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July 22, 2009

Lord Have Mercy

Like Santa Claus, if you live in Maryland they're everywhere:


While Vanderbilt didn't exactly cite the "old people in Florida crash on a roundabout because it gets wet from a fountain and they have bald tires and rear-wheel drive" urban legend, Vanderbilt does acknowledge that roundabouts might prove too much for many of the Greatest Generation. His solution? Euthanasia. Or at least something close to it: taking their licenses away.

Vanderbilt says, "a larger question here is whether people who cannot manage to merge at low speed into a counter-clockwise circle and, yes, perhaps even change lanes in that circle, before finding the correct exit should actually be holding licenses that enable them to operate heavy machinery in the first place."

This is American damn it. Old people gave their lives in WWII defending the right of other old people to drive well past a safe age. This country was built on the principle that all men are created equal, even one's that can't drive.

Of course, some Americans are more equal than others.

D.C. drivers are more likely to be in auto accidents than drivers in any other city in the country, and Alexandria and Arlington drivers follow closely behind, according to a new study.

D.C. drivers average one accident every 5.4 years, making them almost three times more collision-prone that drivers in Sioux Falls, S.D., which ranked as the safest driving city in the 2008 Allstate America’s Best Drivers report.

The number means D.C. drivers are 84 percent more likely to be in an accident than the average driver nationally and places the city as the most dangerous for drivers among the 193 studied.

Yeah baby. I love my home town.

Posted by Cassandra at July 22, 2009 04:21 AM

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Comments

I've had one accident in the forty-*mumble* years I've been driving.

It was entering a traffic circle (we-uns call roundabouts traffic circles in Joisey).

An 85-year-old lady who had to sit on two sofa cushions to enable her to see above the dashboard missed the exit lane and exited into the entry lane, hopping a 6-inch curb, knocking over the "Wrong Way -- Do Not Enter" sign, then crossing the sod median strip and another 6-inch curb to do it.

I had to admire her determination -- bit I still wish she'd had insurance...

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2009 09:51 AM

%$#@! Make that, "...*but* I still wish..."

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2009 09:53 AM

Cassie - Is it still impossible to make a left turn in DC?

Bill - Let me guess - the traffic circle on Rt 70 near Ft Dix? When on Hwy 9 anyone who drove while looking under the steering wheel or anyone wearing a hat with ear flaps lit up my personal "Master Caution" light... I found the stretch between Forked River and Toms River especially exciting...

Posted by: Pogue at July 22, 2009 12:48 PM

How about we expand it to "those whose high number of tickets and proven inability to follow speed limits should have their licenses taken away." I've come close to dying a LOT more because folks in little cars cut across three lanes of traffic without even signaling....

Oops....

Posted by: Foxfier at July 22, 2009 03:45 PM

Bah, link isn't working....
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/07/unsafe_at_any_screed.html

Posted by: Foxfier at July 22, 2009 03:46 PM

Pogue -- Yup. The Red Lion Circle, mixing 206 and 70.

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2009 04:03 PM

How about we expand it to "those whose high number of tickets and proven inability to follow speed limits should have their licenses taken away."

Last time I was home, there was a Letter to Ye Olde Editor complaining about the lack of courtesy motorists were exhibiting toward his 80-year-old wife on I-95. The writer explained that people honking their horns at her for doing 25mph in the left lane after nightfall were upsetting her, and the reason she was only doing 25 is because she was *night blind* and needed to guide on the reflectors of the median rails to insure she stayed on the road.

My hunch is that there's an entitlement mentality in that household...

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2009 04:14 PM

"Posted by BillT at July 22, 2009 04:14 PM"
That is awful. The risk to not only the elder lady but to others is unacceptable.

MIL & FIL are at that point. Walkin' Boss and I, well mostly Walkin' Boss given my lack of tolerance for a lot of automotive whoopie, now makes several trips as errands and hauling to prevent MIL & FIL from driving more than they ought to. Which is, truth be faced, zip, zilch, nada! But they are fighting tooth and nail to retain their freedom and mobility. Big worry. Ultimately we'll have to rain maximum harsh on their mellow.

I never cared much for the rotary approach to intersecting traffic (mis)management.

