Thomas G. WitkopLaw Offices

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Provisional drivers license and convictions



In Maryland new drivers receive provisional drivers licenses. Provisional drivers licenses are delicate and do not withstand traffic tickets very well. If you have a provisional license and receive a conviction or even a probation before judgment (usually not considered a conviction) the motor vehicle administration will take a dim view and start taking actions against your license. A second conviction can lead up to 30 days of suspension and a third and subsequent conviction can give you 180 days of walking. On top of that, each conviction postpones your ability to get your regular license by 18 months. Obviously for safety reasons you do not want to receive tickets but you do not want to receive tickets because it really affects your license in a negative manner.

My 18-year-old client was on his provisional license when he originally received a speeding ticket and received probation before judgment. After that he received a speeding ticket out of state which was transferred to his Maryland driving record. The motor vehicle administration took action and threatened to suspend his license. I advised my client to drive slower and not receive any future tickets. I further had him research the effect of speeding on accidents. Included in this essay I wanted him to reflect on what he would do to reduce his speeding. He wrote a rather excellent essay which I present below. We presented this essay to the judge at the motor vehicle administration and I believe it tipped the judge in favor of my client. Instead of receiving a suspension of his driving privilege the judge issued a reprimand. My client was allowed to continue driving but I believe he realizes he must slow down.

Speeding

Speeding is the #1 violation in fatal motor vehicle crashes. I am extremely fortunate to not have been a part of an accident while having my license. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among the ages five to thirty-four in the U.S. More than 2.3 Million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. Many teenagers seem to ignore the potential risks of speeding and unfortunately sometimes, as a result, become another number in these statistics. The dangers of speeding are both obvious and unrecognizable to drivers.

One of the most obvious dangers associated with speeding is the impact that it has on our ability to carefully and safely operate a motor vehicle. It is a fact that when we speed, we are less able to rely on our natural reaction time when an obstacle is perceived. Speeding significantly reduces this reaction time and prevents us from doing what is necessary to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Though braking and swerving are actions that we naturally take when faced with an obstruction on the road, their effectiveness is severely compromised by traveling at a high rate of speed. This is primarily because a driver who is speeding does not have the time (or space) to determine whether such a course of action will really enable him to avoid the perceived danger or whether it will lead to an even more dangerous situation.
Acknowledging the dangers of speeding is important and helpful in preventing the violation, however, it is knowing the reasons why we speed that will truly stop us from continuing to put us, and others, in danger while on the road. One of the biggest reasons I have found myself pushing the pedal a little harder is when I am running late. I feel an extra urgency to pick up the pace and make up for wasted time. I know, based on feedback from my friends and others, that this factor is certainly common among young drivers, and even older ones as well. To fix this I found a simple solution. When I am running late I make certain I do not speed because of it. Realizing my habit of speeding has created another habit of understanding and compensating for my usual tendencies. Ultimately I have stopped excessive speeding and am more aware of my driving habits.
Another danger of speeding, or perhaps the greatest danger, is the fact that it is often not recognized as a danger. Few drivers, including confident and experienced drivers, would hold that engaging in distracting activities such as using a cell phone, texting, eating, etc. are conducive to safe driving. Even fewer drivers would argue that driving under the influence is prudent. On the other hand, drivers who occasionally or consistently drive above the speed limit are ready and willing to provide a list of reasons for why speeding does not qualify as an unsafe and potentially life-threatening hazard. Those who do recognize the dangers of speeding will often rationalize or justify speeding in a number of different ways. I would say, as would many others, that because everyone else speeds, it is easily permissible. However, just because everyone is doing it does not mean you should too. I have driven with the thought of “going with the flow of traffic” but have always wanted to be the leader in the “flow”. With this realization I have mentally changed my connotation of the phrase and permanently decided to be content and willing to stay in the correct “flow”.
Realizing the reasons one speeds is a simple solution to the inconvenient habit. If you truly follow through with self-analyzing natural tendencies and motives, it is easy to be successful and stop yourself from repeating the same mistake too many times.

I think this is an excellent essay. I will not give proper attribution to my client because he probably prefers to remain anonymous. I think I learned from it also.


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