You have learned about a number of drugs today. As you have learned, using these drugs can have serious effects on your body and if you continue to abuse them, they can be extremely dangerous and in many cases deadly. It is important to keep in mind that taking drugs and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is much like playing Russian Roulette, but instead of a revolver, you’re using about two tons of steel as your weapon. You not only risk your life, but the lives of other innocent drivers and pedestrians as well. Do you know what all of the following people have in common?
- Elvis Presley
- Jimi Hendrix
- Janis Joplin
- Chris Farley
- John Belushi
All have died from an overdose of drugs and/or alcohol.
SUMMARY OF THE COURSE
The following is a brief summary of what has been covered in the course. This review will bring into focus some of the important issues you should have learned today.
Driving has been established by the Supreme Court as a privilege that can be refused, suspended or revoked, if there is a cause. Retaining the privilege means that traffic laws must be obeyed and obligations fulfilled that govern use of that license.
UNSAFE DRIVERS AND POINT SYSTEM
In Maryland, we have the point system, which is one way for determining who the unsafe drivers are. If you should accumulate 8 points within two years, the department shall mail a letter informing you that your privilege has been suspended. If 12 points are accumulated, a letter shall inform you of your privilege being revoked.
PERMANENT AND PUBLIC RECORD
A driving record is permanent. The violations on it will never be erased until three years after your death. Under the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), effective July 1, 2000, all Maryland driving records will be private. You do have the right to contact MVA to have your record made public.
DRIVER’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR LEARNING LAWS
It’s each driver’s responsibility to take the initiative for learning and obeying the motor vehicle laws. Drivers are dependent on each other, so these rules of the road should be followed. When the rules are broken, this creates most problems that lead to accidents or injuries.
Remember that all motor vehicle laws apply to private property that is used by the general public.
DEALING WITH HAZARDS
There are four helpful steps which should be followed for prevention of accidents:
learn to identify different hazards,
predict several escape movements,
decide which would be the safest, and
then execute your decision.
These steps are important for preventing accidents, since the driver will be better prepared mentally and physically to cope with most situations. Most accidents are the result of errors in the driver’s judgment and these steps should help minimize these errors.
There is nothing within the law that provides for exceeding the posted speed limit. You are not permitted to exceed the posted speed limit for any reason, and when hazardous conditions exist, the speed must be reasonable or prudent.
There are three main types of highways: the ordinary highway has opposing traffic on the same roadway, and the only thing that separates this traffic, if any, is a painted line; a dual or divided highway actually has opposing traffic on two separate highways, and is separated by some physical construction. But remember, there are intersections, breaks in the median, all kinds of traffic controls, etc.; an expressway is similar to a dual highway except there is no interruption in the movement of traffic and the traffic must enter and exit by means of a ramp.
STOPPING DISTANCE AND DISTANCE BETWEEN MOVING VEHICLES
Reaction time is very critical for determining the stopping distance. Your total stopping distance can be estimated by multiplying the total speed by the first figure of that speed. The average distance between moving vehicles should be approximately one car length for every 10 miles per hour.
When involved in a skid, determine in which direction the rear of the vehicle is skidding, then counter steer (turn the front wheels in the same direction) to bring the vehicle under control again.
The important thing about seat belts is that they restrain you to the driver’s seat, keeping you behind the steering wheel, which may help to regain control of the movement of the vehicle and hopefully keep you from continuing forward. Remember, without a seat belt, you will continue to travel at the same speed the vehicle was traveling before it struck a fixed object.
BICYCLES AND MOTORCYCLES
All bicyclists and motorcyclists must obey all motor vehicle laws including special laws that apply to these vehicles. Drivers of these vehicles have less protection, and therefore must take extra safety precautions when driving.
If involved in an accident it will be necessary to file an accident report within 15 days of the date of the accident if the accident results in death or personal injury to any one person. An exception would be when a police officer investigates the accident and files a report.
CARDS THAT MUST BE CARRIED
When driving a vehicle, you must have with you the drivers license and registration card for the vehicle, and they must be surrendered upon request of a police officer or the driver(s) or injured persons of another vehicle with which you had an accident.
Failing to stop when someone is killed or injured would result in a revocation of the driving privilege. When there is property damage only, this would result in a suspension.
If attempting to make a turn, you must first yield to the oncoming traffic. If making a left turn, use the left-most lane available traveling in your direction and use the left most available lane on the roadway being entered." "
You must dim your headlights from high beam to low beam when a vehicle is approaching within 500 feet and 300 feet when approaching to the rear of any vehicle.
If another vehicle continues with their high beams which are blinding, look slightly to the right away from the blinding headlights.
When hearing or seeing an emergency vehicle approaching, all vehicles must pull parallel to the edge or curb of the highway and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.
If a pedestrian is crossing the roadway at an intersection, the driver of any vehicle shall yield to that pedestrian.
At an uncontrolled intersection where two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, the driver on the left shall yield the right of way, and the driver on the right shall have the right-of-way.
When a school vehicle is stopped or in the process of stopping, with alternating flashing lights engaged, all traffic shall stop at least 20 feet to the front and rear of that vehicle.
DRINKING AND DRIVING
Any person who drives or attempts to drive on a highway, or any private property that is used by the public in general in this State, is deemed to have consented to take a test to determine the alcohol concentration of the person's body. Upon receipt of a certified statement by the detaining officer that the driver refused to take a test for alcohol or was tested which resulted in an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, the Motor Vehicle Administration shall suspend the driver’s license or driving privilege in Maryland for:
A refusal: 120 days for a first offense and one year for a second or subsequent offense. In addition, if the person was operating a commercial motor vehicle, the commercial driver's license or commercial driving privilege will be disqualified for 1 year for a first offense, 3 years for a first offense while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, and disqualified for life for a second or subsequent offense while operating any commercial motor vehicle.
Test Results of 0.08 Alcohol Concentration or More:
45 days for a first offense and 90 days for a second or subsequent offense.
DRUGS AND DRIVING
Drugs, legal and illegal, can affect the way you operate a motor vehicle. Marijuana may influence your ability to think or drive for several hours after the "high" has passed.
Amphetamines can cause the inability to concentrate, anxiety, confusion, blurred vision tremors or even hallucinations.
Crack use may develop cocaine psychosis, a condition which includes visual, auditory and other sensory hallucinations.
Using drugs can have a serious effect on your body and it is important to keep in mind that taking drugs and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can be deadly.
OFFICER HAS PRECEDENCE OVER SIGNALS AND SIGNS
A police officer has precedence over any type of control existing at that time; a lighted signal would take precedence over a sign; and last of all, a sign would have control.
A flashing red signal light should be treated with the same procedures that apply to a stop sign, stopping and proceeding when it’s safe to do so.
A flashing yellow signal light should be approached with caution at a slower rate of speed than is posted.
LINES AND PASSING
Whenever there are solid lines on the roadway, separating traffic, these lines cannot be crossed for any reason, except for making a left turn. Broken lines permit the driver to pass when it is safe to do so. If a combination of lines exist, then the driver must obey the one on his side. Yellow lines separate opposing traffic. White lines separate traffic moving in one direction.
There is, under the new international system, a set of lines marking off a lane that is to be used by traffic in both directions for making left turns.