Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category
Progressive policing doesn’t appear to be working in Maryland. Police spend their time pulling over motorists they think might not be wearing a seat belt – whether or not that person is breaking another law. In the meantime the proximate cause of the vehicular genocide on Maryland highways is conveniently ignored. No one has to go to jail or get a very serious ticket except drunk drivers. Police make a show, or what Stop the MUD calls “police theater” out of wearing a seat belt believing that mitigating the carnage is more important than arresting and booking aggressive drivers.
The carnage continues. In the last few weeks at least four people died on Maryland roads and highways. No one, least of all the police seem to really care. When was the last time you saw a vehicle with an FP, FOP, FFA, or FF plate obey the traffic laws? I regularly see state police officers in marked and unmarked vehicles breaking the traffic laws. Calls to the local barracks are met with stubborn rebuke.
There are few example setters in Maryland. The police don’t want a crack down on aggressive driving. It almost seems like they would rather rely on natural selection.
What it boils down to is this. We, you and me, need to obey the traffic laws. The police won’t until we do. When the majority of us drive like we want to live the scofflaws will stand out like sore thumbs.
Until every Marylander (and visiting aggressive drivers from Virginia) decide to do the right thing the carnage will continue. Police will continue to pretend they care by stopping the un-belted. Political jurisdictions will continue to enjoy the taxes extracted from traffic cameras. Police and jurisdictions are finding excuses for progressive policies from OUR behavior, and yes their own. It’s convenient.
At the intersection of Thomas Johnson Drive and Opossumtown Pike, for example, according to a story we ran this Sunday in The News-Post, the number of crashes dropped from 32 from 1999 to 2002 to three from 2009 to 2010.
In the opinion of the Frederick News-Post Online:
(Companies that “maintain” red-light cams would not have divided the current method of payment unless it was lucrative. Forty-one percent seems lucrative to us. While we don’t know if yellows were shortened in Frederick we have read that some jurisdictions around the world have done just that to improve their red-light revenue stream.
Lastly, people may be stopping at this intersection but if you followed these drivers elsewhere in the city we would bet that each one runs stop signs and traffic lights all over town. Red light cams stop the behavior in one spot. The crash mitigation is localized to one intersection. Has anyone looked at whether or not crashes or red-light running have been reduced statewide at the same significant rate?
Each and every Marylander that continues to run a stop sign or drive through a red light encourages the installation of red-light cams. Whether you like the cams or not we wouldn’t have them if we as a people stopped when we were supposed to. But the majority of us just don’t understand the discipline of stopping at a stop sign or a red light. We continue to play Russian roulette with our lives and kill ourselves and others.
The solution to red-light running is us. Just stop at the sign or the red light. It’s safer, smarter and cheaper.”
Yet the evidence is everywhere that there are motorists who haven’t kept up — if they ever really learned how to drive.
Please read Michael Dresser’s column about today’s drivers:
You MUST read the excellent article on this topic by Joseph Rose of the Oregonian at OregonLive.com. STOPtheMUD agrees with those that hold the premise that the BUS DRIVER is responsible for assuring the pedestrian right of way AND that pedestrians must never assume it.
It’s clear to us at least that the bus drivers in some of the aforementioned events were responsible for the deaths and injuries. Spending a big wad of cash on a $10 gadget that gives bus driver’s an excuse may make Portland’s politicians feel better but it does not MITIGATE the proximate cause of pedestrian injury and death. It is nothing more than an expensive obfuscation.
Our congratulations go out of the engineer that pointed out the cost and the absurdities of this expensive solution. What do you think? Vote in our poll. (Left column of the blog.)
Thank you to the Baltimore Spokes blog for alerting us to this issue.
