Could Senile Drivers Spawn A Police State?

by Dale Lowdermilk, Founder NOTSAFE

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Several times over the past 20 years, our organziation has sarcastically suggested that senile drivers were more dangerous than drunks...and everyone laughed. After the disaster of 9/11 and the automobile carnage in Santa Monica and Florida the laughter has stopped. Now, bureaucrats hiding behind the Homeland Security Act claim that only they can save us. Should we be concerned?

The Problem

With shocking regularity, senior citizens in Southern California and parts of Florida’s chad-zone have been hurling themselves into brick walls, driving off multilevel parking garages and venting their forgetfulness on unsuspecting farmers’ market shoppers. Since 1986, grateful California drivers have had the privilege of participating in Sobriety Checkpoints, designed to stop accidents before they happen. Unfortunately like many weak-kneed laws, the checkpoint concept needs to be expanded. Our organization, NOTSAFE (National Organization Taunting Safety And Fairness Everywhere) would like to offer some ideas to make our freeways, farmers’ markets and country safer.

We feel that the time is right for NATIONAL legislation to establish more comprehensive and expanded random roadblocks where police and other experts can check for hand-eye coordination, dulled perception, mental health stressors, physical ailments, illegal drugs, hidden contraband, and potential terrorists.

The Solution--Senility Checkpoints & Tar Zone MD’s

There are many things which can turn 2 tons of metal and plastic into a death machine, but most will agree that it's ultimately the person perched on pillows behind the wheel who gets to play judge, jury and executioner. Although alcohol is the greatest threat to sound judgment, many over-the-counter antihistamines, allergy, and herbal concoctions can cause drowsiness, and slow reactions. Lack of sleep combined with powerful laxatives can result in a deadly distraction if someone with IBS (irritated bowel syndrome) has to quickly slam on the brakes to avoid a rear end collision. It's possible for some people to experience euphoria, disorientation and a false sense of security by combining aspirin and high levels of Vitamin A. Acid indigestion from too much tomato juice, nasal spray or stress in the workplace can result in anxiety, rude behavior and, like a trail of dominoes, trigger road-rage in others.

Freeway sloppiness can be caused by crumbling potato chips or chocolate overdose as easily as consuming a six-martini-lunch. Mandatory “prediabetes” urine test should be part of all roadside physical examinations. Trained family counselors and “freeway” psychiatrist could be on constant patrol. These specialists would detect suicidal tendencies for those traversing lonely stretches of rural blacktop. By asking a series of simple questions these tar-zone MD’s would have final authority to determine if the driver is fit to control a deadly weapon. How was your day at work? Is your mother-in-law treating you with respect? Why do you smoke? Is your long daily commute starting to piss you off? Why are there bags under you eyes? How long have you been working for the post office without a promotion? Stressed drivers could be given bucket-seat yoga lessons, breathing or chanting exercises and, if necessary, on-the-spot-electo-shock therapy. By conducting simple blood pressure, glaucoma and rectal exams, unsuspecting drivers will experience better health and live longer to drive further than their ancestors.

Making The Road Safe For Future Drivers

Those with poor visual acuity or slow reaction times (when tested with a cattle prod) should be forced to take the bus. A complete roadside physical examination under the videotaped supervision of a trained highway patrol officer, physician and circling TV-news helicopters might serve as a deterrent for feeble individuals, procrastinators or those contemplating unlawful activities. During the vehicle and driver inspection, why not take the opportunity to examine any passengers for contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis, STD, smallpox or precancerous growths in the lymph nodes, groin or breast. Annual hearing, cognitive and attitude checkups given teenagers (pre-drivers) and obnoxious back-seat drivers would quickly identify those prone to loud music, drugs or reckless abandon.

Mechanics Can Make A Difference

The mechanical soundness of the vehicle (engine, brakes, lights, turn signals, horn and non-static seat covers) should be part of a 50-point safety inspection which could be completed in less than an hour while the driver is being screened for attention deficit disorders, excessive caffeine levels or spontaneous twitching.

Dangerous vehicle accessories (cell phones, radios, CD/stereos, cigarette lighters, food/beverage holders) should not be installed in automobiles because of their potential for distraction, nerve damage and long-term health hazards. Ignition timing controls could limit the amount of actual driving time by automatically stopping the car every 45 minutes with soothing audio instructions on how to stretch your legs along with proper dietary guidelines. These slight inconveniences are worth fewer highway fatalities and a healthier society.

Terror-Proofing Highways with Security Checkpoints

Misunderstood criminals can be found almost everywhere. If vehicles were frisked before their owners committed a crime, money could be spent on rehabilitation (and road repair) instead of punishment. With the single stroke of a Presidential pen, Sobriety and Senility Checkpoints could be expanded into Security Checkpoints. Large polluting SUV’s, pickup trucks with rifle racks or camouflaged 4-wheel drives with provocative bumper stickers should be inspected for hidden explosives, weapons of mass construction (crowbars, knives, hammers, nail-guns, hacksaws, electric drills, sharp objects, duct tape, box cutters, jumper cables, gasoline containers, matches, pressurized cans of tire sealant) stolen property, child porn, burglary paraphernalia, turban-like headgear, counterfeit money or redneck demeanor. Remember, the next stop for any vehicle could be an airport.

Is There An Alternative?

A less intrusive, less expensive alternative to establishing checkpoints for everyone and everything might be to allow drivers and pedestrians to police themselves. Why not offer handsome rewards to anyone who reports a road-raging drunk or senile driver trying to cut a swath through the nearest farmers’ market or school yard? By making bounty hunters out of anyone with a cell phone, those who are angry, loaded, stressed, borderline-senile, reckless or contemplating a crime might think twice before turning the key. It seems infinitely more dangerous (and naive) to allow paternalistic, well-intentioned bureaucrats who can't even run their own lives to take control of those keys. We should be concerned, very concerned.

If it's worth doing's worth OVER doing.

Dale Lowdermilk, Founder NOTSAFE
BOX 5743


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