This has been building up again for a few years now, and so I’m feeling like it’s time to revisit a checklist of things that bug me.
An examination of these matters, consisting of lapses in good sense and appropriate conduct on the part of my fellow motorists, is not exactly on point as a legal column. However, most, if not all of these acts or omissions do constitute violations of law, or at least possibly may prompt a violation by me of some more serious criminal statutes.
So here we go. Things that bug me:
• Motorists who throw cigarette butts out their car window. Does a nicotine habit give you a license to litter?
You may think a little cigarette butt deposited onto the public thoroughfare is no big deal, but as a motorcycle enthusiast, who actually has a clear view of the accumulation of dirty, nasty, non-biodegradable butts that accumulate at traffic stopping points alongside the curb, in the aggregate, it is a big deal – a big, dirty, nasty, filthy deal.
If a tiny cigarette butt truly is no big deal in the eyes of a litterbug, then it should be no big deal simply to keep it in your car until you have the opportunity to dispose of it properly.
• Motorists who ignorantly sit idly at the wheel of their stationary car at the front of a line of other cars, after a red light turns green. No doubt, they are texting on their so-called phones, which are actually full-blown computers, and completely lose track of the fact that they are not sitting is Starbucks, but are supposed to be operating a motor vehicle, with the due attentiveness that such an activity warrants, until somebody behind them honks, to bring them back to the reality of their task.
Yes, that bugs me a lot when I am right behind someone like that. And it bugs me even more when I am at the back of that line of cars, and the light turns red again before I can get through the intersection.
• Motorists who chronically tailgate. A few years ago, just a very short time after I had expended a significant sum of money for a brand new truck, some young driver who was following me way too closely failed to stop when I did – I had come to a stop sign – causing him to reduce his already inadequate following distance to a following distance of precisely zero, at which time the front of his already banged-up piece of junk of a car plowed into the back of my shiny new truck.
This resulted in a series of unpleasant circumstances. The front of his heap of junk vehicle was demolished, the radiator destroyed, the antifreeze expelled onto the roadway, and surely its value deflated to the point of not being worth fixing. My shiny new truck was in the shop for over a week being repaired.
His insurance company wrote out a series of checks to cover the damage and rent me a car while it was in the shop. His driving record took another of what was surely a fair collection of points and moving violations, he was assessed a fine and court costs, and his insurability likely diminished to a point of near futility. All of this so he could be about 75 feet and a second and a half farther down the road than he really should have been. I hope it was worth it.
• Motorists who tool along at a modest speed in the left-hand lane of the interstate, oblivious to the fact that it is supposed to be the “passing lane,” which is what the dozen or so vehicles stacked up behind them would like to do, if they would only get over in the right hand lane where they belong. Yeah, that bugs me too.
This list is not comprehensive, but constitutes a sampling of the many things that bug me. For a complete list, you may want to call my wife. She has heard it all.
Ken Garten is a Blue Springs attorney. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.