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Thursday, April 27, 2006

More crazy American drivers

I saw this article in the Detroit News. It seems that every time some one goes out on the road, there are more people taking unnecesary chances when their lives and everyone else's. They are essentially playing a game of Russian roulette with people's lives.

Why do drivers take so many chances?

If someone challenged you to a game of Russian roulette, would you accept?

Not a chance -- but in some ways, we do it every time we get behind the wheel of our cars and trucks. Instead of spinning a cylinder with one cartridge in it, we spin our wheels and head out onto the road.

I'm constantly amazed that individuals are willing to put their lives, and the lives of others, on the line for the smallest gains.

Example No. 1: The Michigan State Police sent me the report of a 20-year-old Pontiac woman who lost control of her vehicle while on northbound Interstate 75. The car rolled and she was "ejected." (Translation: She smashed through a window or was catapulted through an open door like a clothespin from a slingshot.)

Police surmise she was talking on the phone and not paying attention to her driving. But the big surprise is that she beat the odds and lived
.
Of course, she suffered painful injuries and ended up in the hospital, totaled her car and closed down the freeway for a couple of hours.
But is the need to yak and a disdain for seat belts worth betting your life? Apparently, it was for her, but that kind of luck can't last.

The chamber is still spinning for a 53-year-old Southfield man facing manslaughter and negligent homicide charges in the December 2005 death of a 15-year-old girl police say he struck with his pickup truck.

According to police reports, the teenager was hit while crossing Evergreen Road to board a waiting school bus.

Police say the truck driver ignored the school bus's yellow warning signals and swerved into the center left-turn lane to pass it. The truck driver -- who has a long history of bad driving with four license suspensions -- is looking at decades behind bars if convicted.

The chamber is still spinning for the thousands of drivers who speed through construction zones each and every day. Case in point: the Michigan Department of Transportation is repairing a number of bridges of the Lodge Freeway between I-75 and Martin Luther King in Detroit.

That stretch of roadway is reduced by one lane during the week and by two lanes at night and during the weekend. There are signs everywhere warning drivers that they are about to enter a construction zone where the speed limit is 45 mph. Not 55 mph, not 65 mph and certainly not the estimated 80 mph from a number of drivers who passed me by Monday morning.
Eighty percent of those killed in construction zones are motorists, not road workers. But under Michigan law, if you kill or even injure a worker in a construction zone, you can end up doing 15 years in prison. At the very least, you'll be hit with double points and double fines if you're pulled over.

Are you that important that you can't slow down for a few hundred yards? Is it worth spending years in a penitentiary?

Aparently, some people think that they are so important that they don't have to slow down. To them, a jail sentence obviously is worth it.

Just blame it on the driver's education system. Perhaps it is about time that got beefed up. A lot.


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