Friday, June 15, 2007

Dangerous Driving in Algonquin

Have you driven on Route 31 through the intersection in Algonquin at Route 62? Or should I ask - - Have you joined the rolling parking lot at that corner?

The roadway is absolutely over-used, but is this an excuse for drivers to disregard lane markings and drive down the center of the road to enter the left-turn lane at the light?

Yesterday I photographed more than 30 drivers in 10 minutes who violated traffic laws by driving into the center of the roadway. They violated center lane restrictions, drove straight through intersections, drove the wrong way in oncoming left-turn lanes.

Pity the poor, law-abiding driver to sticks it out in the through lane until he reaches the legal entrance to the left-turn lane and then cannot get over into the left-turn lane, because there is a four-block line of cars already there. At least they are stopped.

The Algonquin Police Department is a team of fine officers and they are stretched thin, just like every other department. But why do they tolerance these daily violations?

I have suggested that the Village of Algonquin and IDOT work together to provide better signing on Route 31. Install signs that warn drivers to “Stay Right” and not to use the center lane illegally.

I’d like to see the cops write tickets to the violators right where they are – stopped right in the illegal part of the roadway. And document the violation with a photograph. Iif a judge saw a photograph of a driver stopped facing the wrong way in a left-turn lane and the officer writing him a ticket, how could he not convict? And then the judge should assess a fine, court costs and traffic school and NOT grant Court Supervision.

How do we get judges to wake up and realize that Court Supervision looks very much like a get-out-of-jail-almost-free card? The chance of a violator’s getting stopped is very low in the first place; getting stopped twice in 90 days is even lower.

There are many other intersections like this. Say, for example, on Rakow Road at Pyott and at Pingree Roads. There, you must be really careful because of the jerks in their huge pick-up trucks who come roaring up the middle of the road at 30-40MPH past a long line of stopped cars at a red light.

Or right here in Woodstock on Route 47, where drivers cruise up the middle of the two-way left-turn lane past lines of stopped cars to enter the left turn lane at the light.

To police departments these violations look minor, because there aren’t many accidents or fatalities. At least, there aren’t at these locations. But what do drivers learn? That they can ignore the laws. And this attitude causes accidents elsewhere.

Watch those yellow lines…

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