Old story, but in 2007 I was involved in a traffic accident on the I-95-I-695 ramp in Baltimore. Traffic went from the speed limit (55mph) to a dead stop around the curve of the exit in a space of 500 feet, AND it had just started raining. I and my Honda Accord managed to stop literal inches from the person in front of me's bumper. I had enough time to have half a sigh of relief before I was rear ended so hard that the can of tea in my waist-level console cupholder wound up splattered all over the the windshield.
I get out of the car and the person who hit me is literally crying blood. She's driving a Saturn that is at least a decade old and the ancient airbag broke her nose and blacked both of her eyes. She's also crying for real, because this is her only transportation. I go "Fuck," grab an umbrella out of my now weirdly shaped backseat, and hold it over her while she sobs, explains her brakes had been locking up lately and she was literally on her way to the mechanic's, and tries to text her boyfriend to pick her up. She's crying so hard that she drops her phone twice.
And then a cop shows up.
Baltimore cops are bastards, so he writes this girl a ticket about "failure to control speed to avoid an accident" and "reckless endangerment" and half a dozen other bullshit things to where the ticket would literally cost more than a new car and she might get her license revoked and/or jail time. She's hysterical. I talk to her, reassure her it's not her fault, and manage to swap insurance info.
Fast forward two months. I had mild whiplash, but I'm healed up and mostly good regarding the accident. Have a new car and everything. I get a notice in the mail that I am requested to be a witness for this poor girl's trial for her ticket - don't have to show, but it'd be nice.
Fuck if I'm gonna let that cop roast her - I was asked, to I'm taking a day off work to show up.
I turn up in court dressed in my civil servant best (was working for the state government at the time, so however staid you imagine, multiply it by three), and even toss on some makeup to impress the judge. I wait three hours for her hearing, because hell if I'm gonna accidentally be late. The cop goes first, making up a bunch of bullshit about how recklessly she was driving to have hit me in an accident he was probably ten miles away from witnessing from his response time.
Then the judge calls me, and I stand up. Cop looks this weird combo of surprisedpikachu.jpg and pissed - like he didn't expect me to show. Poor girl was already crying and starts crying more.
So I get to the stand, get sworn in, and tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
So I day that we were going exactly the speed limit - I know, because I checked my speedometer in surprise that there wasn't more traffic. That she was following a proper distance behind me, because I'd checked my rear view mirror and she was a ways off. That it had just started raining after a dry week, so the road was greasy as fuck and I knew that because I'd almost slid into the car in front of me, only saved by my car's ABS. That her wheels had locked because I'd heard the screech and seen the skidmarks, and that she definitely wasn't at fault because she was on her way to get her car's old-ass ABS fixed. And I mention that the cop didn't show up until twenty minutes later.
I know this sounds like an "and everyone clapped!" moment, but the judge did thank me for doing my civic duty and turning up. And I got a quick hug from the poor girl after the judge dismissed her charges.
Anyway, Baltimore cops are bastards and if you can turn up in court to fight a traffic ticket (even someone else's), you should do so.
It's 2021. Seatbelts & airbags have been standard safety equipment, for decades.
Automobile manufacturers are investing billions of dollars in "self-driving" technology, but they are ignoring relatively inexpensive and proven technology that could make their vehicles safer for all drivers, today.
I am talking about dash cams/crash recorders, as standard, required safety equipment.
Adding two cams and a data recorder that continuously records a 1-hour loop would add minimal cost to a new vehicle. This data would be useful for insurers, who should be the main force behind advancing legislation that would make this possible, as well as consumers, law enforcement and the manufacturers, themselves.
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