‘Little things’ in traffic laws do matter for safety

In a recent commentary, Everett City Council member Liz Vogeli urges support for House Bill 1513 which, she writes “limits law enforcement officers from stopping drivers for low-risk issues such as expired tabs, a broken taillight or other equipment-related reasons”, and “also requires officers to have written consent before searching a vehicle and restricts irrelevant questioning during stops” (Traffic bill will put emphasis on safety hazards,” The Herald, Feb. 18).

I must point out that “big things” are always made of “little things” and the driver that doesn’t comply with state laws requiring all vehicles to have functioning taillights, current tabs, front license plates affixed to the front bumper, or other “equipment-related” deficiencies is breaking the law and needs to have it pointed out, along with any penalties being levied for said condition(s). Drivers who routinely drive without functioning lights, expired tabs, no license plates, etc., are more prone to break other laws such as speeding, running red lights, not paying toll fees, etc., because “they didn’t stop me for (x) so how far I can go before they do stop me?” They need to have their scofflaw attitude retuned.

And why are we treating law enforcement officers like little children by proposing this kind of junk legislation? Don’t law enforcement officers have brains and can’t they make the decision to either stop this person for expired or no tabs? When police stop drivers for these “little things” it sends the message that “we are watching everything” and might deter these scofflaws from escalating their behavior into something really serious.

And yes, years ago I was stopped for having a burned-out brake light. I was thankful because spending the couple dollars for the bulb was a whole lot cheaper than a couple thousand for a possible accident repair.

Fabian Borowiecki


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