I was checking in with facebook earlier, doing my pseudo-daily duty to achieve social butterflydom, where I read a friend’s status referring to a new law requiring anyone driving a motor vehicle to turn on his/her headlights when using their windshield wipers. I haven’t bothered to attempt confirming the assertion; quite frankly, I’m not concerned if it’s true or not. I do know such a law went into effect in Ohio last month. The long and short of it, though, is that this business has gotten my dander quite up!
On its face, you have to be looking at me, scratching your head, and thinking, “Puddin, really, this is a safety measure; everyone believes is safety!” Ok, yes, fine, I have no issue with safety. I’m not an animal. I have 4 kids and enjoy the idea that we live in a world where, with some feeling of security, they can play 12 hour little league games (well, it seems like it), grow up, decide they hate me, get a nose pierced, go to college, get married, and live happily ever after. So, sure, I’m all for safety. Honestly, though, is this the kind of thing that needs to be law?
I realize that thousands of angry mothers out there are again putting pen to paper to accuse me of supporting socialists and eating babies, but hear me out. It’s not that I disagree with the concept, per se, I just think our elected officials should maybe work harder to solve actual problems, as opposed to fabricating “issues” to resolve because our political system currently resembles two cliques of school kids staring at each on a playground shouting, “you’re stupid”, “no, you are!”, “nuh-uh, you are more!”.
The fact is that legislation like this costs time and money and accomplishes nothing. But wait, you say! Someone might get caught driving willy-nilly in a torrential downpour and have their wipers on without their headlights (GASP!). They’ll be stopped, a citation will be issued, and eight year-olds everywhere will chasten their fathers for acting recklessly.
The violation is a secondary offense, meaning your friendly neighborhood patrol office can cite you for it only if you happen to be doing something else wrong first. In other words, if Granny goes out looking for a beefy burger in the rain and drives through the restaurant, or Johnny Six-Pack accidentally hydroplanes his Plymouth onto a playground (you know, ’cause neither could see clearly without the headlights), we can all rest comfortably in the knowledge that they’ll be cited for that added moving violation and charged an extra c-note. Boy, that makes me feel much safer.
In a perfect world, we could, perhaps, spend our legislative time and effort solving problems that are actual problems and not making laws which are really just a formalized expression of common damn sense. If Granny and Johnny have trouble remembering their respective headlights in the rain, why not consider addressing how they came to be behind that wheel in the first place. Adding a secondary offense, though? Wow, good job, that’s definitely working for the public interest there.
Every now and then, it seems to me that it sure would be nice to see someone on the playground do something useful without having to be “Double Dog Dared”. Stupid idealism.