Monday, February 19, 2007

Out of State Driving

First of all, before we get down to business, let me apologize for not posting in a very long time. The past two weeks or so have been quite busy, what with a retreat to Frost Valley and a trip home this past weekend, with a paper and an exam sandwiched in between. The trip home actually is what sparked this post. I drove both ways and encountered some idiotic drivers and got to thinking about how to make the roads safer by halting stupid driving. Something that is very important to note is that one of the idiotic drivers was a cop. How do I know? He was in a marked car. I encountered the state trooper driving at about 100-105 mph on Rt. 90 going eastbound in Millbury, Massachusetts weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating people, and turning his emergency lights on and off. Talk about an abuse of power. This person was out on the road in order to make it safer for everyone and he is driving like the morons he is supposed to be punishing. Whatever happened to lead by example? How can a cop pull you over and tell you not to speed when he or she is doing the exact same thing? Something that society needs to understand is that a badge is just a shiny piece of metal. It does not make you above the law and you cannot do anything that you want just because you went through the academy. I have seen police driving like asses, and I am sure that you have, too.

But the renegade cop is not the focal point of this post, or at least it is not meant to be. While on the way home from Boston with my girlfriend it seemed that every dumbass driver in Connecticut congregated on Route 91 and proceeded to lower the IQ of the immediate area. I noticed that some of the license plates were out of state and came up with an idea. What if out of state drivers were fined at a higher rate for moving violations than those residents who live in-state? If you think about it, when a driver gets into an accident it sets in motion a very expensive process. Police must respond to the scene and close part of the highway, the fire department responds whether or not there is a fire, EMS must go to the scene and potentially transport the injured parties. While those transported by ambulance are billed and usually their medical insurance pays for it (if they have it, but that is another discussion), that only covers part of the ambulance ride, never mind the police and fire response and the highway closure. Now most of the money that pays for these types of responses comes from state taxes. If the driver who got in the accident were from the state that it occurred in, then that person's taxes would be going toward the cost to the state for the response of the accident. However, it is a free ride for those from out of state driving on the state's roadways. Therefore, if any out of state driver is caught doing something stupid such as driving aggressively, excessively speeding, or tailgating, then they should be fined more because that accident-prone driving is costing the state hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars a year.

The benefits from legislation like this would be numerous: it would bring in more revenue for the state and municipalities, it would cause out of state drivers to drive more carefully and potentially reduce the number of accidents on the state's roadways, which would decrease the amount of time that state services such as fire and EMS need to respond to accidents, thus cutting down the budget of these services or allowing them to focus on other aspects of public safety. But, there are two sides to every story and there are some potential pitfalls to something like this. For one, it might hurt tourism in that state which can be a large source of money, and it might cause police to target out of state drivers even more than they already do. I'd like to see what other people think, so leave your thoughts in the comments section and let me know your take on the situation. Peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment