Publishing rules, fines, violation points urged


July 17, 2005|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

JON MERRYMAN complained last week about the "unwritten traffic rules" series being run in this column, even as he suggested that one excellent unwritten rule of the road would be to provide examples of good driving behavior for our children and other drivers.

Ben McKnew - a driver with 43 years' experience - heartily agreed with Mr. Merryman that we should focus more on the written rules.

"I have heard over and over [that] `ignorance of the law is no excuse.' This may be so. However, given the number of highway deaths every year, there is lot of ignorance, and just plain foolish folks who should not be behind the wheel," he said.

Amen to that.

He recommends that the state police publish the laws, fines and the points for breaking those laws. "I would like to see this sort of thing on the electronic message boards around the state. It should be made clear to all [that] their insurance will get a copy of any moving violation," he said.

Mr. McKnew also took issue with the continuing discussion in the past few columns about how many seconds drivers should allow between vehicles.

"What's the bottom line here?" he asked. "Accident avoidance is what is most important. It matters not whether you are three seconds or 60 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. So what if everybody cuts you off. You drive safely [and] let them go. Better they are in front of you than behind. At least you can easily keep an eye on them."

Take it EZ

It is always a good idea to follow the speed limits, but particularly in the EZPass lanes at toll booths, as it turns out. The state's highly publicized program to "speed up" traffic through its toll facilities will mail "Notice of Warning - Speed Violation" to motorists who go more than 5 mph through the toll booths, according to Chuck Jackson, president of Citizen Advocates for Safe & Efficient Travel. Jackson received such a warning.

The irony of EZPass, a sophisticated electronic system that uses windshield-mounted transponders to activate sensor equipment at the toll both, is that it also activates a monitor to measure the speed of vehicles as they pass through the unattended toll booths designated only for EZPass members. Jackson calls it "a cheap speed-trap." He noted that "on one hand the state is asking us to buy these gadgets to help expedite the flow of traffic, then on the other hand, nails us for doing it."

Whatever your opinions about speeding through toll booths, consider yourselves warned - and take it easy when going through the booths. According to the warning notice, multiple violations could result in the suspension or cancellation of EZPass privileges.

Construction work

Look for continuing construction work on Interstate 70 westbound through western Howard County, between exits 76 (Route 97) and 68 (Route 27) as paving and other maintenance work could result in periodic, nonrush-hour lane closures. On Route 32 in both directions, between Route 144 and Route 99, expect construction-related nonrush-daytime lane closures through July 25. And on U.S. 29 northbound, between Route 175 and Diamond Back Drive, expect nighttime lane closures through the end of the week for resurfacing.

What's your traffic trauma? Contact Jody K. Vilschick at, send faxes to 410-715-2816 or mail letters to Traffic Talk, The Sun in Howard County, 30 Corporate Center, 10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 820, Columbia, 21044. Include your full name and contact information or your comments will not be published or receive a response.

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