I’m Not Concerned About Your Opinion

I realize the title of this post already has some of your hackles up.  Good.  That fits nicely in my overall point.

In my six years of experience of watching you people drive, I’ve picked up a clue or two about your abilities vis-a-vi driving a freaking motor vehicle.  One of them is this:

I pay more attention to your driving than you do.

Again, I realize that may piss you off.  Again, I say good.  Let me explain before you blow your top, kick your dog, and tell your wife she looks fat in those pants.

When I say I pay more attention to your driving than you do, I obviously don’t mean all of you.  I mean, I’m good and all, but I’m neither omnipotent nor omnipresent (be thankful).  What I do mean, however, is that for a brief space of your day when you happen to drive by me in about a one block radius, I am checking you out.  All of you.

I will stop a number of you.  Some of you will accept responsibility.  I applaud you.  Some of you will curse my name, family lineage, and formulate theories regarding my upbringing and bullying’s involvement therein.

This post is more for you.

Let’s dispatch with the semantics so’s we all know where we stand.  To those of you that I’ve cited (be it me specifically or my fellow motors) who despise me for it, I have but one thing to say:

I don’t care about what you think.

Is that unclear?

Now, I get that that sounds cold and mean and I realize I will most likely not change your opinion of me.  I would redirect your attention above; however, to those of you on the fence or to the few of you that may be on the fence, I offer this simple story.

I can both analytically and statistically show you that an increase in the number of citations written is directly correlated to the

This dude’s mom is wicked proud. Also, I’m sure he’s never been arrested and isn’t on probation for any damn thing.

reduction of collisions (involving simple property, injuries, and fatals).  To those who go to the tried-and-not-so-true “revenue generator” excuse, I offer that a mere 3% of my particular departments budget comes from tickets…and that includes parking tickets.

As an example, let’s take a stop from my past.  A minor was seated in the front passenger seat of a vehicle.  He was not using his seatbelt.  Since he is a minor, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the safety of said minor.  When the driver received a citation for the violation, he said, “Are you kidding me?  Don’t you have anything better to do?”

After repeated requests to sign the citation, I realized I was approaching the situation entirely wrong.  Since the passenger was the driver’s offspring, I changed tack and said, “Sir, have you ever seen a young man blown into 87 different pieces?  I have.  He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.  Since it seems you don’t care about the safety of your son, it’s my job to make sure he stays in one piece.  Sign the ticket, sir.”

Bless him, he did.  With a shocked blank stare.

Still not good enough?  Okay.  I will redirect you to a post from a few years back entitled “Affirmation“.

So, yeah.  I don’t really care if you like me or not.  I’m not losing sleep about whether or not you think the ticket I gave you was “fair”.  Know why I and others of my ilk sleep so well?  Because in spite of your attitude towards us, we continue to protect both you and the folks you drive around from collective stupidity.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

20 thoughts on “I’m Not Concerned About Your Opinion

  1. Well said, all of that.

    I have never understood the logic behind the whole “police radar is illegal/immoral/a scam/[choose your negative term] because they’re stealing our hard-earned money!!” attitude. People who say this don’t seem to have any grasp of their own control over, and collusion in, the situation.

    I get that most people aren’t rich and want to use every penny they make for something they want or need. I feel that way about my money. So you know what I do? I obey the law. I don’t get stopped for speeding because I don’t speed, and that means… wait for it… I don’t have to pay for any speeding tickets!

    I also happen to care about not endangering, injuring or killing myself or anybody else, but you don’t even have to get that far up the moral ladder. How about just obeying the law, because you’re supposed to? And understanding that if you don’t, there are consequences.

    It’s like saying charities are stealing your money by placing those little plastic jars at all the convenience and grocery stores. Well no, they’re not stealing your money… if you don’t want to pay them, don’t put your money in the jar – it’s up to you. Or how about those evil libraries that make scads of money from late fees? Well, guess how you thwart their evil plans: you return your books on time. And, in the same vein, if you don’t want the “evil justice system” to “steal” your money through speeding tickets… just choose not to speed.

