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Old 02-25-07, 02:20 PM   #1
trackhub
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Besides Raising Fines for Bad drivers, what about this?

Have you looked at your driver's license lately? If you're beyond your teenaged years, you probably have not. So, take it out now, and give it a good look. What's on it? Your photograph, the name of your state of residence, a state symbol. There's your name and legal address, your date of birth, and a number assigned by your motor vehicle department. There's a signature from an obscure state official and perhaps a code that indicates that you are an organ donor, and maybe something that says you need to wear glasses when driving. There's one more thing, isn't there? Your signature. You had to sign the form when you received it, and the signature was then transposed to the actual license. The license isn't valid or legal, until you sign it.

When you sign a license, what exactly are you agreeing to? Well, as near as I can tell, it simply means that you agree to the MA implied consent law. If you are caught for suspected drunk driving, you agree to take a breathalyzer test. Refusing to do so means an automatic suspension of your license. Of course, the lawyers (check their ads in the yellow pages. There are lots of them) can fix this.

I'm just wondering if it would be possible to strengthen the meaning of this signature on this form. Say that by signing, you agree to obey all motor vehicle safety laws, and to operate in a civilized, proper manner. Failure to do so will mean the agreement has been broken, and the license may be suspended or revoked.

I bring this up because many believe that increasing fines for bad drivers will make roads safer. That's not a bad idea, but I'm not convinced that aggressive, "I'm a tough guy!" motorists are afraid at all of large fines at all. They are afraid of losing their licenses though. Am I wrong about that?

Good idea / bad idea?
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Old 02-25-07, 02:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by trackhub
I'm just wondering if it would be possible to strengthen the meaning of this signature on this form. Say that by signing, you agree to obey all motor vehicle safety laws, and to operate in a civilized, proper manner. Failure to do so will mean the agreement has been broken, and the license may be suspended or revoked.
Excellent idea. I had not thought about it from this angle.
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Old 02-25-07, 04:13 PM   #3
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I think it is a great idea. Not that many people actually read what they sign, but that's not really anyone's problem but their own, is it? I think the main benefit would be to be able to go after someone with more consequences involved once they do break the law, and the biggest initial cost would be to have to change DMV forms.

So is the signature on the DL of every single state and territory?
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Old 02-25-07, 04:19 PM   #4
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But what would that mean? You break a law, you lose your license? Speeding means you lose your license, for example? Failure to yield? Failure to signal? Incomplete stop?

I think the public outcry would sink it.
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Old 02-25-07, 04:27 PM   #5
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But what would that mean? You break a law, you lose your license? Speeding means you lose your license, for example? Failure to yield? Failure to signal? Incomplete stop?

I think the public outcry would sink it.
In Iowa if you are speeding 30 mph or more over the limit you can lose your liscense on the first offense. Speeding is also an arrestable offense. I am not sure, will have to check it out but I imagine if you have a lot of failure to stop, failure to yield, etc citations you could also lose your liscense as well. I also think those things may be an arrestable offense too, again I'll have to check into it.
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Old 02-25-07, 04:39 PM   #6
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In Iowa if you are speeding 30 mph or more over the limit you can lose your liscense on the first offense. Speeding is also an arrestable offense. I am not sure, will have to check it out but I imagine if you have a lot of failure to stop, failure to yield, etc citations you could also lose your liscense as well. I also think those things may be an arrestable offense too, again I'll have to check into it.
Perhaps, but what if you get a ticket for going 5 MPH over? Or one failure to yield?

My guess is cops would be reluctant to enforce anything but the most egregious violations, knowing that one offense would mean losing your license.
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Old 02-25-07, 04:50 PM   #7
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Yeah it could backfire if cops were unwilling to even write tickets because they thought the punishment was too harsh. As it stands now, you will have your license suspended if you get too many points from speeding or what have you. So I'm not clear how this proposal is different, just a little harsher. Also, traffic fatalities and injuries have been going down steadily for many years now, so we're probably already on the right track. Cops should probably work on targeting enforcement a little better to work on the problem areas, like running red lights and agressive driving.
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Old 02-25-07, 05:02 PM   #8
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Interesting idea. But it would seem to me that the truely problematic motorists out there would not give this a second thought. How many times have you read about a motorist involved in a hit & run or something major that had either no operators permit or had it revoked/suspended at the time of the incident? These people, in my opinion, are the ones we need to be concerned about the most, not the person doing 70 in a 65.
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Old 02-25-07, 06:01 PM   #9
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I'm not in favor of mandatory Breathalyzer tests. I've read lawyers websites detailing the inaccuracies of them. I can demand a blood test here instead.
Technically, we HAVE agreed to obey all the laws in the vehicle code when we got our license, but then, by not denouncing my U.S. citizenship, I've also agreed not to break any of the other laws.
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Old 02-25-07, 09:08 PM   #10
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The one and only idea!Unless double fines for hitting a biker works?
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Old 02-26-07, 08:09 AM   #11
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This is already the case in MI. The Secretary of State (that is what we call the DMV in MI) has a schedule of "points" for each ticket and they may suspend your license based so many points over a certain period of time.

