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The Enforcement of the Rules of the Road

Nature volume 140, page 580 (02 October 1937) | Download Citation



SUGGESTIONS made by Dr. H. C. Dickinson, the chairman of the Highway Research Board of the U.S.A., are the subject of a recent report issued by Science Service. Traffic experts to-day are aiming at simplifying the traffic rules and reducing their number so far as possible. Dr. Dickinson has reduced them to four. The first is to keep to your own lane of traffic with only two thoughts in mind, namely, to watch the car ahead and to warn the car behind you whenever you do anything which changes your movement in your own traffic lane. Secondly, to realize that you have no right to cross or turn into another traffic lane. Thirdly, to give a clear signal, or indicate by the motion of your car, whenever you change from your own traffic lane. Finally, never exceed a speed at which the car cannot be stopped without interfering with other traffic in the lane. When an accident causes personal injury or damage to a car—other than fenders or bumpers—it should be obligatory for both parties to attend the action in court. In personal injury cases, the permits of all the drivers involved should be suspended pending the hearing, and the permit of innocent drivers, if any, could then be restored. Dr. Dickinson makes the novel suggestion that when an accident has nearly occurred and has only been prevented by the quick-wittedness of one of the actors, regulations should be used which would enable 'enforcing' officers to issue 'tickets' to drivers endangering other drivers or pedestrians. The charge he suggests is that of 'creating a public danger', and the penalty a small fine or dismissal on probation. Repeated offences could be dealt with more severely. The object of the proposal is to make it very unpleasant for anyone who puts another person in jeopardy even although no harm results.

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