Four U.S. Senators are calling for Apple and other purveyors of smartphone software to ban apps that would help motorists identify and avoid drunk driving checkpoints.
via Senators Ask Apple To Ban DUI Checkpoint Alert Apps. (Huffington Post)
(I’m sorry but I’m a bit cynical I suppose. In my opinion, this looks like just another planned opportunity for the Democrats to obfuscate. They are using an issue that redirects debate and public attention from the budget debates the Democrats are now stone walling. Their letter creates the illusion they care about drunk driving and that big business does not when that is far from the truth and that this is more important to worry about than the REAL BUSINESS at hand – running the government. Their base loves it because it helps them “feel good” and leaves those folks with the impression the Democrats are doing something in Washington.
It is no more than a political tactic. My guess is if you dug into this they probably pay an operative to find such issues so the professional whiners can point to something else to take the heat off what they should be doing. What are national law makers doing involving themselves in the software business? It makes no sense.
I believe the Supreme Court has decided that we have the right to know when checkpoints are planned. These events are always announced ahead of time. So what is the harm of the application? In this writer’s view, checkpoints and speed traps are no more than “police theater” anyway.
Directed patrol in DUI prone areas (oops there’s that profiling word again) is much more successful at catching chronic drunks on our roadways. Pardon me for saying so, but I suspect that most drunks don’t carry iPhones with DUI checkpoint apps. They couldn’t see to read the thing much less remove it from a pocket while inebriated. I’m just saying.
The folks most likely to carry this app around are probably those that don’t want to be delayed while their government makes a theatrical show of force. I’ve been through one of these delays. It is a huge waste of police resources and the time of those citizens forced to endure a traffic stop with no probable cause.
But, like I said I might be cynical.
Did you vote for one of these people: Democrats Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Tom Udall and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Do you live in their district even if you didn’t vote for them? Regardless, You might want to write them a letter and ask them to “please get back to work.”)
“The evening of the 20th of February 2011 started with relief, as I was anxious to get back to the important work of the Alaskan Legislature. Heading into security after time with the line of passengers, I felt upbeat. I’d blocked out the horror of three months earlier, but after the pleasant TSA agent checked the ticket and ID, I suddenly found myself directed into scanning by the Seattle Airport’s full-body imaging scan. The horror began again. A female agent placed herself blocking my passage. Scan results would again display that my breast cancer and the resulting scars pointed a TSA finger of irregularity at my chest. I would require invasive, probing hands of a stranger over my body.
(I applaud Mrs Cissna’s stand, especially as a female cancer patient. Why we as a nation can’t seem to find a better way to make airport security work is beyond comprehension.
I’m touched by Mrs. Cissna’s statement that she would not want to “submit to that horror” of that “twisted policy” again. I’m also reminded that an intrusive local, state, or federal government regulations have taken us into a nanny state.
There are regulations or laws that:
1. Allow teenagers to get abortions without the knowledge of their parents. Imagine how their parents must feel knowing that their daughter was allowed to submit to an intimate horror.
2. Permit legislatures to tax us into oblivion because they believe they know better than we do. From Obamma Care to introducing a bill in Maryland that would require taxpayers to fund “financial literacy” courses for school students instead of focusing on the three R’s.
3. Allow private enterprise to declare eminent domain against citizen property owners so a bigger financial interest can make a profit using the land owned by someone else.
3. Allow governments to stop the exploration for and taking of natural resources available in our own country.
4. Allow union thugs to take over state houses and Democrat law makers to flee a state in order to prevent a vote and a necessary debate.
5. Allow retirement ponzi schemes to proliferate and destroy local and state economies.
6. Make it easier for businesses to treat the older, and physically handicapped persons as worthless and unemployable. Age discrimination and discrimination against the handicapped exists but we pay it little mind.
7. Make it OK to text (use a cell phone) while at a red light. Oh yes, that’s us. Maryland.)
There are quite a few things we can get behind, we Democrats and Republicans. I just wish more eyes were open to the real injustices of this world and that we were really focused on solutions. Let’s hope this courageous Democrat Alaskan law maker takes her experience and runs with it – the right direction. Let’s get these laws changed. Let’s look at all of the kooky ones, the ones that make no sense, and the laws motivated by greed and politics. Let’s get it all done.
