Should we enforce more traffic laws in Lake County, Illinois?

I really think the seat belt law has been a significant life saver over the years. Yes, wearing your seat belt at times is inconvenient. Yes, it may be a new habit to learn to regularly fasten your safety belt before physically moving your car. Even when taking a short trip, it’s the prudent thing to do.

Our state (Illinois) has been running this ad campaign Click It or Ticket for a number of years. To me, it’s heavy on the law (enforcement) and less an education campaign. It seems the State of Illinois feels it’s more effective to threaten drivers with a potential ticket than perhaps taking a more educational role informing drivers of the value in wearing your seatbelt. Regardless, it’s an important issue that needs to be addressed and even though I question their approach to this campaign. And the campaign has saved many lives over the years by getting more motor vehicle passengers to buckle up.

This brings me to the crux of my post. Seat belt enforcement is great and I’m glad it’s having a positive effect but there are a number of traffic rules I’d love to see focused on by law enforcement officials. Based upon my empirical perspective from over 30 years of driving, I rarely witnessed anyone pulled over for any of these infractions listed below.

 One thing to note. I’m not suggesting that all law enforcement officials begin to strictly enforce all of these traffic rules. It would be nice to see some of these laws enforced from time to time but I also understand the priority law enforcement officials have. I also understand many budgetary constraints behind enforcing every law on the books. Indeed, some of these infractions are minor and I know there are many other more serious infractions will take priority. It’s just important for law enforcement officials to keep these things in mind at the right time. Better enforcement means better driving and fewer accidents. It also might mean fewer people will feel inclined to take the law into their own hands or become antagonistic with aggressive or inconsiderate drivers.

Use your directional or blinker

Don’t just use your directional after you’re moved into a turn lane. What’s the point of informing others you’re turning once you’re in the turn lane? As we all know, using your directional as soon as possible is an effective communication tool indicating to other motorists your next move.

Throwing cigarette butts out the window
I suspect this was much more common in the 1960’s and 70’s but times have changed – we are more eco-conscious and fewer and fewer people smoke cigarettes. It may sound harsh but first, arrest them for littering. Should this act not fall under littering guidelines? In addition to littering, arrest them for bad taste! I’ve seen this occur hundreds of times with no recourse. It’s just plain rude.
Not using headlights when raining (or when using your wind shield wipers)

People forget to do this. This is dangerous when other cars are not very visible when it rains, snows, is foggy or in a light mist. Good guide: If you need or think you need to use your windshield wipers, automatically confirm that your front head lights are on so you’re more visible to other motorists.

Ignoring a yield sign or pretending it’s not there A yield sign indicates you need to slow down and yield to oncoming traffic before you proceed. It doesn’t mean ignoring the yield sign and trying to get in front of someone if you can. They are completely missing the point of the yield sign by trying to squeeze ahead of someone who has the right a way. This isn’t a competition to see who gets there first.

On the cell phone and inattentive driving
Texting is not allowed in Illinois while driving but what about talking on the phone and not focusing on the road? Distractions can also come from playing around with the CD, iPod, Zune, MP3 player, or radio. All of these things could technically fall under the inattentive umbrella. Driving is a privilege and not a right so drive that way.

Tailgating someone who’s driving the speed limit or 5 mph above on local roads
Tailgating is plain rule and dangerous. Even if you think the car ahead of you is going too slow, be patient and wait to pass. I’ve often been in this situation following someone who I think is going too slow but who knows his or her situation? Maybe they’re lost, approaching construction signs, or having issues viewing the roadway, we need to back off and give them some space. They’ll be an opportunity to move ahead at some point. Tailgating is obviously not the right approach regardless of the situation.

Boom box music
If you drive by a car or one pulls up from behind and it sounds like a concert, chances are they’re playing the music too loud. Is not loud music a form of pollution (noise)? Am I the only person who feels that way? If you want to attract attention to yourself, find venues that are more constructive.

Weaving in and out of traffic
This occurs in town and on the highway. This attitude and behavior sets such a potentially destructive tone on the roadway.


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