Friday, September 19, 2008

Opinion: Let's Get Tough on Bad Massachusetts Drivers

Article by Eric H., at

Photo: Driver passing on right on a one lane road in the southwest suburbs of Boston (photo by Eric H.)

For those who live in the area, the story is all too familiar: Massachusetts drivers are notorious for bad driving.

They'll pass you on the right, tailgate you when you're driving 10 miles over the 65 MPH speed limit, and accelerate when you're trying to walk across the street at the crosswalk. They'll text message when driving, look in the car mirror while putting on make-up (mostly women), and use foul language when the car ahead doesn't move when the traffic light turns green after one-fourth of a second.

Massachusetts drivers are also known for not using car signals, using certain sign language when impatient, and misinterpreting yield signs as "drive continuously at full speed." Many Massachusetts driver consider it OK to consider the first five seconds of a red traffic light as an extension of the yellow traffic light.

In another region of the country, this type of behavior would be considered sheer lunacy. In Boston, it is considered the norm. The thought is, "If everyone else does it, then I can do it," thus creating a sector of dysfunctional culture. The other line of thinking is, "Get out of my way, I can do whatever I want." It's like the worst element of hostile corporate office games being transferred to the road. In the words of that immortal 1980s country-punk group Jason and the Scorchers in its somewhat heartfelt ballad Harvest Moon, "Sickness has now become style."

In our local police log, we find too many vehicle accidents. Because of drivers' aberrant behavior, other walkers and drivers get hurt all too often. It's time for our local politicians (including the name of the man on the sign in this photo) to do something about this dangerous way of life by enforcing some very tough laws and penalties for anyone who blatantly abuses the privilege of driving behind the wheel.

People joke about crazy Massachusetts drivers, but it's no laughing matter to us, having almost been run over by a car that came too close to the sidewalk by passing on the right. It's enough to "drive" one crazy!

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