“And another thing ...”
The mailbox and voice mail had several messages last week for those who run red lights.
You learn quickly when a topic is one that really matters. A high number of responses, their overall tone and tenor and some pretty strong recommendations told me we weren't quite through with this conversation.
To refresh your memory, a recent column focused on the danger of running a red light and the tragedy that occurred years ago in my hometown when someone did so.
The communication traffic was heavy, to say the least. Some comments can be repeated; some were, well, not quite so kind. Here are those from three readers:
“The problem is,” the older gentleman said loudly into the phone, “is that people don't understand that you're supposed to stop before you turn on red. They just run right on through. Never stop. Sometimes don't even slow down. Those people ought to have to pay a big fine and learn the law. It's just plain dangerous.”
He took it into another area from where I had gone in the column. Where I was focused on running a red in general, he made it specific. Right on red definitely is a problem when the turning vehicle does not stop first. The law says the turn can be made only when the vehicle comes to a full stop, then proceeds when it is safe.
Red light means stop. Completely.
A second reader wrote: “ ... I know the public as a whole are against cameras in the intersections, but the lack of responsibility shown by many drivers as they speed through red lights calls for action.
Few things here to consider.
His recommendation to use cameras to catch those who run red lights already is occurring in many areas for safety.
Fine 'em high. For moving offenses where lives are endangered, the fine should be higher.
No license or insurance verification “should lead to jail time.” It can.
His comment that “driving is not a right but a serious privilege” is right on. You would be surprised how many people think they have a right to drive. Totally wrong. It is a privilege. You earn it.
But then, there was one that caught me by surprise. This woman started with a purr but ended with a roar. Read on.
“If people would just obey the law, we would all be safer,” she wrote. “There doesn't seem to be as much courtesy either. It's just hurry, hurry, hurry. Everybody's talking on cellphones, or doing something else, not paying attention. Nobody signals anymore. And a red light means nothing. They just go on through. Every day I have to watch out for some driver who cuts me off then gives me a one-finger salute if I honk my horn. You know what I think? Back at them! Maybe I ought to drive my husband's off-road pickup and just run them over!”
I think we have road rage here. See what you lawbreakers have caused.
It can be avoided, however, if you obey the law. We'll all be much safer.
By the way ...
If someone sees a woman gunning the engine of a big off-road pickup, please stay out of her way. I think she means business.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.