Cut off by an aggressive driver with a horn and plenty of attitude on 620?
Did a fancy-schmancy Escalade angrily pass you on the left only to get stopped right ahead of you at a red light. (What is that? Come on, people.)
As you shout obscenities that drown out Prime Country on your Sirius radio, you want one thing. Immediate revenge. We get it. Bad drivers are infuriating. So you grab your phone and take a pic …
Wait — NO! That’s totally wrong. It’s incredibly dangerous. It’s also breaking the law.
If this driver-shaming trend continues it means for every one bad driver, we get two? No, thank you.
In July 2015, Lakeway and Bee Cave began enforcing the hands-free traffic ordinance that states you can’t use a hand-held mobile device while operating a vehicle or riding a bike. Just to be clear, this also means you can’t dial it, listen to it, read it, Google directions, or take photos with it while driving.
Furthermore, the definition of using your phone while “parked” means you “completely cease movement of a motor vehicle or bicycle in a lawful manner and location.” You can’t use it when you’re stopped at a traffic light, sitting in traffic, and certainly not at a school crossing.
Simply put, driving with devices in-hand injures and kills people. We know this to be true. According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
Bad Driver-Shaming Trend
This is when scorned drivers decide to snap a pic of the perceived bad driver and post it. In addition to social media platforms, there are online groups where residents can post driver-shaming pics.
If you scroll through them, you may notice something alarming. Pics are being taken on Lake Travis’ busy highways — often during rush hour — and obviously from the driver’s side of the car. Therein lies the problem. Many fed-up drivers are also breaking the law themselves.
While you may be posting these pics with good intentions, just because you add a plea for the police to “keep their eyes open for this clown,” doesn’t change the fact that you also broke the hands-free law. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Weighing Risks & Rewards
Think about it for a minute.
Is abandoning traffic laws to frantically use your phone worth it?
How does posting a picture of a bad driver ultimately solve anything?
Sure, you may feel a flutter of vindication, a twinge of victory. Meanwhile, your actions realistically put more drivers at risk by adding another bad driver to the equation — you!
There are other consequences for shaming aggressive drivers online, so if you choose to do it, tread lightly.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, publishing license plate data and the owner information attached to it — without authorization by the individual or the law — is prohibited by law. Over the years, Facebook pages/groups in Texas have been shut down as a result.
If you witness reckless behavior that could endanger your fellow drivers, pull over safely, stop your car, and call the police. There are non-emergency numbers for that exact reason.
Shaming or no shaming, can’t we all do a better job on our defensive driving skills?
At the end of the day, don’t we all want the same thing?
There’s precious cargo traveling on Lake Travis area roads. Let’s drive Texas friendly and get to our destinations — wherever that may be — alive.
Above image safely taken by passenger