Two traffic laws I’d love to see on the books

With each year come new laws and amendments to older laws that are signed into law by the governor.

Bills are introduced to the Legislature, lobbied for and, if things go right for the advocates of that bill, they are signed into law. That’s the short version.

I’m sure that with some deep thought, and perhaps a few adult beverages, almost all of you would have a long list of laws that need changing. For instance, there’s the old law that says you need to keep a gun on you when you’re traveling to church in your covered wagon and need to keep your family safe from Indians. Or maybe the law was to keep the Indians safe from your ex-wife. I don’t know.

Every January and July, these laws go into effect. Some have dramatic effects and some are more subtle. On the local level, for example, back in 2006 Sandy Springs adopted a change in the ordinance that required drinking establishments to close at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. There was such furor and rage that people took buses to the city council meetings to protest.

It was odd because most didn’t really know a lot about the city and some admitted they were making a few bucks by showing up to protest. But they certainly looked serious.

Dressed in plain clothes. and out of curiosity, I decided to speak to the protesters:

Me: “What are you protesting about?”

Protester: “I’m not sure; check with that guy over there.”

Me (To That Guy Over There): “Sir, what are you protesting about?”

Guy Over There: “Uh, well, I’m protesting the closing of the bars.”

Me: “What time did they close before?”

Guy Over There: “Uh, 3, 4, 5?”

Me: “What time do they want the bars closed?”

Guy Over There: “Look, pal, I don’t know. I’m from Detroit and they put us on a bus and paid us 40 bucks to come here and hold this sign. Is this even City Hall?”

Although changing a local ordinance can cause some uproar, as this one did, the funny thing is just about all of our pre-existing bar problems went away. It seemed a lot of the problems were happening between 2 and 4 in the morning. Good advice: If you can’t get it done by 2, cut your losses and hit the Waffle House or just go home.

Laws that are badly needed

There are two laws that I would love to see as soon as possible:

1) A new law that would ban the sound effect of screeching brakes and breaking glass on AM and/or FM radio.

There I was just driving along on 400, listing to crummy drive-time radio and wishing I had a better CD collection, when suddenly I hear screeching brakes! I reacted by scrunching up my shoulder around my ears and putting the death-grip on the steering wheel as I awaited the impact.

Several things ran through my mind:

  • Will my cool-looking car be seriously damaged?
  • Will I be seriously damaged?
  • Will this coffee that I just spit out onto the windshield damage the interior so that I’ll be written up for city-car damage in case I’m not killed in what sounds like a serious wreck that’s fixin’ to happen?
  • Did I forget my gun again? (It’s funny what runs through your mind at a time like this.)

It takes only a second or two before you realize all this stress is actually coming from the radio and not real life. For me, I can’t just shake it off. That is a serious freak-out and I cannot just bounce back. I have to pull over and just lie there in the fetal position for an hour.

If you can’t sell insurance or your legal practice without using screeching tires and brakes laced with the impact sound of glass shattering, then maybe you need to move your advertising to the side of a bus.

2) My second new law would ban the “Siren of Death.”

Not the distant siren that slowly gets louder, but rather the exploding siren that tells you that whatever is coming already got here, and there’s a good chance you’re being run over!

Two words: Heart attack!

This, too, must be banned forever.

32 comments Add your comment

Seen it all

August 10th, 2010
6:55 pm

I’ve worked in Radio for 29 years, and I couldn’t agree more about the sound-effects problem.


August 10th, 2010
11:08 pm

“Did I forget my gun again? ”



August 11th, 2010
7:03 am

There’s one sound effect on radio commercials that definitely needs to be banned and that’s the siren. I don’t hear too well due to sticking my head inside jet engines back when aircraft carriers still had sails. I can, however, hear sirens. When I do hear a siren, my first reaction is to tap the brake pedal and start looking around. Then after a few seconds, I realize it’s some barker on the radio hawking something I would never buy in the first place. The person drafting me gets angry and blows their horn for me to speed up. I turn on my left blinker and slink down in the seat so that only my knuckles are visible on the top of the steering wheel and proceed slowly hoping that they think I took a wrong turn somewhere in Florida.


August 11th, 2010
7:55 am

Well, NPR doesn’t have those screeching-crashing commercials, so you could listen to it. But, then, lately they have really been promoting communism, so you have to listen with discernment.

But I agree, they should not be allowed on the radio.


