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Here is some follow-up correspondence (with a couple of clarifying
edits)
that I had recently about the road rage incident and unresponsive
trooper.

-Peter

"Peter K. Duval" wrote:
>
> (My correspondent) wrote:
> >
> > Peter,
> > thanks for your advice.  It really pisses me off that I do everything
> > right and this cop wants to hold me responsible, while Mr. A..H... Surburban
> > driver suffers from road rage.  Isn't there road rage laws in this State?
>
> Within the last year, a representative of the troopers' union came speak
> with the GMBC advocacy committee.  I recall that this question came up.
> I think he said that the Careless & Negligent driving statute was the
> closest thing to a road rage law.  He was not optimistic that it could
> be used effectively against road rage.
>
> I can see how it would be difficult to write and enforce a general road
> rage law.  The incidents that I know about leave little evidence, are
> usually anonymous, and hinge a lot on intent.
>
> I do think that it would be effective to vigorously enforce existing
> rules of the road and speed limits.  Speeding is the "gateway" behavior
> that breeds road rage.  Stop light cameras and photo-radar systems,
> liberally deployed, would go a long toward taming traffic -- and have a
> beneficial side-effect of reducing sprawl by increasing and stabilizing
> apparent travel time.  Drivers' knowledge that they are always at risk
> of being automatically fined for running red lights and speeding seems
> like it would be a powerful influence on their behavior.
>
> >From the discussion at the GMBC advocacy committee, it was clear that
> the troopers would be opposed to automated enforcement -- I think for
> two reasons:
>
> 1) It appears to threaten their jobs.  Why hire a trooper when you can
> rent an inexpensive machine that writes tickets ten times faster and
> works around the clock, 365 days of the year, and virtually guarantees
> conviction by providing photographic documentation of the infraction?
>
> 2) More importantly, troopers need to have a reason for stopping
> suspicious vehicles.  I think they like the situation where all vehicles
> are speeding.   They can legally stop any vehicle without having to
> worry about justification.
>
> >  Why don't we get the respect we deserve?  Why am I wrong just because
> > I ride a bicycle?
>
> I think you can lay a lot of the blame on the advertising fueled car
> culture.  If a biking and walking 'industry' could afford a $5
> billion/year ad budget, I think we would be living in a dramatically
> different world.
>
> >
> > I eventualy called the troop leader in Rockingham and told him of my situation.
> >   I refused to to him the Idiot Trooper's name out of fear that the Trooper
> > would haunt me and make my life miserable.  The troop leader said he would
> > address bicycles, road rage, and the two abreast law in the monthly meeting
> > this week.  He told me that he would pay attention to who squirmed as
> > he talked about it and talk to the offending Trooper afterwords.  I ask
> > him not to for same reason posted above.
> >
>
> Perhaps that's a good strategy.  I think it would be nice to let
> supervisors know which troopers have good knowledge and judgement... and
> which ones don't.
>
> I get the feeling that, as an institution, the state police are regarded
> as having relatively high integrity.  That you would have a fear of
> retribution should be strong cause for concern at the highest levels of
> administration.  At the very least, this is a serious image problem for
> the state police.
>
> Consider following up with the troop leader (Is that the real title?) in
> a week to find out what actually happened.
>
> -Peter
>
> P.S.:  Again, I plan to anonymize and repost this message.
> --


--
Peter K. Duval                                           +1 802 899 1132
98 Sleepy Hollow Road                                     fax:  899 2430
Essex Junction, VT 05452-2798                        [log in to unmask]
USA                             (from home)          www.uvm.edu/~pduval

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