MI also enacted "driver responsibility fees" about 3 years ago which assess an extra fee from the SOS for particular penalties or combinations of penalties over short periods of time. These were modeled after the same ones enacted in NJ that saw a 24% reduction in traffic fatalities within a few years. If those fees are not paid the SOS will suspend a persons operators license. These fees are under attack right now by certain grassroots political campaigns calling for their repeal which is fine every person has their right to lobby the government. The real problem is activist judges refusing to uphold arrests of persons found driving on suspended operators licenses. In an article recently published by our local NBC affiliate recently court officials are quoted as saying they will refuse to convict people for this.....ridiculous. Here is a link to the article.
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Old 02-26-07, 08:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
Have you looked at your driver's license lately? If you're beyond your teenaged years, you probably have not. So, take it out now, and give it a good look. What's on it? Your photograph, the name of your state of residence, a state symbol. There's your name and legal address, your date of birth, and a number assigned by your motor vehicle department. There's a signature from an obscure state official and perhaps a code that indicates that you are an organ donor, and maybe something that says you need to wear glasses when driving. There's one more thing, isn't there? Your signature. You had to sign the form when you received it, and the signature was then transposed to the actual license. The license isn't valid or legal, until you sign it.

When you sign a license, what exactly are you agreeing to? Well, as near as I can tell, it simply means that you agree to the MA implied consent law. If you are caught for suspected drunk driving, you agree to take a breathalyzer test. Refusing to do so means an automatic suspension of your license. Of course, the lawyers (check their ads in the yellow pages. There are lots of them) can fix this.

I'm just wondering if it would be possible to strengthen the meaning of this signature on this form. Say that by signing, you agree to obey all motor vehicle safety laws, and to operate in a civilized, proper manner. Failure to do so will mean the agreement has been broken, and the license may be suspended or revoked.

I bring this up because many believe that increasing fines for bad drivers will make roads safer. That's not a bad idea, but I'm not convinced that aggressive, "I'm a tough guy!" motorists are afraid at all of large fines at all. They are afraid of losing their licenses though. Am I wrong about that?

Good idea / bad idea?
By signing the license you do agree to abide by all traffic regulations, so its already there. The implied consent statement is there to scare you/coerce you into taking the breathalyzer trest.
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Old 02-26-07, 08:53 AM   #13
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Locally here, several media investigations have revealed people with suspended or revoked licenses just keep driving.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:05 AM   #14
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Locally here, several media investigations have revealed people with suspended or revoked licenses just keep driving.
Not just by you.
There was a recent case here in Washington, where a woman was on her 5th or 6th DUI and the count for Driving With a Suspended License was through the roof. Around 25 or so charges for suspended license.
When I lived in Ohio, I got hit (while driving) from behind on the interstate. The guy was so drunk and high that when the state trooper asked spoke with him, the man couldn't identify where he was, whose car he was driving, or where he was going. 3rd Driving on a suspended license charge, 8th DUI.

Suspending licenses doesn't work. Start treating Suspended License and DUI drivers like drug dealers:
Seize the car and sell it at auction. Let's see these repeat offenders try and drive when their car is gone.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:15 AM   #15
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Locally here, several media investigations have revealed people with suspended or revoked licenses just keep driving.
I average once per shift arresting someone with a suspended driver's license from just regular traffic stops. So not only are they still driving, but they are not driving well either.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
I average once per shift arresting someone with a suspended driver's license from just regular traffic stops. So not only are they still driving, but they are not driving well either.
You see this far more than most of us do. So, do your and your colleagues have any thoughts about how to get these folks off the road short of something that would be ruled unconstitutional?
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Old 02-26-07, 10:29 AM   #17
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So, following your logic, since a bicycle is considered a vehicle for purposes of applying the vehicle code, does that mean if a bicyclist gets a ticket for failing to stop at a stop sign, his/her driver's license should be suspended? Maybe the result of this would be to require cyclists to carry their driver's licesne whenever they ride their bikes, and their cycling privileges would be suspended?
Maybe we should all just take a deep breath and treat each other with a lot more respect. (wishful thinking, i know )
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Old 02-26-07, 10:55 AM   #18
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S Maybe the result of this would be to require cyclists to carry their driver's licesne whenever they ride their bikes, and their cycling privileges would be suspended?
Is cycling really a privilege if it involves no revokable permit?