August 11th, 2010
9:23 am

The main traffic law I’d like to see changed is the one where people in the second or third lane of the interstates suddenly realize they are about to miss their exit, and decide the best way to handle that is to suspend the laws of physics -specifically momentum and inertia- and turn their cars sideways to the direction of travel so they can cut across two or three lanes of traffic and make it to the exit ramp.

If traffic happens to be in the way, well they they just suspend molecular density too and go right through anyone in the way.

Sometimes this works. Many times it ends up on the back of a tow truck or in an ER.

Clearly one of the things lacking in driver education is the entire chapter about what to do when you miss your turn. Apparently the concept of going to the next exit or street and turning around is just not known.


August 11th, 2010
10:21 am

Sort like not being able to yell fire in a theater.

Van Jones

August 11th, 2010
10:38 am

Amen Festus. That radio siren gets me every single time.

I agree with you too, Patrick. Lt. Steve, any chance you could arrange for maybe a mototcycle cop to hang out at the 285E to 400 exit in the afternoon and ticket all the boneheads who avoid the exit line only to STOP in the next lane over to squeeze in at the last minute? I would be greatful!

Frank Butler

August 11th, 2010
10:52 am

When is Sandy Springs going to outlaw(and enforce if made into a law) the playing of music that can be heard more than 50 feet away. They have used this successfully in Florida for many years to control the noise pollution coming from cars.

Lt. Steve

August 11th, 2010
11:15 am

Ah Frank! Good point and I’m in on that one. Seems like the QT on Roswell Road is the place for sound testing after 9 p.m. We have the noise ordinance that reads “excessive noise” but car noise is kind of in the gray area. Good call though.


August 11th, 2010
12:45 pm

see its those noises that keep me amused in traffic.

wait for the screeching tire/busting glass commercial and then look around in traffic to see who all else was listening to that commerical. usually, it’s the guy directly in front of me.


August 11th, 2010
4:08 pm

Yeah, I agree on both counts but how about enforcing the laws concerning turn signals first? It always amazes me how so many drivers think I have the ability to read their minds.


August 12th, 2010
6:34 am

More Laws, and More Laws and More Laws. When the Corporation fraudulently posing as a government finally runs out of ways to micro manage your life, they just make breathing a felony, if it already isn’t.


August 12th, 2010
7:38 am

I agree with the radio issue. It drives me nuts! But I wish they would enforce the aggressive driving laws. I wonder how many of those tickets have been issued? Usually when I see one of these drivers there are not any police around! The changing 3 lanes to get to your exit should qualify as aggressive driving. What about following to close? I had a lady in a black fourrunner about eat my bumper the other day. should have brake checked her but I had a passenger in the car and knowing my luck she probably had no insurance or minimum limits!!


August 12th, 2010
7:42 am

also, i think they should add child endangerment charges to people who are speeding, following to closely and aggressive driving when they have kids in the cars. Those are the worst. Guess they don’t realize they have their kids lives in their hands,they only care about getting somewhere fast


August 12th, 2010
4:50 pm

Nancy, did you ever think about getting out of the passing lane ??


August 13th, 2010
8:41 am

your name says it all… I was on a 2 lane road not the freaking highway and in the right lane. My office is on the right side, but I guess I could be like you and make my turn from the left hand lane.


August 13th, 2010
9:10 am

Well gaaaaaawwwwwwllllleeeeeeee


August 13th, 2010
4:15 pm

One more law, illegal to drive with any hand held device in you hands besides a steering wheel. EX. hair brush, lipstick, cell phone, blow dryer, cigareette, any kind of drink and etc.

Get It Right

August 13th, 2010
4:35 pm

I’m for immediate corporal punishment for any drivers who do not know how to go through a 4-way or 3-way stop. 5-10 lashes with a wide belt should do it. Immediate, as in pull over and smack them right there on the side of the street.

Also, tickets with HEFTY fines for people parking in the fire lanes or illiegally parking in a handicap space.

Sandy Springs

August 13th, 2010
6:28 pm

I agree about the siren, screeching breaks, and breaking glass. Many times I have looked around for a public safety vehicle while slowing down to let them pass or whatever, only to have the driver behind me hawk his horn at me. delightful, road rage, always a good thing for a middle age woman who can not physically protect herself.

There should be laws for endangering nosie coming from the radio.

Excellent article Lt.


August 14th, 2010
8:13 am

Larry David covered this already.


August 14th, 2010
7:59 pm

$1000 fine for people who pull up and stop at right turn merge lanes when they have hundreds of feet of acceleration lane open just for them.


