Jocelyn's Other Desk

The writings of Jocelyn Smith, aspiring author, soon-to-be lawyer, once and future politician, all-around opinionated twentysomething.

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Location: Orlando, Florida, United States

I'm a lawyer in Florida, working on three novels, a screenplay, and half a dozen pieces of fanfiction at any given moment.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Road Rage

Elderly Man Drives 3 Miles With Body In Windshield

Swell. Another "poor little old man who enjoyed driving" who nobody had the "heart" to remove his driver's license.

As many of my Blog sparring partners like to remind me, I am a young woman. I don't mind being young--it gives me an empathy for the situations of teenagers with the judgment of an adult. As a teenager, I took often-vocal issue with the stigma of carelessness and semi-inhumanity surrounding my age group. (My "teen rebellion" involved a lot of bad poetry.)

The crux of the hypocrisy, in my view then and now, was that actions for which teenagers are lambasted in the press, hounded by politicians, and thrown into jail in order to make an "example for our youth" receive next to no attention in any other age group.

Within the past two years, elderly drivers have taken out dozens of people by slamming their vehicles into farmer's markets and sidewalks because they "hit the accelerator instead of the brake, poor old dears..." etc. As in this new case, the elderly driver receives next to no sanctions.

Traffic Homicide Investigator Jockers said, "That was the one thing he had, to get in his car and just drive for the sheer enjoyment of driving."


Boo-frickin'-hoo. Tell that to the victim's family when they ask why the person who ran over their relative isn't being charged?

Would such a sob story ever hold water for a 16-year-old, an 18-year-old? Of course not. The press would scream for that "reckless" driver's blood. The driver would spend the rest of his life in prison. Reforms would be demanded to make driving standards for teens and beginning drivers much more stringent.

As well they should if a particular age group is shown to be higher risk. But why this coddling of elderly drivers? "Age discrimination" nothing--if an individual is no longer competent to drive, then they're no longer competent, and a danger to everyone else on the road.

10 Comments:

Blogger Claire said...

Parker was not likely to face charges because he did not appear to know what happened or where he was, said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant in the Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney's Office.

Sounds like if they'd removed his license, he still would have driven. Poor Guy. Poor Dead Guy on the windshield.

An interesting aside:

Apparently age 16 to 18 is a TERRIBLE time to give a kid a driver's license. I'd have to go look it up, but apparently, their brain and their bodies go through some serious development during that time and the brain can't keepup with the body development, so their reaction time and attention span is poor. I'll go find an article on it. I found that interesting from a number of angles - from allowing kids to drive to sticking them behind a machine gun at age 18.

Also found out that girls could marry at 12 and boys at 14 in medieval England.

This is random - I really do have work to do. Now I have to prove to YOU I'm a human also.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Found some. Thought I'd have to look all over for it, but apparently this made a buzz some months back. Found a bunch of links. Realized I knew some of the people being quoted in some of them!

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-03-02-teens-cars-main-usat_x.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52687-2005Jan31?language=printer

http://www.bridges4kids.org/articles/2-05/Post2-1-05.html

The quote from this last article cracked me up:

While society and tradition have placed the point of intellectual maturity, the "age of reason," years earlier, the study -- an international effort led by NIH's Institute of Mental Health and UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging -- shows it comes at about age 25.

The process is generally completed a year or two earlier in women but varies greatly from person to person. Why that is, Giedd said, "we still don't know.


I've always said people shouldn't be issued a marriage license until they were at least 25. I've also said for a couple of decades...since I was about that age that the years between 18 and 25 are times of profound change in a person. Often what a person thinks or believes at 18 changes by age 25 and that is why so many younger marriages fail.

Man. I have to get off my soapbox or I'll be back to saying that the age of majority should be raised back to 21 and kids from 18 to 21 shouldn't be allowed to serve in the armed services...

Off to prove I'm a human again.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

OH - by the way - reference the demented guy with the driver's license. Agreed. People should have to periodically perform cognitive and physical tests to ensure their capability to drive. This should be done at regular intervals - every 5 to 10 years and more often at younger and at older ages.

Interestingly - after 25 years old and after 30 years old car insurance rates go down. I wonder if it has anything to do with that 'they are really still developing' stuff because the stats bear out that younger drivers are unsafe. After say...50 or 55 years old - the cognitive tests should be give more frequently - at least every five years. maybe every 2 to 3 years after age 70.

Anyway - since I'm a mom, I know that I'm a maniac about driving carefully. That distinguishes me from all the other moms yapping on their cell phones while they pilot their big SUV boats through traffic. I pilot a boat also, but I stay off the phone in general and I'm a lot more careful about making turns and changing lanes - especially with the kids in the car.

I also hate chauffeuring other people's kids because I'm aware of the enormous responsibility, plus, I hate letting other people chauffeur my kids.

Must go - have to order more styrofoam to wrap around everybody I care about. (smile)

Oh wait - I had a point - I wonder what the statistics say about people with kids vs. people without kids. This has nothing to do with being childfree or not - I just think it would be interesting to see what the stats are regarding people with different types of professions, or different types of lifestyles or family makeups. It wouldn't be to tell somebody - hey, YOU, go get married and have kids! or YOU - get a a real job! I don't care if people get married, have kids, don't have kids. Man! nobody should get married and have kids who doesn't want them. That's right up there under other idiotic things to do with one's time - like standing outside in hurricane force winds to report on how strong the wind is.

