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The International Writers Magazine
Reverend Father Antonio Hernández, O.M.D., A.B.F.
Founder of the Independent Order of American Buddhist Fathers


For the longest time I've been dying to write a bitchy article about traffic problems. I know that I can only write about my experiences in America and Mexico, but then I realized that the same traffic problem plagues the entire planet. That's right, one problem: drivers.

It has become clear that cars and traffic have never been problematic. The drivers are always the problem, and before I start, I can identify two subdivisions: the very old and the very young. I say, TAKE THEIR LICENSES AWAY!

Then it will be the simplest task to dispatch the drunkards, the half-blind, the rust-bucket-drivers, the otherwise-engaged-while-driving, arrogant-drivers-of-vehicles-that-cost-more-than-my-granddaddy's-house, and the half-wits. Here where I live, in Illinois, a common horror is the striking and killing of pedestrians. There is a high percentage of road construction crews among those deaths; the second most common deaths occur among our children. That's just innocent pedestrians killed by auto drivers. I'm not counting the fools who kill themselves and/or others in traffic accidents: if I did, I'd have no room left to pontificate.

Our [American] justice system is too light in judgment regarding drivers. When I worked in our county courthouse, I couldn't believe the number of convicted drivers who would lose their licenses- then waltz out the courthouse door and drive away! Naturally they would be pursued immediately, and end up where they had just been. They would receive yet another slap on the wrist. And we award such people driver's licenses to begin with? Shame on us.

"Road rage" is old hat. We have not even come up with a catchy media phrase to describe the ugliness of today's driver. "DUST BUNNY" is a term I use... that is, when I'm not cursing a blue streak at them. I've been very nearly killed too many times by dopes who were busy eating crisps and doing their makeup behind the wheel. No longer do I watch my language when I suffer such frights.
Driving carefully as always, I have had the opportunity to watch as the lady driving in front of me screams at her children, brushes her hair and plays with the dog in her lap. Everything except watch the bloody road. No way can she see out any windows, covered as they are with childish stickers and signs with idiot slogans. I have observed people intently staring at the seat next to them, talking to it, and it's usually empty. I have seen people drive onto the sidewalk and continue driving there, because their cellphone conversation is so engrossing. They never stop the car, they never slow down, and they never obey traffic signs. Worst of all, they never quit driving.

Many times I have suggested that an I.Q. test and a few other 'intelligence tricks' be used at the Department of Motor Vehicles, to complement standard licensing tests. Everyone laughs at me. Rarely is anyone laughing when some drunken lout of a teen runs down an old lady. It is not hilarity when mature drivers, who ought to know better, go plowing into a construction site. No humor about a woman strapped into her car, upside-down in a ditch, dead not from the accident but from exposure. I have witnessed all these tragedies, right here where I live. And these horrible things happen all over the place.
Good drivers should be rewarded in some tangible way. Good police officers should be a bit more interested in setting examples for their lackadaisical colleagues. (For that matter, the police themselves ought to take courses in proper driving.) A triple traffic offender should lose the license permanently, and be treated as a felon if he/she is ever caught driving again. And people over the age of 85 or under the age of 21 should not be allowed to drive at all. As to the police, a bit more assiduous and fair policing will do wonders. With these few simple changes as a new beginning, we will see traffic accidents and deaths dramatically decrease. Guaranteed, full stop.
Then perhaps we can revert to the good old pastime: watching pedestrians and cyclists run into each other.
© Antonio Hernandez May 2004

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