12/14/2006

Idiot Laws

It's a shame that such things have to be legislated but we all know these laws are desperately needed. They're long overdue but 3 new state mandates are about to take effect. The term "idiot laws" is often tossed around in reference to things we shouldn't have to legislate but do, so it seems very fitting in this case.

Has this ever happened to you: You're driving along on an icy morning when suddenly George Costanza's evil twin in 80's couture flys up behind you, weaving in & out of traffic in an extremely unsafe manner.

Between gelling what hair he has left & starching his collar into just the right "casually dork" somewhat upright position, he must have run short of time. He was simply too pressed to clear the 2+ feet of snow & ice from the roof or covered bed of his grotesque, taxicab yellow foreign mini-truck.

He completes his final slalom through traffic & in celebration of his victory of passing all traffic on the right, he floors it & starts to fishtail. The aforementioned winter build-up goes flying & hits the windshield of your vehicle & 2 others, temporarily blinding all 3 drivers on the icy overpass. As a result, you have pull over on an icy road with no shoulder to clear your own windshield.

Even though there are clearly 3 vehicles & 3 drivers occupied on the side of the road, other drivers have no consideration for these people whatsoever. They don't even bother to change lanes when possible. One exsquisitely mannered gentleman in a McClane rig even feels the need to holler disgusting epithets - let's just say British terms for cigarettes & a "Catch you next tuesday" kind of thing.

Apparently, their victimization had somehow inconvenienced him. Maybe he prefers more of a challenge when nearly running down motorists in distress, I don't know.

Of course, there's a few nicks in the windshield from the ice balls that struck it. By the time you drive the final three miles to your office, there's a crack in the windshield. By the time you return from lunch, there are 2 cracks. By the time the glass repair guys arrive, you know you need a whole new windshield.

Three people were put in harm's way, inconvenienced & endured out of pocket expense upward of $200 bucks, all because "George" is stupid & lazy. And yes, I was one of the victims.

But I'm happy to say now "Georges of the world beware". Failure to completely clear one's vehicle of snow & ice can receive fines of $200 - $1000. For inconsiderate motorists like our classy rig passenger, fines start at $250. If you fail to change lanes (or move to your left as much as possible) when encountering a vehicle or person on the shoulder, you can lose your license for up to 90 days.

The third law requires headlights on whenever windshield wipers are in use, which is plain old common sense. At least, it should be common sense . . .

I don't mind taking a few extra minutes to brush & scrape when Mother Nature sprinkles my Jeep with her frosting. I'm short but I keep an empty milk crate handy so that I can fully clear the roof. I'd rather be a courteous, intelligent motorist than injure or kill an innocent person. I wouldn't even want to live with the fact that some poor driver had to spend a few hundred bucks on a new windshield just because I'm a stupid, lazy, selfish jerk.

Personally, I think the penalties are too lenient. But of course these laws aren't made for people like me, they're made for people like "George". Maybe "stupid" really is a handicap & the hit to their wallets will drive home the point. I sure hope so.

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