Viewpoint: Refine Utah drivers

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    Greg Little

    San Jose, Calif.

    I’m writing this letter for every person in Utah that has had a close call on a Utah street, whether on foot or in a vehicle.

    Utah drivers are horrible! They are ignorant to their own driving laws; they do not know the limits or the vehicles they drive and it seems that when they get on the road they think they can do what ever they want.

    I constantly see lanes changed and turns made without signals, a car changing into a lane at half the speed of that lane’s traffic flow and people making u-turns whenever and wherever they feel like it.

    I fear for my life any time I walk or drive down the streets of Provo!

    On Saturday, Feb. 23, I was heading southbound on Freedom Blvd.

    Two of the traffic lights were inoperative. I approached the light and slowed to a stop. As I did this I got a honk from behind. I looked in my rear-view mirror to see a driver swerve from my lane to the one on my right and proceed through the blank light at about 30 MPH.

    Traffic from the opposite direction flowed right through the light as well, treating it like it didn’t even exist. The only other person I saw stop was someone with Minnesota plates – she also received a honk from a car behind her.

    This all happened despite the fact that Section 41-6-24, Article 6 of the Utah Code clearly states that any vehicle approaching an intersection with an inoperative traffic signal must stop before entering the intersection and yield the right-of-way.

    In other words, the intersection is treated as a four-way stop.

    I’ve lived in California my entire life and have never seen that happen, and it’s not because of the lack of dead traffic lights. Anyone ever hear of California’s energy problems?

    Also, in an incident last month, I was walking from the Crabtree building to the ROTC building when I almost got hit twice in the span of five minutes; both times I was missed by about a foot. A car turning right at the light did not come to a stop at the red light or look into the crosswalk before proceeding with his turn, even though the crossing signal was on “walk.”

    Then about another 100 feet up the sidewalk, another driver did not stop at the stop sign or look into the crosswalk before making her turn.

    This is ludicrous! I know Californians have made the “California Stop” (rolling through a stop sign) famous, but most of the time we at least look both ways to make sure there is no traffic before going ahead with the maneuver.

    The fact is, driving in California is safer! In the year 2000, there were 1.75 accidents per 100 licensed drivers in California. In Utah that same year, there were 37.07 accidents per 100 licensed drivers.

    So, it is 21-times safer to drive in California. I rest my case!

    Utah needs to find a cure for this. I recommend adopting California’s drivers license permit requirement in addition to passing driver’s education and driver’s training classes.

    Every new driver must have 60 Supervised driving hours, and have their permit for 6 months before being eligible for a license. When new drivers obtain their permit, someone with a valid license over 25-years-old must be in a position to take over the wheel if needed.

    Studies show that kids learn more from parents than they do from classes.

    Cars are dangerous, and people need to realize that driving is a privilege, not a right!

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