20 age group came in at 38%, follwed by the 21-34 age group at 35%. My age group, of 55-64 came in at 12%.
I find it “interesting” that despite all the PR about DUI, it only accounted for 4,306 deaths (7.3%) in 2005. That figure includes drugs. So if you’re going to be hit, your survival probability is better if it’s by a drunk or a druggie.
All this is a long introduction to my being very pleased that my hometown finally will soon have a few red light cameras, joining numerous cities nationwide that already have them. Including Orlando, Lakeland, and Gulf Breeze in Florida. In Orlando, 14,000 citations were issued in the first nine months. That’s 14,000 potential accidents because some jerk is dying to get somewhere. I’ve no sympathy for them. It’s called being held accountable and responsible for your own stupidity, whether it’s a $125 fine or a coffin.
Some will say that red light cameras are more about money than safety. I say they’re about both. I have no problem with a city taking in money from red light runners. Every dollar ($125 in Orlando) taken from those jerks is a dollar less I have to pay and anarchists hate taxes which are unavoidable. I will never pay a fine for running a red light because I don’t do it.
The next step will be to ticket speeders electronically. I’m sure as computers become smaller and more powerful, all vehicles can have some sort of transponder which broadcasts their VIN. Speed detection devices between two points will determine whether they’re speeding and if so, issue a speeding ticket. We’ll all be safer for it.
And I don’t want to hear any “privacy” complaints. We long ago lost most privacy “privileges” after September 11 when the morons in government decided that Homeland Security could ignore any privacy to minimize another September 11. After all, flying on a private airplane through a government-owned airport is not a right, and neither is driving in a private vehicle on the government’s roads. Well, if 3,000 lives are worth that surrender of privacy, then certainly 40,000 lives are.
Like airplanes, most newer cars already have a “black box” which records certain functions and which I’m sure law enforcement can access if needed to determine what your vehicle was doing (or not doing) just before a crash. My 2007 Toyota has it.
P.S. Comrades, if you love Homeland Security, then you’re gonna love “Real ID” which is belatedly coming to Florida on January 1, 2010. Soon, we will all have what is effectively a national ID card. What’s next: a “visa” to visit another state? (Actually, if you don’t have “Real ID”, you may need a passport to visit a national park or board an airplane)
Comrades, your privacy for your life!** The choice is not yours. And that comrades, is the true legacy of bin Laden. Not 3,000 dead, but the loss of liberty. And we did it to ourselves. As usual. (Retirement in Costa Rica looks better each day!)
**Homeland Security fine print: we guarantee to take your privacy; you may still lose your life to a terrorist due to our incompetence.