Those Pesky Kids

I can’t count the number of times I’ve stopped someone and then have to listen to them bitch and moan about “those pesky kids” that drive like maniacs every day. Why aren’t I doing something about them? Why am I harassing hard working adults? Don’t I have anything better to do?

Frankly, no. I don’t have anything better to do. See this patch with the wings and the wheel? That means I’m a soul crushing Motorcop. They don’t have a patch that shows me crushing a soul, so we went with the old standby.
*On a side note, if any of you are artistically inclined and want to design a cool logo in which I am actually crushing a soul, feel free! I’ll add it to the blog and make it my Twitter pic. I’ll even give you tons of credit.*
Anyway…I had two people this week say the exact same thing. When were we (the cops) going to do something about these rapscallion teens. Okay, they didn’t say rapscallion, but literary license is a beautiful thing.
I attempted to explain to them that teens make up a very small portion of the demographic of folks I cite. And believe me, it ain’t for lack of trying! I sit in front of schools just about every morning. At the end of the school day, I’m down the street waiting for them to do something stupid. I remember being a teen. I did stupid…with style! (And now I’m waiting for my Mom to chime in…)
The problem is that more often than not, I don’t come across teens as much. But, I didn’t have hard numbers to back up my claim. Until now.
I give you to-date stats for 2011. As we all know, I was out for a bit taking care of the Wife and kidlets. And, as most PDs are, we are running short, so I’ve had to cover a beat from a couple weeks. With that in mind, I have written a total of 93 tickets thus far this year. I wrote down the age of all 93 and averaged them. The result?
43. The average age of the 93 people I have cited so far this year is 43 years old. So, sir. Ma’am. You are the problem. Your excuse of “I drive this road everyday” does not bring forth images of innocence in my head. Think about it. You drive the same way. Every day. Twice a day. Or more. Hundreds of times, perhaps thousands in a few years. You don’t think that breeds a bit of complacency? Please.
I’m just as guilty of auto-pilot myself. There have been times I’ve pulled into the driveway and thought to myself, “Huh. That’s interesting. How’d I end up here? Don’t really remember the drive home.” You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake (credit: Tyler Durden). You are just as at risk for complacent driving as the rest of us.
So, stop whining about “those pesky kids” and how they are systematically thumbing their nose at our precious safe streets. Two things. One, it isn’t them. It’s you. Second, who taught them how to drive?

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

10 thoughts on “Those Pesky Kids

  1. I can honestly say that in some ways I was probably a safer driver as a teen than I am as an adult closing in on 40. As a teen I was viscerally aware of my lack of experience, and the consequences of a mistake, so I took no risks at all (at least not on purpose). I didn't speed, never messed with my radio (a personal peeve), was double plus sure of the traffic before I pulled into an intersection. They didn't have cell phones then (the dark ages!), so I don't know how I would have handled that.

    As an adult, I sometimes speed (and tell myself I'm following the "flow of traffic"), find myself on autopilot, and once (because once was ENOUGH)nearly fell asleep at the wheel after driving for eleven hours AFTER a full nine-hour workday.

    I don't often get cut off by teenage drivers. I don't often have teenage drivers run red lights at the intersection I'm waiting to enter. I don't often have to swerve to avoid a teenage driver encroaching on my lane. Who do I most often see doing these things? People my age and older.

  2. For this to be statistically significant, we also need the median and standard deviation.

    Lies, damnable lies and statistics!

    But I have a feeling your perception (and mean) is accurate.

  3. I have never understood the "why are you harassing me instead of catching the rapists and murderers" rant. You WOULD go catch a rapist or murderer if you saw one raping or murdering in front of your motor/cop car. But you didn't see one of them; instead you saw the whiny traffic violator… who, even if they are not raping or murdering someone, is still breaking the law, and doesn't deserve to get away with it.

    And, as cynical as I am about today's society, I don't quite buy the implied "one minor traffic citation = one scott-free rapist and/or murderer" ratio. I really don't think it works that way, even if your PD is shorthanded.

    Or, in conclusion, screw them and go you. 😉

  4. Jake…

    It's been 20 yrs since I took stats. I don't remember what a standard deviation or a median is. I simply added up all 93 ages and divided it by 93.

  5. When I'm driving along, whether lately in my soccer-mom-like-minivan or my former truck, it's never teenagers who try to cut me off, go around me because they didn't like my caution at an intersection, scare me by weaving from lane to lane or generally drive like nuts. It's usually someone who is at least 30, often with kids in the car. Most of the time the kids aren't buckled in, either.

  6. I work in an area of London notorious for bad driving. Actually most of London is, but our area in particular. The worst drivers, in my perception alone, and no stats to back it up, are indeed middle aged and upwards. They seem to have an attitude of ownership of the road, and the hell with everyone else. There's a lack of awareness, a lack of care, and very clearly a lack of knowledge and skill.
    Add to that a feeling of entitlement, superiority and innocence, and you have the perfect recipe for poor driving and an expectation to get away with it.
    And a superb closing line, sir…

  7. Geez, MC, I remember you and another guy got the bright idea of tying a rope to the bumper of that POS Civic you were driving around back in the day. We took turns towing each other around the neighborhood on a skateboard at about 2 in the morning. Its a miracle that nobody shattered a femur.

    If we would have got stopped . . . we DEFINITELY would have deserved it!!!

  8. The pesky kids aren't the problem – slowpokes who can't keep up with the traffic are.

    Statistically, roughly one third of traffic crashes are speed-related. This may sound bad, but consider how few people obey the speed limit whenever the police aren't around – almost no one.

    With that in mind, it's the minority of drivers who are NOT speeding that are the problem. They are the ones who are disproportionately involved in crashes, and it only makes sense to focus enforcement on non-speeders! 🙂

  9. We recently got a new-to-us car to replace my hubby's after the transmission went kaput. It is fairly sporty (though it doesn't look super sporty) and fast, partly because we both do autocross for fun.

    It was absolutely hilarious listening to my husband be lectured for over an hour by his dad about how the police take speeding very seriously, and how he shouldn't take stupid risks.

    …My husband does NOT take stupid risks while driving. He doesn't speed (ever), tailgate, switch recklessly between lanes, pass people on the wrong side, text while driving, etc.

    On the other hand, my father-in-law does all of these (except texting, because he doesn't know how) on a regular basis. We rode with him on a family trip once, and I don't want to do that again. It was a terrifying experience, because he literally was going at least 20 over on the interstate, and right up on peoples' bumper with his big old van. If every ride growing up was such a scary experience, I can see why my husband is such a careful driver.

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