Has anyone ever heard of a court order for someone to not ride a bike?

If someone repeatedly jay-walks, do we impound their shoes?

Just asking.
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Old 02-26-07, 11:10 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by donnamb
You see this far more than most of us do. So, do your and your colleagues have any thoughts about how to get these folks off the road short of something that would be ruled unconstitutional?
What about publishing the names of the folks that have lost their DLs?
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Old 02-26-07, 11:23 AM   #20
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I hate US drivers' licenses-- with addresses that need updating every time you move. I had to take the eye exam just to fix a typo in my zip code. The gov cares more about eyesight than any level of skill.

I relocated and my new license expires on my 100th birthday-- has no address. It is a federal license. It also cost a small fortune.
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Old 02-26-07, 11:25 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
I bring this up because many believe that increasing fines for bad drivers will make roads safer. That's not a bad idea, but I'm not convinced that aggressive, "I'm a tough guy!" motorists are afraid at all of large fines at all. They are afraid of losing their licenses though. Am I wrong about that?
Good idea / bad idea?
I think that you hit the nail on the head. Tough guys would shrug off the fine(s) but take away their right to drive and you get their attention.
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Old 02-26-07, 11:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb
You see this far more than most of us do. So, do your and your colleagues have any thoughts about how to get these folks off the road short of something that would be ruled unconstitutional?
I think confiscation of the vehicle would suffice. These people get arrested for doing something wrong then we just give them back the tool they were using to commit the same offense.

Nice new avatar, btw...didn't recognize you at first.
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Old 02-26-07, 11:56 AM   #23
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What I am scared of the most is being plowed over by some nobody and that nobody takes off and I am left there to die on the road. Thats the biggest fear I have I really do not care if I get honked at or cut off The only solution to my problem is a 400 dollar camera system their has to be a better way then that some one should come up with a better system then that
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Old 02-26-07, 12:02 PM   #24
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BTW, I realize there are important constitutional issues being argued here (right to use public facilities, forfeiture of property, etc.), but at some point we have to recognize that this is an important public health/safety issue that needs to be addressed.

When we drive or bike we rely on an assumption that people will have certain requirements to drive and will do certain things (have a operators license, have adequate vision, not cross the center line, not drink and drive, etc.). That is the way that the existing US roadway infrastructure is designed. If you cannot meet those requirements or follow those rules and endanger other peoples lives you should not be allowed on the roadways with responsible people, and if you do so against the law there should be serious repercussions.

On the other hand, We would need to support alternative means to allow people who cannot, are not allowed to or choose not to drive a way to meet their transportation needs. Many of the people I arrest for driving on a suspended license truly believe that driving was their only option. It may not have been (hello, see the commuter forum), but that is their perception and thus, their reality.
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Old 02-26-07, 05:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
By signing the license you do agree to abide by all traffic regulations, so its already there. The implied consent statement is there to scare you/coerce you into taking the breathalyzer trest.
Yes, it's there alright. What I'm suggesting is strengthening the wording, making sure people know what they are agreeing to, before they sign on that line. I'm not sure what legislative action, if any, this would require. As Blue Order pointed out, once the public becomes aware that something is in the works that will impact their driving privileges, the outcry can be quite loud. Elected officials know that supporting unpopular bills can make things go badly for them at re-election time.

I do know that steep fines and surcharges on insurance just aren't doing the job.

Deputyjones, MA does not have a points system, as other states do. The idea has been toyed with, but that's all. I'd like to see a points system in place, but I'm doubtful it will happen. We do have an insurance surcharge system. Get a speeding ticket, or a moving violation, have a surcharge on your insurance. Tough guy motorists laugh at this one.

mrpsmr, there is at least one known case in MA where a cyclists driver's license was in fact, confiscated by a state police officer, after that officer demanded he produce identification. (I thought only a judge, or the RMV had that actual authority.) Have a read.
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