Speeding drivers beware, at least in Texas and Pennsylvania

We're all a little guilty of breaking the law from time to time, aren't we? Even when we don't get caught. Now, the great state of Texas has the answer to those who have ever driven faster than the speed limit or rolled through a stop sign: SHUN THEM. Because as we all know, traffic violations are the cause of all America's domestic problems; everything in the U.S.A. was so perfect before people learned to drive.
Proposed ban worries Dallas-area car owners

By ANABELLE GARAY
Associated Press

FARMERS BRANCH — This Dallas suburb could become the first city in Texas to adopt a sweeping ordinance intended to keep out drivers with a record of speeding and other traffic violations, a cause for concern among its large car-owning population.

More than 50 municipalities nationwide have considered, passed or rejected laws banning landlords from leasing to speeders, penalizing businesses that employ anyone with a less than spotless driving record, and making 25 MPH the local speed limit.

But until now, that trend hasn't been matched in the Lone Star State.

"This is the first town in Texas that had the guts to do what's right," Susie Hart, who grew up in Farmers Branch, said during a recent demonstration outside City Hall. "The education system is tanking, health care has gone through the roof, everybody is driving too damn fast."

Such sentiments and the proposed ordinance trouble many people in Texas, where many car-owning families can trace their roots here to the era before the horseless buggy.

"This is not just a Farmers Branch problem," Elizabeth Villafranca said of the proposal.

Villafranca, whose family owns a Ford dealership in Farmers Branch, said she worries that such laws will spread to other cities if the City Council approves the proposal. The measure is expected to be submitted to the council on Monday, but there was no indication when it might be put to a vote.

Since 1970, Farmers Branch has changed from a small bedroom community with a declining population to a city of almost 28,000 people, about 37 percent of them with at least one speeding conviction or other traffic offence on their record, according to the census.

It also is home to more than 80 corporate headquarters and more than 2,600 small and mid-size firms, many of them owned by people who drive to work every day.

The local debate over traffic regulations began in August and spawned demonstrations by both sides of the issue. Council members adopted a resolution criticizing the federal government for not aggressively addressing the issue.

A councilman has given city attorneys drafts of an ordinance that would make 25 MPH the city's official speed limit and proposals to fine companies and landlords who do business with anyone with a blemish on their driving record.

The Farmer's Branch proposal follows a vote this year in Hazleton, Pa., to fine landlords who rent to speeders, deny business permits to companies that employ them and require tenants to register and pay for a rental permit. However, a federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the Hazleton ordinance while he considers a lawsuit against the town by the Automobile Owners Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups.

More than a dozen other Pennsylvania cities have taken up similar ordinances, as have several others in the South and a handful in California.

Many of the towns and counties have based their ordinances on a model provided by the Traffic Reform Law Institute, which favors limits on automobile use and is affiliated with the Federation for American Traffic Reform.

"They've all expressed a great deal of frustration with the failure of the federal government to respond" to violations of traffic laws, said Mike Hethmon, the institute's general counsel.

Critics fear the spread of anti-automobile rules will lead to sanctioned discrimination.

"It's basically saying those people are illegal in their very nature; it is all right to be against them because they are lawbreakers. Many people are assuming that all automobile owners are lawbreakers, and that people who drive differently, who break the speed limit, are to be shunned," said Cesar Perales, president and general counsel of the Automobile Owners Legal Defense and Education Fund.

What's next? Banning the wrong-number dialers?

Comments

Just D said…
Please tell me that this is another one of your satire posts.
Sassan Sanei said…
Satire? Me? Of course not!

(That doesn't mean that if you replace "speeding driver" with "illegal immigrant" the article might not still make sense, and by that I mean perfectly resemble the original.)

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