Ray LaHood’s blog

http://fastlane.dot.gov/ — it doesn’t have many comments… but of course they’re moderated.  So, perhaps if I wrote a gushy complimentary one… but I didn’t.

Dang it, when I copied the address to the blog I deleted the “copy” to what I posted.   However, it was a trimmed version of this:


Mr. LaHood,


You’re from Illinois, and you seem to care about developing an infrastructure and culture that includes vehicles other than cars. You also have often spoken of the hazards of distracted driving.


Yet, here in your home state, despite laws enacted expressly to help this, we’re going backwards.


Cindy and David Combs were a couple in town that everybody knew. She was blind; he is developmentally delayed. They used their tandem for transportation.


Monday, March 7, a driver who ‘may have been reading a map’ essentially wiped them off a wide, open road with all kinds of room for passing at 4:30 in the afternoon, and David and Cindy ride a huge tandem with more flags and reflectors and lights than Carter has pills.


Our whole community is in shock. See


and http://www.news-gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2011-03-09/couple-hit-motorist-maintained-independence-spite-disabilitie – at least that second one, to see their picture. (As I write, David is still in critical condition, back in ICU with internal injuries and broken bones.)


Yet, our state’s attorney has said that our new 3-foot law, because it includes the word “reckless,” demands “wanton and willful” recklessness. As with Matt Wilhelm, who was killed by a young lady who’d already had a string of speeding and reckless driving tickets but still had her license, and was downloading ringtones when she struck Matt with the driver’s side of the car, it looks like this will be another “petty offense” charge.


And, of course, I could add more injuries and deaths to this list.


We’re all pretty disgusted.


I can understand how in the past cases were not won with similar evidence. However, the public is now completely aware of the dangers of distracted driving.


We don’t want revenge – we know there’s no way to get the lost lives back. Still, drivers should bear ****some**** fragment of responsibility for their carnage.


We have this new law… so it seems you might get somewhere with drivers who verbally harass you as well as physically try to shove you off the road — IF you have them on film, and have an ironclad case… and of course don’t count on getting too far. (This happened last summer.)

If you’re dead, though, forget it.   That’s not “reckless.”   That’s not ‘willful and wanton.”   What is???

I looked up “reckless.”  What is cited as an example is: drives over an incline in the road, such as a railroad crossing, with the intent of making the vehicle airborne.

So.   Drive fast over RR tracks:  reckless.

Essentially, yielding to an impulse and deciding that’s more important than safety, eh?

Isn’t that ***exactly*** what distracted driving is?

But no, here in Illinois, if you drive at excessive speed with your eyes closed, essentially:    Failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Petty offense.

Is there anything we can do ? It seems like the law was passed to make politicians look good. All your talk – can you back it up with anything?

Or… will a driver who injures somebody have the incentive to make sure their victims are dead?

One response to “Ray LaHood’s blog

  1. Actually, I think the law was passed so that cycling advocates could claim to be doing something.

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