Thursday, September 27, 2007

Staying Sane

by Joyce Tremel

I’ve been trying to amuse myself this week. I’m still doing citations and the only way to keep my sanity is to find some way to make it not so boring. Okay, it’s still boring, but I’ve kept most of my marbles intact. Although, come to think of it, some people might dispute that fact.

Most of the citations I’ve been entering over the last two weeks are for speeding (PA MVC section 3362, if anyone really wants to know that). Almost all of them are for idiots driving more than 20 miles over the speed limit. I had one where the kid was clocked at 98 mph in a 40 mph zone at 12:30 in the afternoon. Anyone who is familiar with Route 8 knows how stupid that is. Even on one of the residential roads where the speed limit is only 25 mph, drivers were ticketed for going 45-50 mph. (Oh, and for the record, I found out that the township makes a mere $12.50 per citation—that’s why we have to rely on grants to pay the officers for their time.)

Anyway, to amuse myself, I’ve been compiling some mental statistics. I’ve been looking at cars and colors, and at driver’s age and gender. It’s completely unscientific and I didn’t write anything down, but I’ve noticed some trends.

Here’s what I’ve found:

Most of the speeders are male, regardless of the time of day or night. The ages vary according to the time of day they were pulled over. In the evenings, they were predominantly under the age of 30. During the day, I was surprised to see a majority of senior citizens. I don’t know about you, but the idea of an 85 year old driving 70 in a 40 zone scares me. I’d rather take my chances with junior—at least he has some reflexes left.

Black seems to be the preferred color of vehicle for speeders, especially males under the age of 30. White is the preferred car color of the senior citizens. The next most popular color was red, followed by silver.

Like I said, none of this is scientific, but I found it interesting, especially the older people zipping around. I want to know why I never get behind them in traffic, especially when I’m running late for work in the morning. I always get stuck with the one going 20 mph, who lets everyone out at every intersection he passes, then takes about three years to turn into the church parking lot. It’s nice he goes to church in the morning, but can’t he wait until I get to work?

What does all this mean? I have no idea. Maybe someone can use this info for something worthwhile. If nothing else, it’s kept me from doing bodily harm to the guys I work with every day.

12 comments:

Tory said...

98 mph on Route 8?

That IS crazy!

ramona said...

Let's see--I'm a woman, over 30 but under 85, and my car is grey. By your non-scientific research, I am not a speeder. Whew!

I recently read an article in the Baltimore Sun about Maryland state troopers trying out a new e-ticket system. Tickets would be issued by scanning the bar code on your driver's license and/or registration, and other citations, outstanding warrants and whatever other bad stuff, would also pop up on a computer in the patrol car. The purpose is to be alleviate hand-processing citations.

However, I doubt your township can spring for computers in the patrol cars if salaries are being paid for by grants. Yikes. That is a crying shame.

Nancy said...

This is apropos of nothing, but when I was in Seattle and Portland, I noticed the most common color of car was green. I realized how few green cars we see here in Pittsburgh. Out among the granola folks, though, you saw *a lot* of green cars.

And I gotta say--as a person who has an elderly aunt WHO SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING BUT WE CAN'T TALK HER OUT OF IT, we need some kind of system in PA for testing the old folks. When I'm 80, I don't want to kill somebody because I can't tell the difference between the brake and the accelerator. (And my aunt is a shrink with multiple degrees and smart enough to continue to supervise people, read very complex books, hold a perfectly intelligent conversation---but she is too deft and deflects all our efforts to convince her to give up her keys. What to do???)

kathie said...

Hi Joyce, great post. I agree that I seem to be caught behind the fogie driving 20 when I need to go the speed limit and other times, I'm amazed at how fast everyone seems to be driving. I bet there's a way you could work this mini-analysis into your writing...

kathie said...

Oh, and Nancy, that sounds like quite a problem with your aunt's faculties being intact for the most part...I have to admit when I was carless after an accident it was shocking how trapped I felt in my life. I can't imagine facing life, forever, without a car. Not in Pittsburgh with zero pub. transportation. But, hopefully I'll know when to hang up the old car keys, before everyone in my family is plotting driving interventions...

Kristine said...

Interesting, Joyce! Those speeding senior citizens sure don't live in my neighborhood, but we sure have a lot of frazzled mothers in their SUVs zooming along.

Funny about the colors, too. When I bought my first car, which was cherry red, everyone told me I would get pulled over a lot because cops tend to target red cars. ???

Lee Lofland said...

As usual, Joyce has written another great blog.

This is in response to Kristine's comment about cops targeting drivers of red cars.

I have to say that it has been my personal experience that officers don't target cars of any color. It's the people who drive flashy-colored cars who tend to speed most often. They also tend to be the one's who drive the fastest and most reckless of all. This is especially true of younger male drivers and men in the middle-age bracket. I think both are trying to prove that they're young and carefree.

Kristine said...

Lee: My first car most definitely was not flashy, so that must have kept me under the radar. Well, that and my excellent driving record, of course.

I never believed all the stories I heard about the red cars, but they did make me a more careful (or I should say, paranoid) teen driver. Maybe that was the whole point. Hm.

Joyce said...

Ramona, I wish we could get something like that in Shaler, but then I'd probably be out of a job. I should have been clearer about this--the salaries paid by grants are just the overtime for working the traffic details. Regular salaries are paid out of the township budget.

Nancy, we definitely need a better system to test old people. Right now, an officer has to send a form to Penndot, who sends it to the driver's doctor who then fills it out and sends it back. The problem is that they can't suspend the license until it expires. So if the person just renewed their license, they'll still have it for five years. I've already told my kids that if I start driving stupid (well, worse than I do now), to take my keys.

Joyce said...

Kristine, that's because all the senior citizens live in Shaler!

Annette said...

They didn't wait until my dad's license expired before they pulled it. The doctor treating him for early dementia turned him in and the state sent my dad a form to have his regular doctor fill out. My dad was convinced the doc would clear him, but considering Dad's history of cardiovascular disease and the onset of dementia, there was no way. Next thing we knew, we got a letter from Penn DOT saying to send Dad's license in within a month. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

My dad was devastated and I felt really bad for him. It was a major loss of independence at a time when he was slowly losing his ability to do things for himself. But I was also relieved that the doctors and the state did something that I knew I'd have to do on my own soon. And then I'd have been the baaaadddd daughter.

Joyce said...

I'm not very clear explaining some of these things, am I? The case with Annette's dad is a little different than what I was talking about. I meant in cases where the older driver is in an accident, or just driving erratically. The state won't pull the license unless something is radically wrong with them.