Why Allowing No Front Licence Plates is Madness

In many American states and Canadian provinces it seems to be a growing trend that vehicles no longer need to have front licence plates, but from the perspective of serious crimes this is madness.

Here just a parked car, but imagine you were a police officer on your way to the scene of a violent robbery and you had a licence pale number for the criminals. This car is coming towards you and you have no chance of seeing its number. Maybe there’s even a kidnapped woman or child in the vehicle, in mortal danger. Some people think that having the front of the car “prettier,” without a license plate is more important, though! (Copyright image, 2017.)

Highway patrol policing never has been just about speeding and other traffic misdemeanors. The interception of criminals, often dangerous individuals, has always been a major role of such law enforcement officers.

Politicians who’ve never got their hands dirty or been close to anyone’s grief over a raped daughter or a murdered child think that there’s no need for front license plates.

Now imagine that you are a police officer on your way to a scene where a woman has been kidnapped by a known stalker who has violently attacked her in the past and is now breaching probation and a court order by going near her. Or maybe a known pedophile has kidnapped a child.

You have only a color for the vehicle but you do have a license plate number. However, many of the cars coming towards you have no front plate!

Why? Because politicians who’ve never got their hands dirty or been close to anyone’s grief over a raped daughter or a murdered child think that there’s no need for front license plates.

Yet these things very obviously do happen…. far too often!

And what about amber alerts? Do we want a suspect’s car to be able to get past a police car going in the opposite direction, all because the officer can’t get a look at the plate?

Before anyone says that the police can always look at the back plate then that only applies if the police vehicle is parked or by great good luck happens to be behind the criminal’s car. And incidentally, in the event of a serious crime police cars should typically only be strategically parked if there are very few roads emanating from the scene and a cordon is complete (with a narrowing dragnet inside it). But here are two questions to clarify this even farther:

  1. If you are driving and you can check only the cars going the same way as you, how many vehicles and license plates do you see in, say, ten minutes?
  2. But if you can read the plates of vehicles coming towards you, how many will you see in the same time period. The answer, of course, is hundreds more, so which method is inevitably more efficient in catching dangerous criminals?

That’s all we have to say about this because anyone who thinks this utterly needless situation is even remotely acceptable is undeserving of any additional polite words.

In the interests of what some might consider to be full disclosure, the writer of this post is a retired traffic patrol police officer and during his career was involved in the arrest of various criminals in the manner described above.

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A Day of Driver Training at the New York State Police Driving Academy

Fellowship is a very appropriate word for the friendship and allegiance between serving and retired police officers, in most parts of the world.

Since I officially moved to the USA, just over 15 years ago, I have had the great good fortune to acquire some excellent friends in American law enforcement.

Some years ago, through one by the name of Steve Kring, I spent a wonderful day on the police shooting range, in Boston, MA, where those who did not previously know it were taken aback to learn that the vast majority of British police officers at that time, like myself, were never armed at all, and that before that particular day I had never even held a handgun in my life.  Such are the differences (and each approach was, of course, correct for its own country).

Signs for the New York State Police Driver Training Academy
New York State Police Driver Training Academy.  (Copyright image.)

Another massive difference in the job between the two countries lies in the type and duration of police driver training, the latter part of which — specifically defensive and advanced driver training for corporations — is now my professional field.  So it was with great delight that I accompanied my good friend, retired T/Sergeant and EVOC instructor Tom Winterstein, to spend an October day at the New York State Police driver training facility, located on a former airfield.

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Speed… Is it Really a Major Safety Issue or Do the ‘Experts’ Exaggerate?

One of the most inflammatory and divisive topics in road or highway safety is that of speed in relation to safety.

The first question that has to be addressed is what exactly do we mean in this context by the word “speed”?  It is very important not to fall into the trap of thinking it only relates to breaking the posted speed limits, even though that is still a serious issue (see below).

A panned photo of a car travelling at speed on a leafy rural road.
Breaking the posted speed limit often contributes to serious or fatal crashes.  However, if there are problems on the road, then it is easy to do a potentially dangerous speed even within the posted limit. This is called driving at an inappropriate speed for the circumstances, and it is particularly common — and deadly — on rural roads. (Copyright image.)

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Road Safety: In what way do “Black Lives Matter” the most?

A lost life — any lost life — is a tragedy, and road accidents* are a massive killer, so my title for this post is by no means meant to be annoying or offensive to anybody.

This topic comes from my former home city of Buffalo, NY, so in more ways than one it is a subject dear to my heart.

The original article is “Groups opposed to traffic safety checkpoints to sue Buffalo police,” from the Buffalo News.

Photo of a motorcycle traffic police officer in Buffalo, NY.
A motorcycle traffic cop in Buffalo, NY. (Copyright image.)

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Tennessee Talks About the Horrors of ‘The Knock at the Door’

We are posting this saddening topic here on the ADoNA website in the hope that it helps in the THSO’s aim of persuading people not to become the cause of a tragedy which requires this terrible outcome.

Photo of a Scene from the 'Knock at the Door' video
Scene from the ‘Knock at the Door’ video

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) recently distributed a public service announcement called “The Knock at the Door,” to show what easily qualifies as the worst job in the world, namely the personal delivery by police and other law enforcement officers of fatality messages to unsuspecting loved ones.  A very large proportion of such messages relate to road and highway crashes.
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Naïve or Inaccurate Claims about Highway Safety Improvements do More Harm than Good

Claims that this-or-that highway safety program or this-or-that new idea has had a profound effect on road deaths are commonly very misleading, and a new claim from Alabama undoubtedly comes into this category.
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Video of an Excellent “Flying Escort” by Dutch Police Motorcycle Officers

Apart from saving lives by means of enforcement and obliging many errant drivers to drive more safely, highly-trained police motorcycle officers often help save lives in other ways, too.

This team of three are from the Netherlands, and this spectacular video brought back good memories from my own years on this job, in Britain.  It gives a very good insight into this relatively rare task of facilitating the fastest possible, safe conveyance of a critically ill or injured person to the most appropriate hospital.

Reports of Carbon Monoxide Leaking into Ford Explorers, a Vehicle Used by Many Police Departments

…More than 2,700 complaints have been filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding carbon monoxide leaking into Ford Explorers…

Among the complaints filed with [NHTSA], 41 injuries were caused by fumes, with three crashes taking place.

In a statement made Friday, Ford said that exhaust is entering the vehicles through holes in the underbody that were not properly sealed.

Read the important full article, from News 5 Cleveland

 

A chat about: Drivers Stopping *at* Stop Lines!

We saw this earlier today, in Latham (Albany), NY, and the question is “can there be any worse example of thoughtless driving than completely blocking a crosswalk at a red light?”

Photo of a car stopped at a red light but completely blocking a crosswalk.
Bad drivers block crosswalks! (Photo copyright 2017, Eddie Wren)

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Arizona tells armed drivers how to avoid deadly confrontations in police stops

Following news, this week, that Michelin and the FIA have successfully created an agreement that, at long last, all state drivers’ manuals in the USA will soon carry identical and accurate advice about tire care, here is some dramatic news on a different safety topic, about the manual that is published for Arizona.

Arizona Highway patrol SUV (via KTAR)

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