Opinions R Us

Waiting for something to happen in my life, significant enough to post about, isn’t working for me. Posting once a month is not helping to make me rich and famous.

I’ve decided to start posting my response and opinions to things I hear on the news. The items won’t all be related to trucking but they will always have enough of an effect on me to cause me to have an opinion.

Keep in mind this is only my opinion. Readers are entitled to agree or disagree and welcome to post your comments accordingly. Just don’t call me an idiot and we’ll all get along fine.

So. Here goes the first one.

This past week CBC news reported that police stopped a 20 year man in Montreal who was driving 240 kph in a 70 km zone.

He was given a $2600 dollar fine, 42 demerit points, his license immediately suspended for 7 days and the car towed and impounded.

The car was not his but was not stolen, and he hadn’t been drinking.

240 kph is 4 kilometers per minute. My first question is where did he find a long enough stretch of road in the province of Quebec to attain that speed without killing himself or someone else instantly, especially in winter?

Even the Trans Canada Highway in Quebec is rough enough to inflict permanent kidney and vehicular damage.

Secondly, if not his car, whose was it? If it belonged to a friend are they still friends and will that friend ever loan him the car again? I know I wouldn’t.

Police would neither confirm nor deny that the young driver was employed as a parking valet for a nearby hotel. If such was the case the vehicle likely belonged to a patron of the hotel. Had it been mine I would have sued both the driver and the hotel.

This story is a little shocking but it certainly doesn’t surprise me. As a trucker who covers in excess of 200,000 kms a year it has become evident to me at least that speeding in North America is now the norm.

In my estimation only one in 10 drivers obey the posted speed limit and that estimate may still be too high.

I very rarely exceed the speed limit myself more than 5 kph but when I got a ticket in Calgary last summer for 100 kph in an 80 km zone the majority of cars on the road were passing me like I was standing still. The cop admitted if I had been driving a car he wouldn’t have stopped me.

Getting back to the young speed demon in Montreal. The police obviously administered a roadside breathalyzer test since they established that he wasn’t drinking. In my opinion its just too bad there isn’t a roadside test for stupid.

Smart Cars?

I assume when they named the Smart Car they were referring to the technology involved which allowed low energy consumption and economy.

I say that because “smart” certainly doesn’t describe most of the owners and drivers of these weather proof golf carts.

From what I’ve read, the Smart Car was designed for city driving. I cringe whenever I see some fool booting down the freeway at 110 kph, tailgating big trucks and darting in and out across 6 lanes of traffic. I can only assume these people have a death wish or are just totally oblivious to the danger.

The Smart Car is touted as the most fuel efficient car available in North America today. That may be true but at what cost? The price ranges between $16,000 and $20,000 in Canada for a 2 seater that is little more than two motorcycles tied together in a shell.

The Smart Car boasts fuel mileage of 46.3 mpg city and 68.9 mpg highway. But, only two passengers and maybe a bag of groceries.

Twenty years ago we owned a 1988 Pontiac Firefly that would carry 5 adults and a dozen bags of groceries and consistently got 60 mpg. Even though it weighed 2000 lbs plus payload we drove it sensibly and gave big trucks a wide berth.

At 1609 lbs the Smart Car doesn’t weigh as much as the tires on my rig and displaces only half the volume of those tires, yet many of these Smart Car fools drive like they’re at Taladaga.

Of course many people drive like idiots regardless of what kind of car they drive, but given the fact these cars score only 3 out of 5 on collision tests you would think the drivers would be a little smarter in how they drive them.