There is one terrific way to take the edge off an already difficult day. It’s a way that allows you to enjoy the ride to work, to home, the store, or an activity. Wherever you go if you do this you will arrive relaxed instead of depleted.
Drive safely. Its that simple. Obey the rules of the road and you will soon find that stress is greatly reduced or a thing of the past. It is also easier to recognize and respond to the obvious stress of others that do not share your passion for driving safely.
Drive safely, and not like you live in Maryland. It’s a wonderful thing.
VBF has the bad news that the Three Foot Passing and Following too close law was tabled in the House Transportation Committee by what was eventually an 11-10 vote. Someone who was there wrote:
StoptheMUD’s comment below: (By the way, please do visit “The Wash Cycle.”
(I’m a Republican and I believe in the Maryland three-foot bicycle safety rule. One wonders the real reason why a Republican in Virginia is keeping bicycling risks greater by ignoring the three foot rule. My experience driving in Virginia says to me that it is equally as dangerous as driving in Maryland and perhaps even more so. The cry for the three-foot rule is a cry for driving safety as well. Like seat belt enforcement the three-foot rule is a round-a-bout way to mitigate the carnage because driving safety is not a priority for individual residents of Maryland or Virginia. We’re using these laws to wake people up and give law enforcement some way to issue citations to the most egregiously unsafe among us.
Then we do have to stop and point out that states are asking for and getting special legislation to protect police officers on their traffic stops and those laws require drivers to move to another lane or slow down sharply as a courtesy to the officer. Fine. Extend the same courtesy to the rest of us and also encourage police and their families driving cars with police vanity plates to start obeying traffic laws.
Government is not doing well here. It sends confusing message, obfuscates debate, and only tends to do what garners a vote. Government can’t really help us. What is required is that every Virginian and ever Marylander make the choice to drive safely. Then government is out of the picture. Existing laws, it might be argued, already protect pedestrians and bicyclists. If those laws are not working then we need to find out why, but first everyone needs to obey the traffic regulations and drive safely.
There is also the “Get Off the BUS option. States that are not considered “bicycle safety conscious” could be designated “Bicycle Unfriendly States.” Either get off that BUS and join us or we won’t bicycle in your state. You cannot ride where you do not feel safe. Maryland seems to be improving in that area but not Virginia.)
Ongoing residential construction on three projects in Silver Spring needlessly closed sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to either navigate confusing, circuitous detours or to walk in the roadway. For neighbors, it’s been an ongoing nightmare.
(Pedestrian safety is as important, if not more so, than driving safety. After all, a pedestrian is not seat belted inside of a large metal shell. When a vehicle or a city government does something to put a pedestrian at risk it is generally noticed right away as is the case with this construction work in Silver Spring, Maryland. (All one has to do to find a contradiction even to this however is watch how most people driving in the parking lots of malls and grocery stores.)
Maybe I’m cynical, but I have to ask. Why are most of us not as worried about our driving? If it’s a nightmare to walk in the road why are we not asking how come? Why are we not making the plight of the Silver Spring Pedestrian less of a nightmare?
Whether to driver safely or not is a personal decision that each of us has to make. Our vehicles are not controlled like the cars in a child’s road-race set. Behind each steering wheel is one brain, one mind, making a choice to drive safely or like a pinhead.
Where’s the sudden outcry and the rage about how so many Marylanders place us at risk each day on the highway?)
Folks, STOPtheMUD does NOT encourage and we specifically condemn anyone pacing a speeding driver at the same illegal speed. You cannot justify your own behavior by pointing to someone else’s bad behavior. We get it. It’s dramatic focusing your cam first on your speedometer and then on the driver ahead of you. It’s also a senseless risk that puts you, your passengers, and the rest of us in danger.
We have found a few of these videos on YouTube by drivers angry at speeding police officers. You can report them. Call their agency, state date and time, your legal speed and your estimate of the other driver’s speed.
Please don’t speed up to film your speedometer. Please don’t do it.