    If you DO choose to speed, understand that you are breaking the law, which has consequences (including the monetary kind), and ACCEPT THEM.

    Phew – I’m not even a cop and that’s how worked up I get about this stuff. Can’t imagine how much more frustrated you must get, MC… o_O

  2. Well MC, I have absolutely nothing against using traffic enforcement to stop and correct REAL safety violations that result in REAL danger to the driver and others. What I mean by REAL safety violations is stuff like VC23152a, driving on the wrong side of a freeway, not buckling up, making right turns on red when doing so forces the through traffic to make last-moment evasive lane changes or floor the brakes, using a cell phone in a manner that visibly impairs the driver’s ability to operate their vehicle, lane changes without signaling and cutting off someone else, and etc. If someone presents a real danger to themselves and others, ticket away as far as I am concerned.

    What me and other motorists strongly resent is the unspoken presumption that everyone who doesn’t have a badge is deaf, blind, dumb, and doesn’t know how to drive (total bull#$%^ IMO!!!), and the tendency of many motors to take inordinate pleasure in issuing citations for technical VC violations where virtually no safety risks exist beyond those inherently involved in driving a motor vehicle or, at worst, a minor fender-bender. I’m talking ticketing people for stuff like bashing out a quick text or a call while stuck at a stop light or in stop-and-go traffic. Ditto the above for stuff like driving 35mph in a residential zone posted for 25 when no pedestrians or other vehicles are in sight.

    And if a fender-bender does happen, isn’t that why every state in US requires motorists to purchase insurance as a prerequisite for driving a car?

    • It’s got nothing to do with a badge. I know plenty of car cops that suck at driving too. Us motors, though? Perfection.

      Oh…and the “bashing out a quick text or a call while stuck at a stop light or in stop-and-go traffic”? Two things: 1) Guess when a lot of accidents happen. 2) Folks that tend to ignore the law when it’s convenient for them or they feel it’s a good excuse violate the same law at other times as well.

      Also…have I given the impression that I receive inordinate pleasure from the issuing of citations?

      Because if I haven’t I need to get on that.

    • I hear what you say about “minor” traffic misdemeanours but don’t agree; if you’ve not yet had an accident you’ve just been lucky. Have a look at this video (sorry to post a link but it illustrates my pint exactly – http://www.killsometime.com/videos/8919/Dirtbike-vs-UPS-Truck) and then ask yourself should the rider have concentrated 100% on his driving or was it okay for him to ride and film ’cause the road had light traffic and he doesn’t appear to have been driving too fast? For myself, I certainly don’t want you driving behind me thank you very much, driving slowly in traffic or not. If you want to use your mobile device, pull off the road, stop and keep out of the way.

  3. I once made myself rather unpopular during a conversation about the horrors of speed cameras (which we have a lot of in the UK) by commenting out that speeding fines are basically a voluntary tax.

    You volunteer to pay by chosing to exceed the speed limit. (and if you don’t know what the limit is, you’re clearly not driving with due care and attention) Same with the fines and points for driving without a seatbelt, driving while on a mobile phone etc. It’s really very, very easy to avoid paying. An if you do volunteer, either deliberately or through carelessness, you’ve only yourself to blame.

    I don’t like speed cameras because they ONLY catch speeders, not other equally dangerous kinds of bad driving, and because people only seem to to slow down for the camera, not generally, but I don’t see how there’s anything imorral or inappriorate anout upolding traffic laws.

    But perhaps I am prejudiced. I’ve only ever (in nearly 20 years driving) been stopped once, and the officer apologised afterwards. I was polite to him, though…

  4. I realized a while back that my “bored time”, the time when I wish like hel I had something to “occupy my mind,” is the time when I am operating a 4,248 pound object at speeds of anywhere from 35 to 70 mph. Kinda something that we should pay attention to.

