Traffic Laws That Can Get You Killed (Seat Belts)



In Part 1 and 2, I addressed the phony cell phone and ignition interlock laws.  Now, I’d like to turn your attention to the seat belt law.

In NY, only front seat passengers are required to buckle up.  In the back seat, only those under the age of 16 are required to buckle up. Why?  Are not all back seat passengers subject to the same laws of nature? Of course they are, so there must be another reason.

It was reported in a Buffalo newspaper that a reporter was talking to a legislative aid and asked why all occupants are not required to wear a seat belt.  The aid, thinking it was off the record, said that legislators who ride in the back seat of their chauffeured limousines don’t want to wear a seat belt and that’s why they will not pass a law forcing everyone to buckle up.

When you ride in the back seat, in the event of a crash you will become a missile that is projected to the front, which could conceivably knock the driver unconscious. Think about that for awhile.

 Even if the driver doesn’t stop your forward motion, you will most likely make contact with the windshield or worse, be ejected through the windshield.  Think about that for awhile.

In a crash test video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an unrestrained child-sized test dummy in the back of a van is launched, striking a passenger up front before slamming head first into the windshield.  In a real-life example, a video shows two women in a cab. One was wearing a seat-belt; the other was not.  The unbelted woman flies across the cab and slams into the window.

Only 28 states require adults in the back to buckle up.  New Hampshire is the only state that does not have a mandatory seat belt.  Their State motto is “Live free or die.”  How prophetic!

Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-NY) is pushing legislation that would make it illegal not to wear your seat-belt in the back of a cab in New York City.  Violators would face a $50.  Why only cabs?

 You don’t need a law to wear a seat belt when you’re in the back seat of a car.  Leave that idiocy to the politicians who think they are so smart.

 Your comments are always welcomed and I will respond to questions.


Bad Driving Habits That Can Get You Killed (“Expert” Advice)




I recently posed a question to the National Safety Council asking why States pass phony laws that, in effect, encourage distracted driving e.g. the cell phone law, which only bans holding a phone and encourages talking on a phone if it’s hands-free and the ignition interlock law which forces convicted drunk drivers to blow into a device while driving to test their blood alcohol level, thereby creating a distracted driver in place of a drunk driver.

I received a response from Deb Trombley, Senior Program Manager for, Transportation Initiatives at the National Safety Council. It’s bad enough if motorists are not aware of laws that affect their safety, but when “experts” pass on misinformation that is inexcusable.

Here is misinformation offered by Ms. Trombley, which I choose to call “ka-ka.”

Ka-Ka: “Hand-held bans ban talking on hand-held phones.”
Fact: Hand-held bans only ban holding a phone. “Illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device.”
So even if you’re not talking but just holding and viewing, you can be cited under the law.

Ka-Ka: Ignition interlocks “are designed to give drivers enough time to pull over to do a retest. They aren’t designed to be used while in motion.”
Fact: “Rolling retests are required while the car is running. As the offender drives, he or she gets a warning indicator that a test will be required soon, to give them time to pull over to more safely take the test. If they’re unable to get out of traffic, they can blow into the device as they continue to drive.http://www.NationalConferenceofStateLegislatures

It’s important for motorists to know that some of the laws that are seemingly passed for their safety, in actual fact oft times do just the opposite. To protect yourself, your loved ones, and other users on the road:

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Are You a “Driver” or Merely a “Mover?”


A Vast Difference Between Driving and Moving!

      Any body can be a “mover!” All they need to know is where the gas pedal is. Sadly, too many movers think that the harder you can press the pedal and the faster you can make the car move, the better a driver you are. Utter nonsense.

     A “driver” is a motorist who recognizes the power of the automobile and moves it in a responsible manner, according to the rules of the road, so that the driver, other motorists, or pedestrians are not in danger from such movement.  Are you a driver?  Do you know the rules of the road and respect them?  If not, then you are just a mover!

Read the following statements and answer True or False. “Drivers” will get them all right. “Movers” not so much.

1- A green light gives you the right-of-way.  T or F

2- When planning to turn, you need to signal for 10 to 50 feet before turning.  T or F?

3- The basic speed law says you can go no more than 10 miles   over the speed limit.  T or F?

