Thursday, September 18, 2014


Let me preface this by saying one third of my working career was working with or for law enforcement. The other day while driving I was at the Lewiston side of the L/A line and a Lewiston cruiser pulled out and got behind me. I proceeded through Auburn and into Minot and traveled further north into Oxford county.

I decided to “test” this officer something I have done many times, I timed lights and following distances so that two of the five lights during my flight of fancy the officer should have been able to stop for the light changing to red safely. I also during this whole encounter I stayed well above the posted limit but within the flow of traffic.

Here are the results, The officer crossed into not one but two towns out of his jurisdiction finally turning into a residential road in Minot (This was a k-9 unit and it is common practice to allow these units to be taken home, the dogs live with there officer). He would have given a citizen two tickets for running red lights, three speeding violations including one for 20 mph in a 15mph school zone (complete with strobe lights and crosswalk guard).

One might read this article and think “Well he was probably on his way to a call for service” or “The officer was on his way home”. These could very well be valid statements however, Emergency response vehicles must adhere to the same laws of the road as you or I.

 Even in an emergency response the lights and siren must be used and the driver is still responsible to clear intersections and proceed safely just as you should pull to right when it can be done safely. How many times have you been passed by a police vehicle without lights and sirens well above the posted limit?

Now ask yourself if you could drive faster than the posted limit while still maintaining a personally acceptable margin of safety would you? And in fact don't you?

T. Barry
contributor at large