The people's voice of reason

Nothing Surprises Me

A couple of Robservations ago, I wrote how aggressive I have noticed drivers becoming in Montgomery. Nothing has changed since then. Every single day, I see idiot drivers on the road doing the most idiotic things. The other day, I was talking to my sister up in New Jersey and made the comment that within Montgomery, about 75% of the time, someone is going to run the red light. I picked this number out of thin air, but it’s based on what I believed I have witnessed. So that day as I drove around town, 5 out of 6 red lights where I stopped, at least one, and at times two or three people, ran the red light.


I know there are cameras up and running, but I am not sure how often they actually tag people. I remember the hubbub and complaints that people made about the lights and their so-called “invasion of privacy.” Ridiculous. There really is no, or should be no expectation of privacy when driving on a public road. None. The reality is that people complain about the red-light cameras because they want to break the law. Here is a news flash for some people out there. Nobody has a “right” to drive a car in this country. Nobody! It is a privilege. This leads to the second point here.


Back on 17 June, exactly 13 years to the day of my retirement from the Air Force, I was in my car, minding my own business, stopped at a red-light when I got hit from behind. Although the force was not in the least life-threatening or enough to cause serious physical injury, you still sometimes get beat up a little bit in even a minor collision. I suffered no whiplash but the worst was a lot of pain in my left ear and knee. What? As for the ear, I have prosthetics in my ears from surgeries related to some poorly functioning Eustachian tubes. Yes, a pilot with bad Eustachian tubes. Go figure. But I figured the hit had possibly knocked it loose. Luckily, I saw my surgeon and all is okay. As for the knee, that is TBD.


What had happened was that as I was stopped, a young lady behind me likewise stopped when some %^!$%$$@#, not paying attention but very likely texting, sexting or just picking his nose, plowed into the girl whose car smashed into mine. I got out of the car and checked on the girl and she, unlike her car, was okay. Her car was totaled. I went back and looked at the idiot driver, he was still alive so I went back to my car to start gathering my info and call the police. Next thing I knew, the driver was in his car and driving away.


Now, I am pretty much a novice in the world of auto accidents but I fault myself for not snapping some pictures of his stupid looking mug and his car. Luckily, the young lady had her phone out and snapped a picture of his car as he zoomed off. That is the picture you see here. As he turned down a side street blissful in the knowledge that he will forever be a lowlife, I asked the young lady if he said anything. She said that he looked at her car and said something along the lines of, “I ain’t got no insurance. I ain’t stayin’ here fo’ this.” Now to the point.


I really do not care if you cannot afford insurance or just refuse to buy it. The price of admission for driving on our streets is a valid driver’s license, a registered car and yes, at least the minimal level of required insurance. If you cannot provide these, you shouldn’t be on the road. Questions? After this incident and looking at the car that hit us, I noticed that he had a Larry Puckett Chevrolet tag on his car. When the police officer came and we showed him the photo, he stated that it is not uncommon for people to put these on their car in lieu of actual tags. Why? They’re free, that’s why. The officer also told us that it is not uncommon for there to be 2-4 hit and run accidents per day in this city. Yeah, that really burned about 3 feet off my tail surface. Likewise, the officer gave us little hope of ever finding this model citizen. I’ll comb the prisons in a couple of years and probably locate him there.


Immediately after this, I just started looking around, and there has not been a day gone by that I have not seen at least one “Tag Applied For” or some auto dealer tag on a car. I went online and did some research and found that the “Tag Applied For” plate is good for either 10 or 20 days (I found two different references). In Georgia, they did away with them because of all the chicanery. You simply cannot trust people to do the right thing.


I believe if I were a traffic cop, every time I saw a faded-out paper tag (emphasis on “faded-out), I would pull the car over. What about probable cause? If you have 20 days to get a license plate for your car and you are driving around with a completely faded paper tag, I would think I have probable that you have taken more than 20 days to get your tag. Police have the right to see a proof of purchase of the automobile and that it indeed has been less than 20 days since purchased.


Here is the reality here. I know a lot of people think that requiring insurance is not right and no matter how much they are entitled to their opinion, they are still wrong. What would have happened if the either the girl or I had been seriously injured, both cars destroyed and our cretin superhero drove away? He would be, as he is now, absolved of any of his responsibilities as member of our society. He recklessly drove his car, caused both physical and mechanical damage and is now not responsible for any of it. All the costs incurred are placed upon the two innocent people here. Her car totaled, and my car, although externally repaired still has those obnoxious squeaks and rattles cars often get after an accident. Yes, it is just a car, but I didn’t spend money on a car so that some kid can ruin it and drive away without a care in the world other than wondering what his life is going to look like with probably only an 8th grade education. Frustrating? I don’t know for sure but I bet more than one of you out there reading this has been in exactly the same situation.


I even reached out to Larry Puckett Chevrolet and asked them if they had sold this car (in the picture that I sent to them) and not that I wanted the information but if they had the car in their database, could they send that information to the Montgomery Police Department? I understand all the legal issues, and I had no desire to place them in an odd position. The man I talked to said that he went on the lot and saw a similar car that had no damage on it. SMH ... One benefit of being “smarter than the average bear” is that I know when minimum effort has been expended. As if the car involved in the accident would actually be the one on the lot at that moment. Really? Really? Oy! How about a run through your used car sales database? Crickets. But that is okay. I understand self-preservation and the spongy ground my request rested upon. No harm, no foul. Just know that I am not stupid.


As for our Montgomery citizen of the year, I have hopes that he wises up and gets insurance. One day, he is going to hit someone else, and possibly both he and the other party are going to be seriously injured, and neither is going to have insurance. Then what? I would ask him, “Who is going to pay to replace your car or pay for your medical care?” From the porch pirates I wrote about several months ago to the super aggressive, uninsured, unregistered, unlicensed, red-light running drivers, too many of us in Montgomery have clearly lost any empathy for our fellow citizens. Too many people simply seem not to care at all about others. I have lived here since 1995 and continue to see a clear downward spiral in our city. I, for one, hope to see a reverse in this trend.


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