Magazine article Insight on the News

California Drivers Learn Hard Lessons about Law Enforcement

Magazine article Insight on the News

California Drivers Learn Hard Lessons about Law Enforcement

Article excerpt

As a responsible citizen, I renew driver's license and vehicle registration. I get smog checks, carry insurance and try to obey traffic regulations. But I am beginning to feel like a fool because the only reward the state gives me for obeying its laws is more laws to obey. Those who flout the law, in contrast, often are rewarded:

* Two men in a pickup truck tried to force my car across the centerline into oncoming traffic. When this failed, they skidded to a stop, hoping I would rear-end them. When this too failed, they drove off through a red light. My wife copied the license number, but we did not call the police. It would be our word against theirs and, if they discovered who we were, they might visit us. Since they had committed assault with a deadly weapon, I did not look forward to their visit, and I had no confidence that the authorities would not divulge our names. My only options were to do nothing or to locate the driver and visit him.

* A car rear-ended mine at a red light. The driver had no insurance. I was out the $500 deductible, and my insurance company was out the rest of the repair bill. They got him to make monthly payments, which soon stopped. I wrote the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, expecting that his license would be suspended until he repaid me and obtained insurance. But DMV replied that this was no longer true. I would have to go to court and get a judgment against the other driver; only then would DMV act. Thus DMV left it to me to enforce the financial-responsibility law.

* A sports car approached from behind, cut around our car with inches to spare and sped off. We pulled up next to it at a red light, and my wife shouted, "Slow down." The driver sprayed her face with a white substance and drove off too fast to follow. Luckily the substance was silly string, not oven cleaner. We called the police but couldn't give a license number. His car was new and DMV no longer issues paper license plates. Apparently the few cents they cost is just too much. The police could do nothing. It was up to me to protect my wife, but how? If I forced his car to the curb and grabbed him, I would be arrested.

* A car rear-ended mine while I was stopped for a fire truck. The driver had no insurance. I copied the information from his driver's license and vehicle registration. But the driver's license was counterfeit, the name and address were phony and the license plates were taken off a wrecked car. Apparently this is common. Again, I was stuck with the deductible. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.