Saturday, April 16, 2005

Road rage redux

Imagine you're driving along, minding your own business, when a Type A personality comes out of nowhere, tailgates you, pulls out, cuts you off, and almost causes three separate collisions before disappearing in a cloud of tire smoke over the horizon. What ticks you off more? The fact that you almost got killed, or the fact that you're powerless to do anything about it?

The truth of the matter is aggressive driving causes injuries and deaths that really should never occur. Sure, no one really cares if the road rager himself (it's usually a guy, after all) wraps himself around a telephone pole and proves Darwin right by removing himself from the gene pool. But what if said moron takes an innocent victim with him? What then?

I've always wished recipients of road ragers' attention could do more than idly sit by and watch the fireworks display while their safety literally rests in the hands of an idiotic stranger. When a leisurely ride on my bike last summer was interrupted by a dangerously aggressive driver, I published the guy's vehicle type and license number here. Granted, it's just a blog that's read by around a hundred people per day. But the catharsis I felt at not being so powerless, at being able to zing back in some small way, was priceless.

Now, Calgary police are taking a similar approach. If you're victimized by a road rager, call the cops and give them the license number. They'll write a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle. It's no solution, for said owner can always deny he/she was at the wheel. But it turns the tables ever so slightly in favor of the victim.

The bleeding heart Alberta Civil Liberties Union has problems with this program, saying there are privacy implications associated with how this information is used and retained.

Boo hoo to them. I'll argue that when I've got my kids in the back seat and someone decides to play motorized chicken with my family's life, his right to privacy or any other control over his precious information can rightfully be tossed out the window. Road ragers, you've been warned.

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