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Hollister
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August 17, 2022

Letter to the editor: Bring back driver’s education

I don’t know if Hollister is worse or better than other parts of the country, but one thing is for sure, we need serious improvement. The sheer volume of people failing to stop at stop signs, not slowing down for pedestrians, and in general exhibiting dangerous and illegal driving behaviors is completely out of control. Having survived two near misses just last week, I felt it necessary to write something. 

There are several intersections in Hollister where people are failing to stop, but the three I notice most are:

– The three-way stop at the corner of San Benito Street and River Parkway by the new swimming pool. People not only fail to stop here, but many drive through at high speed without even slowing down. 

– The three-way stop at Nash road and River Parkway. Many people just blow right through that stop sign, while driving on Nash without even bothering to slow down. 

– The 2 and ½ way stop at the intersection of South and West streets. Many people coming up the hill drive right through without slowing down, and many people come off of South street and go across without stopping. 

No doubt there are a few of these people who may not have seen or realized there is a stop sign or just “made a mistake.” At one time or another we have all made them, but the vast majority of these people are deliberately, disrespectfully, illegally and just plain arrogantly running these and other stop signs. 

Driving is not a constitutional right, it is a privilege that can be revoked for many reasons. Law enforcement is trying, but we as drivers need to understand that a stop sign is not optional. I think there are five reasons why people are doing this now. 

First: As a society many people have lost sight of the collective good, and are focused on individual desires, and their own self interest—in other words their life is more important than yours. Second: “It’s only illegal if you get caught.” Basically if no one sees me run the stop sign I didn’t do anything wrong. Third: The continued push from the political left that there are no moral absolutes. Everything is negotiable, and as a result of that rules and laws don’t apply to me. Fourth: The change from standard transmissions to automatics. When you had to shift gears it kept your head in the game driving, and it took skill and talent to drive, now you can drive without any real talent or skill. And fifth, the decision about 20 years ago from the state and local school boards to stop funding drivers education and drivers training in the public school system. In my lifetime, this might be the worst decision ever made. 

For everyone my age or older, getting a driver’s license at age 16 was a “right of passage.” Many people “shaped up” in order to get a license. It represented freedom, independence, responsibility and a clear transition to being an adult. We took classroom driver’s ed and learned all the “rules of the road”—one of which was that you stop at a stop sign or a red light. 

We were then taught to drive by a credentialed driving teacher, (usually a coach, and I would argue who better to teach a physical skill), you then took a written test and went to the DMV under pressure and took a driving test. Yes we were nervous, yes we were scared, yes some people failed the first time, but we found a way and did it. The vast majority of people got a license and drove well. 

Now, less than 25% of 16 year olds get a license, what an embarrassment. No wonder so many kids have no self confidence or self esteem, no wonder when they face real challenges they are not as resilient as we would like. 

I would suggest to the board of trustees of the high school that even without state funding they bring back drivers education and drivers training. Any financial costs would be made up in safer roads, better drivers and a generation of kids who will be mentally tougher. 

Randy Logue

Hollister

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