ArticleID: 168
Date: 1/19/2003
Written By: Captain Jackson

by Captain Jackson

After a recent Jackson Citizen Patriot article about the number of traffic citations issued within Jackson County (the number is one of the highest in the state), many local citizens have voiced their opinion stating that local police forces are going out of their way to fill a "quota". People have spoken out in the paper`s Voice of The People as well as on the local morning AM radio program, "Talk Back Jackson". Many of these people are the ones who have received these citations.

Actually, the basic driving laws are very simple and copies are available in written form at any one of the Secretary of State office`s. An even more detailed book is available from any Driver`s Education company for a nominal price. You can even call any one of the local police agencies. They`ll be only too happy to answer any questions you may have.

The laws couldn`t be simpler. For example, STOP means STOP (that`s when your automobile sort of "moves back and forth" for a second and you`re no longer moving), NOT tap your brakes and continue. A yellow traffic light means CAUTION and prepare to STOP, NOT speed up to get through the intersection. Speed Limit means "this is the fastest you may drive", NOT you can travel ten miles per hour faster and it`s okay. As far as the seat belt laws, what could be easier? Anyone who has ever been in an accident can certainly attest to the reason they are important.

Then there are the drunk drivers. The rule here is simple. ONE drink impairs your ability to drive. Depending if you`re eaten or not, your weight and the number (and type) of drinks you have consumed can make a difference. For a two hundred pound person, three beers with dinner over a two hour period probably will not get you arrested. But if you are a regular drinker, three beers on an empty stomach won`t seem any different because of your tolerance level. That can get you arrested.

Speaking of which, the rules regarding "Drunk Driving" and "Public Intoxication" are different in this state. For example, drunk driving is based on the alcohol level of your blood. While you could have the same blood alcohol level and function in public, most police agencies would prefer that you to call a cab or walk home. And though you could still be arrested, as long as you can handle yourself you will find most authorities will respect your decision and allow you to continue along your way.

Many people believe police "target" certain areas. And why not? If you`d like an example of the number of people in our community who break the traffic laws just take a little drive.

Start on Ganson Street where it and and Wildwood come together and drive east. Once you enter the City of Jackson the speed limit goes from 35mph to 25mph. Drive at 25. Now look in your rear-view mirror. How many people are "riding your bumper, honking their horn or showing you one of their fingers?" Turn around and see if the same thing doesn`t happen.

Turn left on Cooper, and onto Francis, and follow it to South Street at the city limits. Turn left and drive the speed limit---25mph. Again, like Ganson, you will see the "wrath" of drivers who will state if cited "I wasn`t speeding, they`ve just got to fill their quota". But they`ll still pass you doing forty plus.

Turn left on Airline Drive. The speed limit is 45mph. Pass High Street and continue north. Once you pass Morrell, the speed limit drops to 35mph. If you get a green light just take your foot off the gas pedal. Guess what will happen if you obey the traffic laws? Yep, the same treatment from your fellow drivers.

Many people call these areas "speed traps", but are they really? Most of the streets I have mentioned are actually residential areas. We walk there. Our kids play there. And the last thing we want is an accident there---especially from someone who believes they are above our basic traffic laws.

Are these police officers going after a "quota"? I don`t think so. I believe they are just doing the difficult job we pay them to do.

Copyright 2003, CFC

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