Speed limits are for everyone-including me.
Like most of us, I’ve been driving since I was a teenager. I was a careful driver, so I was shocked the first time I was pulled over and given a ticket. The police officer pointed out the “No U-Turn” sign I had just disobeyed. Whoops! The message: see and obey all traffic signs.
I didn’t have another ticket for a long time after that, but that seemed to have changed. It was as if I became a magnet for speeding tickets. Most of the time it was because I wasn’t paying attention.
Fortunately, I was able to take the Defensive Driving Course every time I was ticketed and avoided having the tickets on my record, but it still wasn’t cheap. Most of my tickets cost me more than I liked. When you take the Defensive Driving Class you don’t pay an actual fine, but there are court costs and sometimes other costs as well. And, of course, you have to pay for the course. So, I decided to do all I could to avoid speeding.
When you obey speed limits, though, the first thing you notice is all the people around you who drive faster or who break other laws like running stop signs or making illegal turns. Sometimes the speed limits may seem a little unrealistically low, but most of the time they are good sense, especially in school zones or neighborhoods.
On residential streets–where children are playing or riding bicycles–obeying speed limits may mean saving lives. You also notice people running stop signs and stop lights and you notice other things like illegal turns and violations of laws involving school zones and school buses.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but everyone in the vehicle needs to be buckled in, or—in the case of children—in an approved child safety car seat. I have seen too many vehicles where this law is disobeyed. In an accident an unsecured passenger becomes debris.
Here’s the serious part of this rant: Too many accidents and too many people are injured or worse in traffic. For me, every ticket has been a learning experience. Speed limits and traffic laws are for everyone. Accidents and traffic violations are preventable, and we should each do our part.
WARREN DOMKE is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express.