So I saw last week that over 4,000 drivers in Saskatchewan were nailed for driving too fast in July. It’s a good start. But, as anyone who spends any time at all on our roadways, it is but a drop in the bucket compared to what is actually happening out there.
Quite frankly, there are just a lot of people driving like idiots on our roadways.
Just look at the July stats, as provided by Saskatchewan Government Insurance. Over 140 tickets were issued for people going 35 km/h over the speed limit. That means people were going 85 km/h or more in a 50 zone which is just stupid. Or, maybe they were doing that in a 110 zone. Meaning they were going 145 or more. Again, stupid.
Or, throw in the 35 drivers doing 50 over the limit. Hopefully they all had their vehicles seized.
There were also the 28 brainiacs who don’t have the sense, nor the respect, to slow down when passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have myself gotten a speeding ticket or two over my years as a driver, both times for being 20 over the posted limit (once in an 80 zone and I wasn’t paying attention and once in a 100 zone). It was annoying, but in both cases it was my own fault.
That’s another thing I really don’t get - the drivers who break the law and then whine about it and blame everyone and everything but themselves. I’m not sure how it is a cop’s fault when someone is caught being stupid.
I think we’ve got it right with how we are handling many of our drivers who can’t seem to find the cranial capacity to know if they’re going to drive, don’t drink. I’m a big fan of the idea that if you get nailed once for such an offence, that you should be forced to drive with an in-car Breathalyzer.
But why stop there? There are some real annoying drivers out there and I think we should look at other in-car solutions. Here are some of my personal suggestions:
The cell-phone lock -- I can’t tell you how many times on divided highways I have seen someone going exceptionally slow in the PASSING LANE (another concept I’m amazed some drivers can’t seem to comprehend) and as I pull alongside in the right lane I glance over and see they’re too busy texting to be driving in the proper lane or at the right speed etc. Yup, texting in the passing lane at 110 km/h on busy highways. So, my suggestion is those devotees of Darwin be forced to use an in-car cell phone lock that immobilizes the car until their cell phone is locked in with the screen facing the dash and inaccessible to the driver. These drivers are annoying, but also excessively dangerous.
The steering wheel weight -- For those drivers similar to above who can’t figure out what a passing lane is for, this weight attaches to the right half of the steering wheel and naturally and gradually pulls these drivers back into the regular driving lane.
The steering wheel lock -- While similar to the above two “solutions,” this one is for everybody’s favourite driver - the man or woman who somehow never figured out what that stick on the left side of the steering column is all about. They move in and out of lanes without any concept of needing to communicate such maneuvers to other drivers. So, for those special folks, we offer a steering wheel lock that prevents the wheel from being turned unless a turn signal has first been activated.
The double fist engine disabler - This one is specifically tailored for the eating driver, the texting driver, the woman putting on make up driver. We’ve all seen them. I am certain that many of us have been them at one point or another. This great tool cuts the engine any time there isn’t two hands on the wheel for more than five seconds. So, there’s time to operate turn signals, or windshield wipers, but not to two-hand that double cheeseburger and jam it into your pie hole while steering with your knees!
The lead wedge for lead foots - For those drivers who seem to think speed limits apply to everyone but them. I mean, come on, I know that most of us cheat a little bit, but for the 35-50 plus guys, or those who like the double the speed limit thing, there has to be an in-car solution. And there is - a wedge of lead that attaches to the bottom of the gas pedal. The bigger offender they are, the bigger the wedge can be. These lead for brains with the lead foots will be right at home with this handy attachment.
Now, obviously all of my so-called “solutions” are pretty much unsafe and completely unrealistic. The best thing that each and every one of us can do to make our roads safer are to obey posted limits and drive defensively.
We live in a world where mutli-tasking and having the attention span of the average two-year-old is the norm. But, when we hop behind the wheel, it is one of the places we need to find that inner-Zen focus. Drive safe everyone.
Darryl Mills is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at Darryl.email@example.com or on Twitter at @darryl_mills