As I sit at my desk this morning, I have a commanding view of two stop signs, one regulating traffic from a neighborhood street onto another and the second controlling the flow of traffic from a neighborhood street onto a busy and fast county road that faces the entrance to a busy farm park. I retired from a career where the regulation of vehicular traffic was the focus of my enforcement efforts and I have little patience with folks who don’t make an effort to comply with our motor vehicle laws. These stop signs are an example of how the seeds of civil disobedience are planted in our children. Hear me out before you casually discard the rantings of a frustrated “traffic guy”.
This morning I watched two neighborhood cars drive through these stop signs at speed. There was no effort at a “California Stop” much less an actual attempt to stop as required. This is a very bad habit to develop as eventually these violations are going to get the motorists in trouble. Traffic guys have all worked a number of crashes where folks pull out in front of oncoming traffic after a stop and many more where there was no attempt to stop at all, as was the case this morning. We have also worked a number of crashes, some quite serious, where the violator swears they looked, but did not see the oncoming traffic. Looking and seeing are two entirely different things folks. Just this week, I drove up on a very serious crash at a controlled intersection just outside of Springfield where a motorist failed to stop and drove into the path of an oncoming vehicle. These things happen when you casually disobey the basic rules of the road.
The merits of compliance with traffic law are obvious to virtually everyone who drives today. This important consideration is not why I write. One of the cars that drove through the stop sign today, as if it did not exist, was occupied by children in addition to the driver. These kids were old enough to form impressions based on the behaviors of the “adult” driving the car and are being taught that it is okay to ignore the law in the interest of expediency and time conservation. Driving is a very basic freedom that we enjoy, guaranteeing unheralded mobility in a country where cars are seen as an absolute necessity. I would argue that casually ignoring traffic law is the first step in teaching our children that laws are to be followed only when it is convenient and that casual disobedience is the order of the day. Ignoring the stop signs is the first, baby step in the fine art of civil disobedience. Everything has an origin, and civil disobedience is spawned when laws are broken. I would further suggest the thugs in ANTIFA have little regard for laws of any kind, including traffic law, although they do offer a ridiculous rationale for their ignorance, the hatred of authority.
To the folks who demonstrated their willful noncompliance with the law mandating a stop at a stop sign, think about your answer when the child asks why you didn’t stop as required. If you are able to come up with a good reason as to why you ignored this basic law, please offer it to me in your comments. I suspect that I have heard them all and have yet to hear one that sticks. We should strive to eliminate the necessity of explaining to our children why we break laws.
I was fortunate to enjoy a law enforcement career that encompassed every aspect of policing from criminal investigation to safety education and training. Traffic enforcement is how troopers cut their teeth in the State Patrol and is an aspect where you can make a difference instantly when you flip open your ticket book and begin the process of reminding motorists that someone is always watching you at some point in your public movement.
Take an extra few seconds to teach your children and grandchildren that laws are written to insure our safety. At the end of the day, you will have contributed to their development in a very positive way and will smile at your effort, knowing that you have made a positive contribution to their education and our civil order.