    And the seatbelts? I’m so with you. My husband sees it as a legal obligation, nothing more. Lately our three year old is fighting it and asking why. I found out it’s because my husband let him ride without one a few weeks ago. Oh, I blew up. I could not believe that he would risk that, and that he would undermine me like that. I need to show him some good images of what might have been prevented by seatbelts, because the stories of my dad’s girlfriend, my sister’s friend, my sister-in-law’s first wife and my baby sister’s stepsister are apparently not convincing enough for him. All four of them would have survived if they had been wearing a seatbelt, but alas, I don’t have it on tape. Do you have any suggestions?

    • I can’t speak for MC, EliMae, but it may be worth searching on youtube – try searching for ‘crashtest dummies, restrianed vs unrestrained child’ which show pretty dramatically how muchdifference it makes (The one I found shows two kid-sized crash test dummies, one in a seat, one not…

      There’s also a UK ad called ‘Julie’s Killer’ which shows an (older) unrestrained child.

      One I foun had a voiceover saying “collison with a stationary object at 30KPH is equivalent to dropping your child head firt off a 3rd story balcony”. Might be worth making that point to your husband, too.

  5. May I just say ditto to Keynyn’s post! I have to just laugh at those who CHOOSE to speed, drive like idiots, pretend the law doesn’t apply to them, etc. and then have the audacity to say their being given a ticket was unfair!

    I’ve been driving for almost 20 years and have never had a ticket of any kind. Why? Because I CHOOSE to obey the law! That’s not to say that I’ve never exceeded the speed limit – because I have – whether it’s just a momentary lack of attention or keeping up with traffic or whatever – but when I realize what I’m doing I correct it. And should I ever be caught during one of my lapses and ticketed, I know that it will be on ME! It’ll be my responsibility (*gasp* I know, novel concept) and I hope that I would have the decency to accept the consequence without excuse.

    And I don’t care if you pay more attention to my driving than I do if it means that I’m being protected from the idiots around me and if it means that you’re protecting everyone around me from any lapse in judgement on my part!

    Keep doing what you’re doing ~ I thank you for your service and protection!

  6. Hey MotorCop! Longtime reader with a whole lot of appreciation for your writing and your work! Here, the point’s understood, and applauded in the case of a minor riding without a belt. I wonder, though, how you’d feel if your doctor followed the same policy, say with a surprise vaccination halfway through your morning commute, then made you pay for it?

    Seat belt tickets for competent adults are absolutely, without doubt, making them safer. If they don’t protect anyone but the idiot, though, does that really help the rest of us?

      • Fair enough, I can respect that. Would you extend it, then, to banning fatty foods, cigarettes, beer and red meat? I’m much more likely to die of heart disease, stroke, emphysema or cancer than an MVC, even if I didn’t wear my seatbelt…

        (This isn’t meant to be a snarky question. I’m trying to elicit your opinion on how protective governments ought to be of their people… but if I’m being annoying in your comments section, feel free to moderate!)

        • I can see where you’re going and I agree, it is a slippery slope. However, I think making the leap to fatty foods and the rest of it is a too much of a stretch for me.

  7. Ok, I am all for obeying the law. But I have a question for you MC. This is purely hypothetical, you are driving in the middle of nowhere when you come upon an intersection. You can see in either direction for about a mile no traffic to be seen. Here is the question, do you make a complete stop and then proceed or do you wait for the light to turn green 3 minutes later? I know that you should wait but when can the traffic lights in very rural areas be disregarded. We have all been subjected to this scenario at some time or another, and to me it drives me nuts to be stopped by such a nuisance traffic signal. In the back of my mind I fear that the one time that I did proceed the red, local LEO would/could be lurking in the shadows. I obey the traffic laws due to the fact that I can’t afford the citation, I look at it like, that money could go for something that I may need or want. Interested to see your response.

    • Based on the scenario you laid out, I have a better suggestion. Why not make a right on the red, then make a U-turn (if legal, of course) and then make another turn to end up the direction you wanted to go. That way, you don’t have to wait and you’ve still complied with the law.

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