4- A flashing red-light means you should stop and only            proceed if it’s safe, since the light is obviously broken.            T or F?

5- Speed limits tell us what speed to drive at when conditions are ideal. T or F?

6- Blowing your horn is a good way for you to avoid crashing.  T or F?

7- When a left-turner is facing a green arrow, the left-turner has the right-of-way over the oncoming car. T or F?

8- The main purpose of yellow and white lines is to separate lanes of traffic.  T or F?

9- Pedestrians always have the right-of-way.  T or F?

10- On wide two way streets where lanes are separated by medians, it would be wrong and dangerous to stop for a school bus that is on the opposite side of the road and has its upper red-lights flashing. T or F?

Did you think any of the statements were true?  The fact is they are all false. Let’s go over them one by one. Class is now in session: (Explanations are based on NY State law).

1- The law doesn’t give anyone the right-of-way. The law only tells us who is supposed to yield the right-of-way. So, the true answer is that you only have the right-of-way with a green light IF the drivers with the red light give it to you. The sad fact is that many a driver has been killed going through a green light thinking they had the right-of-way.

2- The law is clear. You need to signal for at least 100 feet before turning. The idea is to signal the “intention” to turn, not the “execution.” Signaling as you make the turn is meaningless. And, of course, not signaling is totally against the law.

3- The speed limit law says you may not exceed the speed limit.  But, the basic speed law says that you may NOT drive at the speed limit if conditions require a slower speed.  Understand that conditions are not only weather or road conditions.  Approaching an intersection,for example, is also a condition covered by the basic speed law.  Moreover, the biggest condition is not under the wheels but behind the wheel, which is why drunks should not drive, sleepy people should not drive and distracted people should not drive; they are the condition.

 4- A flashing red light does mean you should make a full stop and proceed only when it’s safe to do so BUT NOT because the light is broken.  A flashing red light is a valid traffic signal and means the exact same thing as a Stop Sign.

 5- Speed limits DO NOT tell us what the safe speed is or what speed to drive at.  Speed limits make no suggestion or recommendation as to what speed you should drive at. Speed limits merely give us a range of speeds to pick from. For instance, if you’re on a street where the speed limit is 25 mph, you can legally drive at whatever speed you want between 0 and 25. You can always drive below the speed limit; you cannot drive above the speed limit. It is what it is; the limit, the maximum.                                                       On highways, there is a minimum speed limit. Do you know what the minimum speed limit is? If you mentioned a number, then you don’t know. The minimum speed limit is a formula; subtract 15 from the speed limit and you have your minimum. Therefore, on highways you can legally drive at whatever speed you want between the minimum and the maximum.

6- Blowing your horn is not a good way for YOU to avoid a crash. Blowing your horn is an attempt to shift the responsibility to ANOTHER PERSON to avoid the crash either because you feel you can’t (going too fast) or because you just don’t want to. Either way that is unacceptable.  Horns don’t stop cars: yours or theirs. And quite often, they don’t stop pedestrians either. So, if you truly want to avoid a crash, you need to take responsibility for that and find ways of taking charge of the situation. (Avoiding crashes will be the topic for a future blog).

7- This carries the same explanation as question number 1. You will only have the right-of-way to turn on a green arrow IF the oncoming cars give it to you by stopping for their red light.

8- Lines do separate lanes of traffic but the colors mean different things. Yellow lines separate opposing lanes of traffic while white lines separate lanes that are going in the same direction. Therefore, you can drive on either side of a white line, but you better think twice about driving on the left side of a yellow line.

9- Same explanation as question number 1. The law doesn’t give any one the right-of-way. Not even pedestrians. The law only tells us who yields the right-of-way and motorists are supposed to yield to the pedestrians. The reason we have so many dead pedestrians is because too often “movers” don’t yield.

10- The law is clear. You must stop for a school bus when the upper red lights are flashing, not only on divided streets but also on divided highways. (Just another law that can get you killed).  You might be interested to know that the extended stop sign has nothing to do with it.  Some buses don’t have those signs.

     If you answered all the questions correctly, you can most certainly call yourself a driver. But, if you answered many incorrectly, you need to brush up before you can call yourself a driver.