August 15th, 2010
3:00 am

Yes, they need also make a law that slow moving traffic is not allowed in the left lane. Similar to the one in Germany, all slow moving traffic needs to be in the right lane, if you ride the left lane you get a ticket. how about folks that get off an exit and have Keep Moving sign but stop. Or those that merge onto highways going 30 mile per hour, or those that in rush hour keep 3 car lengths in front of them so that other cars either can’t get on the road, pass by them to get on the turning lane or one for rubber necking, how is it that when one simple car is pulled over by a cop and they are on the shoulder we must have a traffic jam. Then one for cars that think they can cut the line in getting onto the connectors and cause a massive traffic jam because they are trying to weesel their way in, especially on 285 to get on Spaghetti Junction. Even those cars on 400 that ride the cruise lane all the way up in hopes to cut line again and they know they need to pay, causing a traffic jam for cruise card holders. I could go on and on. Georgia Drivers are just bad drivers all around!

Get out of the fast lane

August 15th, 2010
7:27 am

@ Nancy….Stomping on the break to protest someone following too close is more aggressive and far more dangerous than anything you commented on. If someones on your bumper try getting out of the fast lane. You’re a bigger menace and obviously more angry than the guy who over shoots his exit. Get off your high horse and be a little less arrogant about who’s in the wrong and who’s in the right.

Slave of Stalin

August 15th, 2010
7:28 am

Leary, thank heavens you warned us about the dangerous NPR plan to lure us into godless communism with their no commercials and news for adults that doesn’t suck. I was was so deluded I was planning to emigrate to North Korea! Luckily, I got a strong dose of Sean Hannity and Neil Boortz and it brought me back to “reality”.


August 15th, 2010
8:44 am

What about those drivers who recline their seats so the top of their head is visible. They can’t be driving defensively and their response time has surely bottomed out.


August 15th, 2010
10:32 am

Things I want to invent: A button to push when someone’s music is so loud it is giving me diarrhea. It will emit silent sound waves that blow up the speakers.

A giant pancake flipper that will slide out from under my car, going under the guy in front of me who cut in (especially at the last minute instead of waiting his turn) and FLIP the car back to the end of the line, or a half-mile, whichever is more.

BTW, I think all cars parking in the fire lanes and handicapped zones illegally should be TOWED and IMPOUNDED, even if there is a “watcher” in the car waiting for the person. If the car is empty, it should be CRUSHED. The same for those who ride in the HOV lanes–no tickets–tow and impound the car. A little walking might give the miscreants some perspective.

We could take care of these problems with some strict enforcement, I think.


August 15th, 2010
10:59 am

Hey, Get out? Nancy already explained that she was in the RIGHT lane and not on a highway when that incident occurred, so maybe you’re just a huge bully. A little reading comprehension will do you just fine.


August 17th, 2010
12:11 am

Kristikreme: I’m not buying Nancy’s last lie, are you? Before she had time to come up with her ‘good excuse” she wrote:

“The changing 3 lanes to get to your exit should qualify as aggressive driving. What about following to close? I had a lady in a black fourrunner about eat my bumper the other day. should have brake checked her but I had a passenger in the car and knowing my luck she probably had no insurance or minimum limits!!”

Changing three lanes does not suggest a two lane road. Nancy wanted to “brake check” the person which suggests that not only is she passively aggressive, but also that she KNOWS her stupid ass was in the left lane going slow. She already re-enforced her inherent passive aggressive traits by her arrogant comment to “goober.”

“Get out of the fast lane” nailed it right on the head, that stupid beotch Nancy needs to learn how to drive and needs to get the hell out of the fast lane. She stays in the fast lane because when she is there, she doesn’t have to do anything. SHE is the road block. Nothing is in front of her since she is holding up all traffic. SHE has decided what speed all those behind her should drive because SHE is the Goddess who decides these things. Then she lies about it. How quaint……….


August 17th, 2010
12:46 am

Yet another in the legion of aggressive egotists who pull stuff in their cars that they wouldn’t dare try OUT of the car, in person, face to face.



August 17th, 2010
3:28 pm

It should be against the law to be a jerk cop. they are public servants.most not all are jerks.


August 17th, 2010
5:01 pm

Why is it whenever you talk about bad drivers, those who don’t obey the speed limits come out and try to teach us all about the “rules of the road”, (read “Stay out of my way”). Guys, check any true listing of the Rules of the Road and you will most likely find “Obey all traffic laws” right at the top. Trying to claim your “rights” while breaking the law is idiotic.
(I despise the sirens on the radio too.)