Fred: Traffic Nazi
Headed to San Francisco again Sunday. The drive, as would be expected, brought out the traffic nazi in me. I've been trying to come up with a proposal for a new traffic law but not sure what to name it or just how it would be enforced. I guess I could call it the Asshole Merging Law.
It's been discussed either here or on Eric's blog before: One traffic lane comes to and end but a lot of drivers stay in the closing lane and run up to the lane closure, hoping to slip in and cut in front of everyone else.
You see it all time on northbound 101 in Willits, where the two lane turns into a one lane- the right lane being the one that ends. People stay in the right lane and race up to the front of the line figuring someone will let them slip in front of them.
Having experienced this yet again in the Santa Rosa area on Sunday, I decided it's time to make some of you assholes pay for such rude behavior. And, yes, I say you assholes because so many people seem to do it, I'm sure there are at least a few of among those of you reading this.
So here's what happened Sunday:
We're somewhere near the south end of Santa Rosa. Heck, maybe we're were in Rohnert Park. Traffic is moving pretty smoothly. Suddenly a sign on the right side of the road indicates the left lane closes in half a mile and vehicles should merge into the right lane.
I was in the middle lane and immediately slow down enough so there's maybe 40 yards between my truck and the car in front of me. The car behind me backed off a bit, too. There was more than enough room for a number of cars to merge into the right lane way ahead of the lane closure. But they don't.
I would guess maybe 40 cars passed by me on my left before we hit the end of their lane. None of them took advantage of the opening I left them. I did see a couple, though, pull in behind me in the spot the guy behind me opened. All the cars passing me headed straight up to the end of the lane before trying to squeeze their way into the right lane.
I'd like to see those of you that do that get a hefty ticket. Two to three hundred dollars per violation would be good for starters.
I realize you'd have to change a few things first to make this enforceable and effective. At the very least you'd have to extend the warning time for merges to probably at least a mile before the merge. You might also have to modify existing law or create a new law in regards how far apart cars can be as they come within a mile or two of a lane merge.
Then, there's enforcement itself. You couldn't have CHP cars pulling people over for waiting for the last minute to merge. That would exacerbate the situation. Cameras (I know. I know about red light camera problems) would have to be used, and you'd have to probably have to use more than just one.
The idea would be to show that a driver in the closing lane had ample opportunity to merge before, say, a quarter to an eighth of a mile before the closure. If the camera shows the car passing by an open space between cars- as I created Sunday- and keeps going to try to cut in front of everyone else, one camera records the license records the license number and another shows the position of the car in the line of traffic. The Asshole Merging driver gets a ticket in the mail a week or so later.
I'm sure there'll have to be some defenses for honest screw ups, like people from another state that don't know our traffic laws and might be overwhelmed by the traffic in places like Santa Rosa. We can work those out.
Wouldn't it be nice to see at least some of these rude and selfish people get their just rewards for their behavior?
Lots of work yet to be done on this so suggestions are welcome but, when we get it all ironed out and working, it should be something to make a lot of us happy.
And libertarianism be damned. If Assemblydude Chesbro wants to pick up this proposal and introduce it as a bill, he has my blessing. All I ask is that its unofficial title be Fred's Asshole Merging Law.