Let the Punishment Deter the Crime

While awaiting the return of my wife to our car in a grocery-store parking lot, I observed a few of the myriad instances of the thoughtlessness that is endemic in the public behavior of Americans. In particular, I noted the abject failure of drivers (usually women) to park parallel to the side-lines of a space and approximately midway between them. That behavior reminded me of other types of behavior that cause confusion and chaos on America’s highways and by-ways.

It seems to me that the problem would soon be cured by the swift and certain administration of justice; for example:

Failure to park as described above, even in a private parking lot: punishable by a fine of $1,000 for each violation.

Failure to move one’s automobile forward within a centisecond after a light turns green: punishable by a fine of $1,000 for each violation. If the driver of an automobile fails to move his car forward within the prescribed length of time, said driver is responsible for any damage to the rear of said automobile.

Failure to move forward into an intersection, without impeding oncoming traffic, when a light is green, and then completing one’s left turn when oncoming traffic has cleared: punishable by a fine of $1,000 for each violation.

Driving in a passing lane when one is not passing: punishable by 1 day in jail. The sentence rises by 1 day in jail for each successive violation. The guilty driver has no legal recourse if his automobile is rear-ended by another vehicle.

Passing on the right, except when the passing lane is blocked by a non-passing vehicle: punishable by 1 week in jail. The sentence rises by 1 week for each successive violation.

Running a red light: punishable by a year in jail. The sentence rises by a year for each successive violation.

In no instance will a guilty party be allowed bail,  time off for good behavior, or parole.

Driving Is an IQ Test

An automobile is a deadly weapon. Driving carelessly — in ways that are dangerous or confusing to others — signifies either a death-wish (a rare thing) or stupidity (much more likely).

I would estimate a driver’s a real-life IQ by deducting 5 points for each of the following habits from the driver’s pencil-and-paper IQ:

1. driving in the middle of a street or parking-lot lane, even as another vehicle approaches

2. waiting until the last split-second to cross or turn onto a street, despite an oncoming vehicle which has the right-of-way

3. ignoring stop signs, not just by failing to stop at them but also failing to look before not stopping

4. failing to plan a trip, which often leads to the practice of turning abruptly without giving a signal

5. looping to the left for a right turn, and looping to the right for a left turn

6. changing lanes or crossing lanes of traffic without looking around …

7. or without signaling

8. crossing the center line while taking a curve

9. taking a corner by cutting across the oncoming lane of traffic

10. zipping through a parking lot as if no child, other pedestrian, or vehicle might suddenly appear

11. yielding the right of way to a driver who doesn’t have it

12. parking off-center in a parking space when there’s not an off-center vehicle in an adjacent space

13. tailgating

14 & 15. (double points) using a cell-phone while driving (even if it’s a hands-off phone)

There are many drivers whose habits would put them in the class of moron, imbecile, or idiot. They are rightly called such names — and worse.

Related posts (with some bonus material thrown in because bad driving and Austin seem to be synonymous):
Driving and Politics (1)
Life in Austin (1)
Life in Austin (2)
Life in Austin (3)
Driving and Politics (2)
AGW in Austin?
Democracy in Austin
AGW in Austin? (II)
The Hypocrisy of “Local Control”