If you haven't figured it out by now, my pet peeve is bad drivers who don't follow basic traffic safety laws.

It's a documented fact that traffic is worse than it's ever been, because there are simply more vehicles on the road than ever.

I'll take it a step further.  Drivers are worse now than they've ever been, and I believe it's a sign of the continuing decline of decent American culture.  Instead of us being concerned about the welfare of our fellow Americans, we're completely self-absorbed.

Believe it or not, there was a time when people drove safely and politely.  They looked out for other drivers because they all knew that the goal was to get where you're going and arrive in one piece.  People knew the protocol when stopping at a 4-way stop. (Leave the intersection in the order at which you arrived.  If you arrive at the same time as another car or cars, the car furthest to the right has the right-of-way.) They used their blinkers when making a turn or changing lanes.

Today it seems that a driver's goal is to get where they're going as fast as possible, and everyone else be damned.  Well, if you're like me and keep having these Howard Beale moments--"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"--there are some things we can actually do something about.

I was reading the Shreveport Times this morning and ran across an article that talked about residents' frustration with drivers cutting through their neighborhood.  The area in question is on Horton Avenue in Shreveport.  Drivers use it as a cut-through between Southfield Road and East 70th Street.  Horton also provides access to Clyde Fant Parkway by way of Preston Avenue, so it's used by a lot of people who don't live in the area. The extra traffic is one thing, but the fact that these drivers careen down the street at an excessive speed is another.  Horton is a residential street with a posted speed limit of 30 mph, and it's teeming with children.  But in their hurry to get where their going, these people take no account of what tragedy their reckless driving may cause.

What's a sane person to do?  Call the Shreveport Police Department (SPD) Traffic Bureau at 673-7255.  Or you can call your community liaison officer at 673-6950.  That's right, there are officers assigned to address the needs of specific areas of the city, and SPD will even give you access to their cell number.  A traffic officer will be assigned to work the complaint, and a traffic enforcement unit will run radar in the area.  This will curb the problem, though it may recur 6 to 12 months down the road. (Pardon the puns.)

If you've got your own driving pet peeve, I'd love to hear about it.  Maybe we can figure out a way to actually do something to get these menaces off the road.