Four tires, no brain.


“Drive slow and enjoy the scenery — drive fast and join the scenery.” Douglas Horton, Protestant clergyman and academic leader.

For this column, I was pondering doing a column on gun control but I believe Mainers face a greater disaster from disease and motor vehicles. I don’t think anyone would want to stomach a column on diseases and since I have had several really weird ones, especially from Vietnam, I have no stomach to do one for sure.

Unfortunately, most of us witness bad drivers and these days for me it seems to happen on a daily basis. I didn’t bother to research if there is a website on the internet that would list the cause(s) for every accident in a town or state, and I have the funny feeling it would tie up someone in the police department or courts that have a better function to accomplish. The figures I am using next are from a hop and skip on the internet and, as always, take them for what they are, or aren’t.

The quick figures I am using come from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse so I take them to be fairly accurate. The figures show 39,000 deaths that were firearm-related, 40,000 motor vehicle-related deaths and 64,000 drug overdose deaths. The site mentioned that deaths from car accidents seem to be declining in 2017, deaths from drug overdoses are increasing and no data for gun-related deaths. However, when looking at other websites the data is drastically different as at least one website shows gun-rated deaths as 38,658. Other websites omitted data from suicides. The figures for motor vehicle deaths remain pretty constant on most websites.

I find it startling that more and more people that I talk with on a frequent basis are complaining about bad drivers a lot more these days. Just a week or so ago I had someone behind me that attempted to pass me in a no-passing zone and then attempted to pass me on my right side. I couldn’t go close to the posted speed limit because the driver ahead of me was barely doing 25-mph in a 50-mph zone. I finished this column last Sunday and if one remembers that day was an iffy one for drivers mainly because of the freezing rain and ice. A good friend called me and noted that a driver didn’t like the speed she was going so the driver passed her and sped off quickly. The road in front of my house was quite icy and yet there were some vehicles definitely going over the speed limit of 50. 

On the same day, there were a couple of accidents or more on the River Road in Windham. I generally only turn on my police scanner when numerous police and public safety vehicles go by my house with sirens blaring and lights flashing. A telephone pole was shattered, so I have to guess care wasn’t taken as to speed and the existing weather and road conditions. Sadly this seems to happen every storm and more than likely in most towns in Maine and elsewhere. I have no clue as to when Public Works starting treating the River Road, but I certainly heard plenty of radio calls for treatment. As I live on Route 202 I watched for the state plow trucks to start applying sand or salt to the road, but I never saw one that day.

I would think if one drove a municipal/school vehicle that was embossed with a logo, they would watch the way they were driving. Well, I noticed a Windham municipal vehicle doing in excess of 35 mph going by the Windham High School Campus. I estimated the speed that vehicle to be around 45 mph. The next zone was 40 mph and the vehicle was going over 50.  I don’t even have to go into distracted drivers, speeders, tailgaters or any other type of dangerous behavior behind the steering wheel. We all see plenty of that as well as those who love to run red lights and stop signs.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham is beginning to like radar more every day.