On the Right Lane: Disjointed driving

18

“The back bone’s connected to the neck bone, the neck bone’s connected to the head bone.” Children’s song

I might as well do another column on bad drivers before winter comes. I call it Body Shop Season for the obvious reason.

Maybe one witnesses so many drivers running red lights and stop signs because the drivers’ heads are connected to their cell phones instead of concentrating on their driving and that of other drivers. It’s that or they are late for work and don’t mind killing someone or themselves to get there. Running through a yellow light is one thing, but when the light I am watching at an intersection has turned green and yet three or fours cars run the other red light there comes a point that something must be done. Let me think of some ways that can be accomplished.

I spent nearly half of my military career in Germany, you know the place where the autobahns in many sections have no speed limit at all except for what the car can do. At the speeds they drive, I guess one could presume their first accident is their last one as well. But beware, because once they get off the autobahn they are being watched and recorded if they misbehave. When one runs a red light at night in that country they will notice a bright flash of light in their rearview mirror. Yep, a picture was just taken of the rear license plate and a card and photo will come to your mailbox to pay the fine. Ouch is all I can say as I do not know what the traffic fines in Germany are today but I am sure they have only gone up.

Although some of major roads have no speed limit in undeveloped areas, you can bet that there will be a small box near the first speed limit sign you come to. Yep,  once again, here comes another card and picture of your license plate showing the date, time and a photo of your rear license plate. Maine has cameras at toll plazas on the turnpike that do the same. I know Canada does it, too, because I received a fine in the mail although I haven’t been to Canada since 1969. The problem there was that Maine has a myriad of license plates that can all have the same number.

Do I agree with having cameras in traffic lights and hidden boxes containing a radar device? I do not, because I fear it will become another form of government control over our lives. I believe that the government will be so inefficient handling such systems that it will only add more to our already heavy tax burden. Maybe the answer will be having more police officers. As towns like Windham grow, that will be a necessity anyway –  not a cheap one but the alternative could be even worse.

When I look at all the electronic gadgets that come with our new cars like GPS right on the dash by the driver, how can one not be distracted? My car is a 2016 model and my cell phone is connected to my car. The only problem is I can’t remember where the button is on the steering wheel to engage the system. Once I am talking, it’s hand-free. I fully suspect that just talking is distracting in itself, but legal, I guess.

I was thinking the smartest thing we could do is make cell phones stop working in vehicles or at least if the vehicle is not in the “park” mode. That should be for all drivers with the exception of emergency personnel. I’ve witnessed a couple of school bus drivers (not in Windham) on their phones.

As far as running red lights go, here goes nothing because unless caught be law enforcement, nothing happens. How about a fixture that squirts out fluorescent paint that marks the offender?

Lane Hiltunen of Windham thinks Thomas Edison caused this to happen.