Traffic, or why the current driving system is failing us.
By: Tyler Doty
We live in a capitalist society. You can love that or hate that, but it is the truth. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer; middle class is dead. This affects our entire societal structure, in both negative and positive ways. So often we see people in government as well as public addressing these different arising concerns. We see people banding together to help lower the numbers of homeless people living on the streets. Government spending is being kept in check by the media and public (well…). After a period of small mom & pop type of stores closing down the big business megacorporations’, grassroots companies are thriving from business by people who refuse to support the giant corporate machines that has nearly destroyed small business start-ups. The list goes on, almost always focusing on fixing these problems caused by a capitalist society, or on the scales tilting in the other direction; balance being restored, showing how capitalism goes both ways. To me, though, there is always one place that nobody talks about. What I’m referring to is our current traffic system. People gripe over government spending, but they fail to see that every single day, there is a solution staring at them right in the face.
So, here is what I propose. There should be traffic laws. Absolutely and unequivocally. Our entire traffic system is based around a set of traffic laws that have taken years to be developed and utilized in an appropriate manner. But the problem with these traffic laws is that they cause people to drive not by instinct, but by rule of law. Any professional driver can tell you that driving is an art form, that the car is an extension of the driver, yet traffic laws remove that extension, and make people feel like outsiders and law-breakers every time they get behind a wheel. They feel nervous that they are speeding and are going to get caught. It’s a distraction. It causes people not to focus on the road and the flow of traffic, but rather on the speedometer. Modern vehicles are, simply put, safer than they used to be. They have more stable suspension, chassis’ designed to counteract the roll of the car’s body, bigger brakes and rotors to allow for faster stopping speeds. Engines and drivetrain’s that let us pass vehicles faster, letting us get out of harms way. Tires that give us more grip, whatever weather we may be encountering. One needs only watch car and tire commercials to be told this, but that doesn’t make them any less truthful. So, are all these miracles of science and engineering benefiting us? Yes…and no. These advantages are all being limited by traffic laws.
My new sports car runs on 94 octane gasoline. It has 330 bhp and does 0-60 in 5.2 seconds. It brakes from 60-0 in 110 feet. It has airbags that come out of pretty much anywhere and it handles like a dream…but it is not considered as safe as a Dodge Caravan, even though it is much safer. But I digress, because the point isn’t “oh, my car is better than yours!”….or is it? See, I don’t feel that a 60-year-old boat of a car should be following the same rules of the road as a brand new sports car. They are two completely different machines, and as such, they should be graduated differently on the same sliding scale. They should keep the speed limits exactly the same, absolutely no changes to any infrastructure. But, for people who want to be able to drive based on the performance of their car, and not on some piece of junk old cars performance, they can pay, out of their pocket, to submit their vehicle to a rigorous testing process which will either elevate or decrease what their speed limit is. That is within reason, of course. You can’t have some guy buy a Bugatti Veyron and say “well, this car can easily do +100 of the speed limit safely” and have him blasting down roadways (despite the fact that he would be right). The problem with that is that he isn’t the only car on the road. No, there would have to be limits. Say, a +10 to +30 range is completely reasonable on highways. In cities a +10 to +20 is completely reasonable (such as on small freeways) and in residential areas a +10 wouldn’t be out of the question. If your car can brake in the same distance doing 20 over that a regular family car does going 20 slower than you, you should be rewarded for that. But, it goes both ways. If you take your old truck in to get tested, it may get a minus number. An old muscle car, it may be in mint condition, and it may be able to accelerate fast, but it has lousy handling, its suspension isn’t designed for high speeds and it decelerates much slower than a modern car would.
Taking your car into get tested would not be mandatory. This is a choice people would make. This is where the economy comes into play (I knew I would get to this point eventually). It might cost $2,000 to get your vehicle tested by a rigorous, standardized test. The owner of the vehicle would pay for this, not the government. That vehicle owner would also have to pay out of their own pocket for a new license, license plate and registration, which would verify their graduated license. Overall, it might cost $3,000-$5,000 for someone to complete the process. They would have to test each vehicle they own individually, and for each vehicle, have their license, license plate and registration updated. This may seem like a ridiculous amount, but for people with performance vehicles, it’s something they would gladly pay to avoid getting speeding tickets and demerits. New vehicle dealerships could offer the service to be added on as a feature, so that owners could finance it along with their cars, however, that money would still go to the government (with a slight overheard premium for the dealership). Again, this is all something that is done by CHOICE. It is up to the vehicle owner to take the proper steps necessary to elevate their license. This is a service and system that doesn’t try to re-write what it means to live in a capitalist society, but rather one that takes the best parts of a capitalist society and utilizes them; option and choice.
So, you may be saying “just because someone is driving a sports car, that doesn’t mean they know how to drive.” You are completely correct. Lots of people have money and can afford nice cars, but that doesn’t mean they know what they are doing when they get behind the wheel of one. The solution to this is actually really simple. For people wishing to get a graduated license, they would be required to take an advanced driver training course, which might cost them a few thousand dollars. It would take at least a couple of weeks to complete, with classes and actual driving being done every night and/or day through the length of the course. This would be a one time course they would take. Every year they would be required to go back in and take a short refresher course, as well as a new driving test. I should also recommend that all regular drivers be required to take a yearly basic driving test as well.
I would again like to re-iterate, these are choices people make. No one is forcing regular drivers to jump all these hoops, they would simply need to go in for a short driving test every year. These driving tests could even count towards removing demerits. Driving should not be considered a right, but rather a privilege. If a person can not safely drive on the road, they should not be driving. Public transit exists, and with all the money generated JUST from this program, governments could turn every major city into a metropolis of FREE public transit. Or, alternately, they could install these traffic lights…
This entry was posted on November 23, 2010 by lifeaftersocialmedia. It was filed under In General, The Automobile and was tagged with automobiles, cars, coupe, economy, government, jeeps, lifeaftersocialmedia, lights, minivan, safety, seatbelt, sedan, solution, traffic, traffic lights, trucks, vans, vehicles, walrus.