If we were to define “Following Too Closely” as being at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you in dry weather (ten seconds behind in wet or icy weather), then increase the penalty and enforcement for infractions, what would happen?
Currently, in New York State, the penalty for ‘Following Too Closely‘ is: 4 points on a driver’s license, a $235 fine, and a possible insurance rate increase. The ‘safe distance’ that a driver must maintain is subjective and undefined, leaving it up to the driver, and to the ticketing officer completely to determine what is safe, and what warrants a ticket.
This offense is one of the major causes of accidents. Feel free to Google that, or take my word for it because I drive several hours every day. I find that while obeying this rule, not only do I never come close to rear-ending anyone, I also ‘loosen’ up the traffic pattern. Leaving extra distance in front of me, I allow many people to go in front of me. I avoid over usage of my brakes and it’s less stressful. Speeding up, only to get closer to a pack of cars in front of me, gets me nowhere faster.
Here’s what I think would happen:
- Fewer accidents, injuries, life lost, traffic, and insurance claims.
- More tickets written, especially at first. Much-needed revenue for the state.
- Some people would lose their licenses for repeat offenses. I would not cry.
- Some people would complain vehemently. I would refer them to the first bullet point.