Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 01:25 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
[Note MD stats: 2.3 million drive to work and average 631 traffic fatalities a year.]
Legislators need to update the way Oregonians get -- and keep -- their driver's licenses
More than 3 million Oregonians are licensed to use a deadly weapon.
Most of them use it every day: their automobile.
The casualty count -- about 450 highway deaths each year -- is considerable. But beyond grief and suffering, traffic accidents, including the most minor, carry a secondary -- and enormous -- social cost.
They cause congestion -- worsening pollution and wasting precious fossil fuels. That then prompts ever greater investment in ever more infrastructure in an effort to keep things moving. Meanwhile, the simple truth remains that if everyone in Oregon drove properly, there would not be a capacity problem on any of our highways.
It's time now for Oregon to take far more seriously the business of licensing people to drive. The current system is broken.
As for taking the test, sure there's a written exam. Cramming for it takes all of 12 minutes. Then there's that brief spell behind the wheel during which you go nowhere near a freeway or need to parallel park.
And once you snag a license, it's pretty much yours for life.
The next step is for legislators to thoroughly revamp the ways in which Oregon drivers get -- and keep -- their licenses. It makes absolutely no sense that we continue to spend billions on expanding Oregon's transportation infrastructure -- and next to nothing on teaching Oregonians how to use it.