Um, Jocelyn - I think I had too much coffee this morning. talk later.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

By the way - your enthusiasm is fun to watch. Jefferson was only about 30 years old when he drafted the constitution.

The reason I spar with you is because I think that not all revolutions are worth fighting or winning.

Yikes! Claire...SHUT UP!

1:34 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn Smith said...

Wow, somebody's prolific this afternoon! :-) I'll address it all in one post, if you don't mind. :-P

Also found out that girls could marry at 12 and boys at 14 in medieval England.

Are you kidding? Girls could marry at 12 here in certain parts of the US up until the 1940s! (Will track down those laws when my favorite DumbLaw site comes back up from its latest hack.)

I've always said people shouldn't be issued a marriage license until they were at least 25. I've also said for a couple of decades...since I was about that age that the years between 18 and 25 are times of profound change in a person. Often what a person thinks or believes at 18 changes by age 25 and that is why so many younger marriages fail.

Could be, although on the whole, statistics have shown that people are marrying older nowadays (or at least there are fewer young marriages) than even 20 years ago. My folks married quite young, 21 for Mum, but they'd been together for several years.

I would be all for frequent testing and re-testing of young drivers, while I do think that Driver Education can stay at age 16. Some system where a certain number of tests are required while keeping a teen in "Student Driver" status, and anytime a test is failed or the kid gets in a citation, the probation period gets extended to make it that much longer until they are eligible for an unrestricted license.

I wonder what the statistics say about people with kids vs. people without kids.

Good question. Some are of the opinion that having a family makes drivers more responsible, but some of the craziest maniacs on the road I've ever seen have had "Baby On Board" signs. Then again, I grew up in Fratboy Central, so I'm well aware of the shortcomings of my own age group.

Man! nobody should get married and have kids who doesn't want them.

Glad you think so! ;-) Especially since, as you know, I'm a Childfree (not one of the more psycho ones, but I know myself well enough to know I would be a lousy mother.)

do with one's time - like standing outside in hurricane force winds to report on how strong the wind is.

Actually, I've always wanted to do that! Florida WOULD get all those storms AFTER I've moved away! *glares Southward*

By the way - your enthusiasm is fun to watch. Jefferson was only about 30 years old when he drafted the constitution.

*Blush* Thank you! You should have seen me five years ago--I was quite the mouthy, obnoxious brat. Nobody had an opinion better (or louder) than me, I was one of those College Freshmen at Protest Rallies. I've cooled off a little bit in my old age (joking), but still, I have a fine-tuned Hypocrisy and Injustice Meter, and I'll sound off about it on occasion.

Yikes! Claire...SHUT UP!

No need! :-) I enjoy sparring with YOU because you're articulate enough to make me THINK about my own points, and you defend yours without resorting to name-calling and lame insults like some *cough*LeeGoldbergandco*cough* people.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Glad you think so! ;-) Especially since, as you know, I'm a Childfree (not one of the more psycho ones, but I know myself well enough to know I would be a lousy mother.)

I've always thought that way about marriage and age. I married later than average (for my peer group...my parents have well over 50 years together, by the way, so I know what a good marriage looks like - in fact, I have one.), and I had my kids when I was downright old after a lot of years of marriage. At your age, I thought I'd be a lousy mom also. Couldn't stand the rugrats. Never would have moaned and groaned about it on a place like Childfree. For me, that comes under the heading of 'would you shout it on a streetcorner...'

Childfree hits me as a place with a lot of whiny teenagers, whiny twenty-somethings, whiny thirty-somethings and whiny forty-somethings. It's good they don't have or want kids because they are a scary and immature bunch. (hope that doesn't count as name-calling, on the judgmental meter, those folks and their cousins, the cf-hardcore folks, are off the charts).

Okay, where was I going with this? think think think...

Oh yeah - I thought I'd be a lousy mom at 25 and I didn't like kids. Things change. People change. But things really do change.

Anyway, advantage of being a young mom:

Energy to deal with the kids.

Advantage of being an old mom:

Maturity to deal with the kids.

Life's a tradeoff. Being older means I can afford to feed them and can offer them advantages younger parents probably can't. Yeah, yeah, higher risk of birth defects, (bad politically incorrect me). And my body never snapped back to shape. I'm old enough not to care so much. The kids far outweigh any vanity over how I look in a bathing suit. Age has that effect also.

I'm definitely killing the caffeine. back to work.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Skrike said...

I'm definitely killing the caffeine

*Hands Claire valium*

I think you're working too hard lately.

Now then, Jocelyn. They can have my driver's license when they pry it from my cold dead hand. Or, in this case, from the cold dead hand of the victim on my windshield.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Skrike said...

Jefferson was only about 30 years old when he drafted the constitution.

And that was the Declaration of Independence, darling.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Jae said...

They can have my driver's license when they pry it from my cold dead hand. Or, in this case, from the cold dead hand of the victim on my windshield.

We want your babies, Skrike! After we wipe the remains of our mimosa off the keyboard.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Mabel said...

THAT GUY? Seriously? Scared the beejezus out of me. I live about 10 minutes from this. Florida drivers are HORRID. And OLD. And BLIND.

4:42 PM  

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