It’s another case of inattentive, ill-trained car drivers being the root cause of nearly all vehicle incidents.

The road itself is not at fault; it’s just a stage for showcasing idiocy, and throwing money at “the problem” via an expensive roundabout ignores the obvious fact that the underlying issue is always poor driving skills.

In the past, I’ve made the same point about frequent impromptu off-road events on a well-known part of Brownsville Road: It’s just a strip of asphalt or concrete, and it’s up to those who are driving on it to pay attention, which includes putting the electronic distractions away before driving.

Here’s a question: it’s a well known fact that texting and phone calls (even hands-free!) results in a driver that is effectively drunk. (by choice!) Why has this behavior not been pursued with extreme vigor by law enforcement? We’ve had pedestrian stings in downtown Albany, and the same setup needs to be used to catch drivers who are yakking/texting while driving.

It would also be very easy to use existing red-light cameras to enforce the same statutes: they’re already in place, have been validated by the courts, and it’s well within the legal limits of approved use of the camera system, i.e: traffic law enforcement.

Even better: since texting/phone use while behind the wheel is as hazardous as being inebriated, let’s start treating it in the same manner: handcuffs and/or a tow to impound. It sounds harsh, but you’d see the accident rate plummet, and there would be far fewer lane departures that lead to someone having a very bad day.

Steve Clark

Albany (July 1)

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