       It takes knowledge, skill and the right attitude to “drive” a car.  Learn the rules, drive by the rules, respect others on the road and then you will deserve the title, “driver.”

 [I welcome comments and will respond to questions.]

Traffic Laws That Can Get You Killed (Phony Laws)



Why?  It’s All About The Money!


You may not agree with my conclusion but this is what I have come to believe.  The reason States pass phony laws that sound good on the surface  but are actually detrimental is — money!

Yes, whenever things don’t make sense, follow the money.  Whether or not you’ve ever though about it, crashing is a business.  It’s a multi-gazillion dollar industry.  Do you know that there are people who go to work in the morning depending upon people crashing?  If there are no crashes, they would be out of a job.  I’m talking about doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, lawyers, insurance people, ambulance and tow truck drivers, police and firemen, car dealers, repair shops, funeral directors, and florists, etc.   The list is actually endless.  These and many more people make a living from traffic crashes.  And the State loves that because they get a cut.  When a repair shop fixes your car that’s called a sale and the State gets a sales tax.  When you pay a doctor to fix you up, the State gets an income tax.  The State makes tons of money from all the transactions that flow from a traffic crash.

It has been estimated that crashing costs consumers 8 billion dollars a year.  That means that someone else is receiving those 8 billion dollars.  And when money changes hands, the State imposes a tax.  Can you compute 8% of 8 billion dollars?

Now, why would the State want to kill that industry and dry up all that revenue?  The simple answer is they don’t.  But, of course, they can’t be honest about it, soooo, they pass phony laws to fool the public into thinking they care about safety.

Does it make sense to ban only hand-held phones when the conversation is the distraction (see my first post)?  Of course, it does, because talking on a phone while driving is a distraction. It’s equivalent to driving drunk.  Therefore, there is a good likelihood that the distracted driver will crash — and then the State cashes in.

In future posts I will dissect more phony traffic laws that can get you killed.  And if you doubt what I’m saying, Google pending legislative traffic bills, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see that the last item is “fiscal impact.”  In other words, will enacting the law cost the State money or make money for the State.  It gives new meaning to “the bottom line” because that’s all legislators need to know to decide on how to vote.

For more good stuff go to my website: www.




Traffic Laws That Can Get You Killed (Ignition Interlocks)





I don’t suppose any of my readers would ever be convicted of drunk driving but let’s take a close look at the “ignition interlock” law anyway since you’ll be on the road with convicted drunk drivers.

In NY, a motorist convicted of any drunk driving law, be it DWAI (driving with ability impaired), DWI (driving while intoxicated) or ADWI (aggravated driving while intoxicated), must install an ignition interlock in their car if they want to continue driving.   An ignition interlock is a breathalyzer in the car that is hooked up to the engine.  When the driver gets in the car he/she must first blow into the device and if the number comes up too high, the car won’t start.  Nothing wrong with that.

However, the driver must also blow into the device periodically while driving.  They have an option to pull over and stop first, but if they care not to for whatever reason, they are allowed to blow into the device while the car is in motion.  In effect, the law has traded a drunk driver for a distracted driver.

Surveys have shown that distracted driving is equivalent to driving with a .08 BAC (blood alcohol content).  So where’s the safety benefit in that?  Just another phony law!

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Traffic Laws That Can Get You Killed (Money,Money, Money)


Law Enforcement or Revenue Enhancement?


It’s sad but true.  The current crop of traffic laws are designed more for revenue enhancement than safety.  Let’s take a close look at the ban on hand-held cell phones.

According to the  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there is no difference between talking on a hands-free phone or a hand-held phone.  The conversation is the distraction, not holding the phone.  If holding a phone were the problem, then drivers should not be allowed to hold a cup of coffee, a cigarette, a pencil, a lipstick or anything.  Legislators know this or should know this.

Yet, they pass laws which only ban holding the phone and encourage talking on a phone.   All you need do is to buy an earpiece, stick it in your ear and you can talk on a phone all day long while driving.  You see, talking on a cell phone while driving is legal as long as you keep it a secret and nobody (read that, police) knows you’re doing it.

In effect, the States are encouraging distracted driving.  So why would they pass such ineffective and phony laws?   I hinted at the reason in the first paragraph, but we’ll explore that in detail in another blog.

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