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Blah, still cranky....

The following was written as a response to this editorial piece from the El Paso Times

Why is it that whenever a terrible accident happens in this city, people's first reaction is to insist that "something be done" and that something invariably includes add more lights, lower the speed limit etc... Most recently I have been dismayed to read coverage and opinions about the "Paisano Killing Fields". 14 People have died on that stretch of road since 1998. However, 10 of those people died in 2 accidents which were apparently not caused by the condition of the road as much as by unsafe driving.

Our first reaction is always to lament the loss of good people in our community and this is healthy. However we also have to realize that being a good person does not automatically make you a good driver. Driving is a skill. It's a skill that many people in this region take for granted when they get behind the wheel of their car. Perhaps instead of making things more difficult for those of us who follow the rules of the road, the powers that be should focus on holding people more accountable for driving without insurances and licenses or for driving recklessly etc...

It does us no good to restrict the good drivers even more when people constantly speed, run red lights and stops, and just generally drive as if they own the road. Why is Paisano dangerous? Not because it lacks regulation, but because many people in this city lack respect for (or knowledge of?) existing rules of driving and safety.

Comments

I was about to post something about this....

My dad were driving back from the theatre a while ago and I turned from GW-East onto Lee Trevino (south). I always get into the outside turning lane. There was a truck in the inside turning lane. As we started, he tried to come out of his turn in MY lane. I honked, sped up a bit, flipped him off and yelled, "WHAT THE FUCK?!" and unfortunately, yes, he had those scary yellow plates :oPP

Now, Vic will agree that I am not the best driver in the world, but I can't really think of any instance where my bad driving put anybody other than he and I into possible peril.... heheh :oPPP

Print, with the exception of tabloid trash, is a bit more objective than tv media. Tv media is all about sensationalism. It's all about the " was the first to report..." tagline. TV may have the immediate updates, but print has more integrity imo (spoken as a biased writer hehe)
GW-West hehe... *DOH*
Well, I can't help but feel at least somewhat like a lot of people from Juarez do tend to drive somewhat recklessly or aggrssively. However, I will also state that people from TX, NM, and most visiting motorists (who will invariably get lost and do stupid things) also drive like shit, but they do so in their own shitty ways. Basicallly there are huge amounts of bad drivers on the roads here, and I think part of the problem also relates to different driving styles.

I remember when my folks used to go to Juarez on a weekly basis and how my dad would explain to me that driving in Juarez was a bit different than driving in El Paso. Not worse, just different. He mentioned the concept of "el que pega, paga" (sp?) - "the one who hits, pays". From my experience that does seem to be the attitude that a lot of people in Juarez drive with and I think it works really well, when everyone is doing the same thing. If you are on your toes and being sure that you don't get too close to another car etc... then hey you're quite a bit better off than some of the idiots from this side of the border.

I've gotten to meet quite a few people from NM lately and I'm always surprised athow they often seem to have a wariness for driving in El Paso, because it's so "dangerous" of course these are also the people who insist on driving 55 in the fast lane of I-10. Or they'll do some really weird things that totally have the feel of being afraid for their lives. I've driven in LC a lot in the last few months and I'm always surprised at how much folks tend to follow the speed limits and just drive a lot more relaxed than they do in EP (although this does suck when they slam on their brakes on a yellow).

I do some crazy amounts of driving and I think that what I've seen is that too many people are almost beligerent in their belief that everyone should drive the way they do because that's the "right" way to drive. Nevermind trying to adapt to traffic, the traffic will adapt to me seems to be the mantra of many drivers. I don't think this has anything to do with georgraphic boundries, but I think that in a place like El Paso, those differences in styles will often lead to situations where a careless El Paso driver nearly hits an aggressive Juarez driver and then both drivers blame the other for something that is argueably partially both their faults.

One thing that I have seen a lot of with Juarez drivers is in the Semi-truck area. I drive the Border highway and downtown a lot, and I know that 90% of the Juarez big rigs that I've seen have something not right with them or are being driven in a not entirely safe manner. I once had one of them nearly run me off the road because I was in it's way. I don't know enough about how safety inspections and licenses work in Mexico, but I suspect (based solely on what I've seen) that the requirements might be somewhat more relaxed and that does make me feel a little more nervous around those particular vehicles (although in reality I've learned to be wary of all semis regardless of where they're from).

But these are just some random observations. For the record though, I don't watch local TV news because it's almost always wrong about something. I like the newspaper because even though I don't get the "late-breaking news" I get accurate news. I have other issues with how the Times covers things though. I can't help but think that a lot of the stories in the Times have some agenda behind them that's influenced how the story gets written or presented... The coverage on the Paisano accident brings that to mind. Then again all newspapers and magazines do this... I guess sometimes it just seems like the Times is less subtle about it. Bottom line though I think we always have to just take things in and then evaluate the situations based on common sense and make decisions based on that.
I agree. Often, people tend to deal with the symptoms, instead of treating the problem at its root. And the problem is often the DRIVERS themselves.

In my old state of Australia (Western Australia), they recently pushed, and implemented a new law where the speed limit was dropped down by 10kms. Unfortunately, the new speed limit means that you will be driving your manual car between third and fourth gear (that uncomfortable position where I can never decide to drive in third of fourth! Either way, I don't think it's too healthy for the car).

As you said, the drivers must have an understanding of safe driving. Perhaps the Government may consider concentrating more on road safety education, as opposed to implementing more speed cameras, and lowering the speed limit.
Well, that states themselves aren't too annoying actually. In places like Montanna, there are stretches of road with no speed limits because the areas are just so vast and empty. Even better, a few years ago, the federal government dropped the 55mph speed limit and allowed states to set their own speed limits and I think either all or most states jacked up the speed to 70 or 75 (What it had been years ago) outside of the city limits.

That being said, while the feds and the states do seem to at least try to come up with some intelligent laws (from time to time) the cities, and in particular El Paso, TX (in my experience), tend to put zero thought into what the problem actually is. I can distinctly remember reading articles in the paper about how unsafe streets are because people constantly speed and run lights and stop signs and yet when accidents happen the first thing people say is "we need a light here" or "a traffic light would have saved them."

Recently we had a couple of teenage girls die because they were chasing after some guys who were going to get in a fight. The girls were on the phone with 911 and trying to catch the guys, but they ran a red light and were hit by a semi. After that accident people were going on and on about how terrible it was and how the guy who was starting the fight should be charged in their deaths etc... and I couldn't help but think "Hey they were good kids, that's good, their families will have good memories of them, but the made a mistake, and unfortnately sometimes mistakes can kill people"

Unfortnately if you try to bring things like that up people will almost always snap and get upset because they can't think of the good person that died as the same bad/careless driver who died. There seems to be a mentality that if it was a good person, then they can't have been at fault so something has to be done to make sure other good people don't die.

Personally I'd like to see something like what Germany has where you have the Autobahn, but you also have super strict rules for driving. This may have changed, but I remember reading about how in Germany if you were pulled over and you had a BAC over some fairly small amount, you were taken to court and your license was supsended, end of story. Here, it's possible to get pulled over, and then go to classes to have the charges dismissed without once really being afraid of losing your license. I think stuff like that is supremely stupid.

Eh, in the meantime I like the fact that I drive a big ol' truck that can take a collision :)