Enforcing turn signal laws can reap rewards of justice


By Al Vinikour   

Occasionally I read something that gives me such a tingle that it almost feels like it should be illegal. A friend of mine who is basically as twisted as I am sent me a list of recent mug shots and charges against some of the “finer” citizens of the Windy City.

I was flipping through the 200+ photos and saw the mug shot of former Governor Rod Blagojevich. No, that wasn’t the tingle-causer. About 30-40 shots after that came the mother of all vindication for a subject that’s near and dear to my heart — unused turn signals.

Seems that the Chicago police stopped a guy for failure to use his turn signals within 100 feet of a turn. But wait…it gets better. In running his license and registration they discovered there was a warrant out for this bad man in connection with a murder committed in 2008. I haven’t felt this good since I read that my high school’s bully had been run over by a road grader as he lay passed out drunk on a dark country road that was in the process of being paved.

I have belly-ached for years about how more can be done to ensure public safety by having police stop someone for failure to use turn signals than setting up some chicken-crap speed trap and issuing tickets for those driving 5-9 mph over the limit…but “giving the driver a deal” by changing the charges to “impeding traffic” which still carries a fine of about $150…but doesn’t show up as points on a driver’s license. I generally come down on the side of the police so I’m going to attribute this scam to something a revenue-hungry mayor and town council have foisted on the cop shop.

There are so many things I’d like to see happen to drivers who cause bodily harm or worse to people. It’s not just the damage done to one person — or even a car full of individuals; rather, it’s the grief and pain suffered by families for generations to come — and the lost future twigs of the family tree. But, I digress.

Back to this killer who was so stupid as to garner the attention of the cops by not using turn signals — even though this is probably the least-upheld statute in the State Department of Motor Vehicles’ playbook. If this happened once and a two-year-old murder case was solved as a result of it imagine how many other cold cases could be just as easily solved by stopping miscreant drivers for a simple traffic infraction?

No, I’m not advocating maintaining those damned speed traps. They do nothing for the community, nothing for the drivers…but everything for the insurance companies. Nothing destroys goodwill faster than a bushwhacking by a zealous municipality.

Oh, sure, a cynic may think that even though a traffic violation resulted in a resolution of justice…the town still won’t have collected the fine for failure to use turn signals. So let’s get this straight, Mr. A. H. Cynic; for forfeiture of a $75 fine a murderer has been removed from society…and even better, a family has finally achieved closure over the death of a loved one.

So to coin a phrase that should be standard reading at all police shift calls, “Good things come to those who enforce.”