Opinion: Driving is a privilege; it’s not your right

Ray Elliott

A crash captured by tow truck driver Ray Elliott, publisher of www.idiotsontheinterstate.com.

Driving in the State of California is not a right; it is a privilege, revocable at any time.
Operating a motor vehicle is not just an act. it is a way of life. Each of us has our own styles of driving; some bad, some good.

Most of us obey laws as we interpret them. I for one interpret the basic speed law as; travel at a speed that is safe for current conditions.

A crash captured by tow truck driver Ray Elliott, publisher of www.idiotsontheinterstate.com.
A crash captured by tow truck driver Ray Elliott, publisher of www.idiotsontheinterstate.com.

The Basic Speed Law in fact states:

(CVC 22350)  “No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”

Isn’t that what I said?

I also interpret this to mean travel at the speed of traffic, whether or not that speed is above the speed limit.

It is unlikely that a cop will pull over a group of cars, but I have been slowed down by a cop flashing his lights when traffic was flowing (way) above the limit. It scared the crap out of me, so, I slowed down.

Sometimes, cops will pull over the lead vehicle in a pack because that car was the one that everyone else was pacing. Sometimes they’ll pull over the last car because that is the easiest one to catch.

My point is I interpret the laws as I see fit, not as they are worded.  I think that is all right, but I am breaking the law if I am speeding. Just like, by running or rolling through a stop sign (otherwise known as a ‘California’ or ‘Hollywood’ stop).

Even though it was visibly safe and clear, is still illegal. Personally, I make complete stops at all stop signs and red lights.

We interpret laws.  It may not be the correct interpretation, but that is what we think it is, or are just too stubborn to even care.

My roommate got four tickets in the same place (a known heavy enforcement zone) for the same thing (speeding), and he still insists the “cops are just stupid and aren’t out catching the real criminals.”

I’m sorry to inform him, and I did, that the California Highway Patrol are some of the best trained cops in the U.S., and they catch ‘real criminals’ all the time. He just happened to be breaking the law where that (those) officers were enforcing the law.

Gee, they were catching criminals, and he was one. He still thinks he’s right. A while later, he was arrested for a driving under the influence of alcohol at a DUI checkpoint, but he fully admits he was a complete moron.

He says the next time he’s drunk behind the wheel, if he sees a bunch of flashing lights ahead, he will turn around. But the cops know that, so they are hiding, watching for people like you who are turning around.

So just because you thought that what you have received a ticket or other punishment for was legal, remember, you were probably breaking the law, and you signed a contract swearing that you would drive within the laws set forward in the California Vehicle Code.

If you don’t think that a law is right, don’t tell the cop, don’t tell the judge, tell your legislator, and maybe he or she will do something about it.

The judge and the cop are only doing what they are told to do by the law. The California Legislature is responsible for making the laws, and you voted to put those people in their position.

So it is your fault! Don’t blame anyone else but yourself. You voted for Brown and before him Schwarzenegger. You broke the law. You got caught. It is all your fault. Or better yet, just obey the law, stupid.

(This is the debut post of our new columnist, Ray Elliott. A tow truck driver in the Silicon Valley in California for more than 20 years, Elliott makes videos of his daily experiences at his workplace, a 26,000-pound tow truck. Visit his website, idiotsontheinterstate.com.)

Leave a Comment

Share to...