My former bid'ness associates in Massachusetts instructed me on the proper method of inserting one's self into a rotary. This was when I first encountered said Joie Chitwood Demolition Derby trials and tried to apply southern manners to the situation. Big mistake. In a nutshell they advised me to NEVER MAKE EYE CONTACT with those already in the rotary. Just point and shoot. Wanting to brush up on the finer points of surviving Boston traffic, I picked up a copy of The Boston Driver's Handbook in the early 1980's. IIRC it had a beaten old Ford Falcon or something similar on the cover. I think it's still in print but it has probably been revised a few times. It was helpful and entertaining.

"I've come close to dying a LOT more because folks in little cars cut across three lanes of traffic without even signaling...."
Me too... literally. I've been hit from behind over a half-dozen times in the past 40+ years of (licensed) driving. The last time was a doozie. And I've noticed more restrained behavior from other drivers in close proximity when I'm driving something on the large size. Something with substantive mass like my pickup or a mongo SUV as opposed to when I'm puttering around in one of our iddy biddy sports cars. Or it may just be the rifle-rack or NRA sticker on the bumpers.

Now I like hauling posterior as much as the next person, probably more than most, but I know that it has its place. And that place is not on public roads. But the DMV will not allow me to mount twin fifties on the roof of my vehicles. So what are ya gonna do?

Posted by: bthun at July 22, 2009 04:43 PM

Bthun-
my mom gets a similar amount of respect in her big red 4-door pickup, but I've noticed a horrifying trend off folks in small cars treating fully loaded simis like they're other small cars, and pulling in closer than would be safe even if they *were* another little car.

Folks scare the bejeebers out of me-- especially when I have to trust their good judgement! (like in a traffic circle)

Posted by: Foxfier at July 22, 2009 07:10 PM

"I've noticed a horrifying trend off folks in small cars treating fully loaded simis like they're other small cars, and pulling in closer than would be safe even if they *were* another little car."
Believe me Foxfier when I say that I understand.

Back in the dark ages, driver's ed and films like Signal 30 were common staples of a young, aspiring drivers study and practical application path towards being licensed to operate a motor vehicle. As was instruction in the physics of mass, inertia, kinetic energy, measures of distance covered for a given reaction time added to braking distances for a given speed, along with the gruesome results of carelessness on display in films like Signal 30 that were drilled into kids before they were licensed to drive.

I know it's little more than another repressive desire by an old guy, aka a individual subset of THE MAN, but I can't help but think that if all prospective drivers had the same exposure, plus rigorous testing, they might be more respectful of the damage that two plus tons of steel moving at 50 plus mph can do to a human being. All of which would, IMHO, result in a more capable and safe drivers on the roads. I said nothing about speed for a reason.

Traffic deaths and injuries are such a needless waste due to ignorance and operator error.

Even so, it would be nice if I could get a license for roof mounted twin fifties... =;^}

Posted by: bthun at July 22, 2009 07:50 PM

From the slightly disturbing smile on my husband's face, he's now fantasizing about twin fifties on the minivan-- possibly with RPGs and computer based targeting.

Posted by: Foxfier at July 23, 2009 12:54 AM

"I've noticed a horrifying trend off folks in small cars treating fully loaded simis like they're other small cars, and pulling in closer than would be safe even if they *were* another little car."

I watched a Ford station wagon run completely beneath a *stopped* dump truck.

The wagon was doing fifty.

It was two days before they could figure out exactly how many people died in it...

Posted by: BillT at July 23, 2009 06:33 AM

*shudder* Maybe I grew up with a bit too much respect for moving machinery and intertia-- between farm equipment, relatives missing fingers, three-legged cats and falling off horses, it tends to stick in one's mind-- but oy.

(On a side note-- my first car, a neon, weighed only about 1700 fully loaded with everything I owned, myself, and my mother. I'm not even sure the minivan weighs a fully ton....)

Posted by: Foxfier at July 23, 2009 02:31 PM

'87 Jeep Cherokee.

KtLW drives it while I'm over here -- I figure replacing the brakes and clutch plate with every oil change is cheaper than trying to find a replacement wife...

Posted by: BillT at July 23, 2009 03:26 PM

I'm happy for little Mercy and the opportunities she is being offered.I get that adoption is a very personal decision and I'm not trying to be overly critical. It just seems unfair that only the most beautiful babies get a chance at a better life.

Posted by: psp bildschirmschutz at December 30, 2009 04:35 AM

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