Real Dumb Driving Stories of 2011

Bad driving

There are so many stories out there of stupid driving behavior that we have selected only a top few. No country or locale seems to have a monopoly, but in our very random survey Australia and the U.S. Southland seem to dominate.

One conclusion: People actually think they can get away with criminal activities once they are in a car. And often they can.

Australia: Drink driving, as they call it, is the “most significant cause of road trauma and death in Australia.” Wow, what a surprise; the figures are really awful. Three stories:

1. After a 15-year-old boy got stopped and arrested for drunk driving, he “blew 529 micrograms per litre of breath, more than three and a half times the youth limit.” Cops called his mother, who got stopped and arrested after testing nearly twice the adult limit. The woman called for help to her husband, who also got stopped and arrested for being way over the limit.

2. A 17-year-old disqualified driver drove to the Toowoomba police station in an unregistered, uninsured, unplated car to report on bail. The kid had four prior convictions (crashing through a fence, leaving the scene, rolling a car and crashing, stealing a car), and the kind judge removed his driving privileges but consistently denied jail time because of his age. He bragged on Facebook, which led the cops to him.

Motorized beer cooler3. “A man in Noosa, Australia, was arrested for driving down a road on a motorized beer cooler while intoxicated. The defendant faces charges of driving under the influence and driving without a license after police caught him on the makeshift vehicle [right], which was powered by a 50cc engine.” Lawyers are protesting that the cooler is not a vehicle.

U.S.A.: In matters of driving, hypocrisy rules. Despite laws against cellphone use and texting, most people continue the practice. In California, nearly 40 percent of drivers claimed cellphone use was the biggest safety problem on their highways—while the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued a recent report (worth looking at), finding some 94 percent of those interviewed saying that cellphone use and texting were dangerous.

But over one-third of these admitted to the practice. The same kind of discrepancies occurred when they were asked about running red lights, speeding and falling asleep at the wheel.

South Carolina: More hypocrisy—this time about the individual mandate to carry auto insurance and the $550 fee required for uninsured motorist registration. That is, either buy insurance or pay a fine to eliminate free riders. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) bitterly railed against the same mandate in Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act but praised it in RomneyCare. DeMint says driving is “a voluntary act,” but the uninsured still cause risk and cost to others that someone must pay for.

The state has another infamous practice of pulling over speeders and giving them “the option of paying a normal $15 to $25 fine, to be reported to DMV for the assessment of points; or a $150 fine, which is 10 times the current minimum, but no report to the DMV, and no assessment of points.” One lawmaker commented: “If it doesn’t get reported, most people don’t mind paying.”

Nashville driverA “young girl” on a cellphone apparently hit another man’s car, broke his hip, got out to check on him as he was in great pain, but left the brake off her car, which rolled back over the guy. She called her boyfriend to ask what to do (he said call the police); meanwhile the poor man on the road pulled out his cellphone to call 911 for help. He should have pulled out his gun and shot her.

Tennessee: Finally, speaking of guns, a Nashville driver (above) carrying various drugs in his car accidentally shot himself in both legs while he was driving and fumbling for his gun under the seat while applying the brakes and grabbing the gun by the trigger. Multitasking gone berserk.

Please feel free to add to this collection of automotive dementia. Do you have any great stories about really dumb driving?


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  1. I’d also like to point out that the gentleman pictured above that you have listed for shooting himself in the leg is actually an actor from the eminem movie 8 mile. In the pictured scene he does shoot himself in the leg while trying to put his gun away.

  2. You can bet that South Carolina will think again when they start getting hit with some very large lawsuits. If I was injured by an uninsured motorist who was allowed to drive by a state that thinks revenues are more important than protecting their own citizens, guess who I’d sue? Ditto for the danderous driver who has paid those escalated fines to escape (true) punishment for their bad driving. Honestly, I’m not sure how they get away with it, which is nothing more than a disguised bribery system.
    I did see a nominee for the 2012 DDA– The out of control speeder who hit a stump and ended up on the roof of a house. And to think people pay $25 to see that kind of thing at a monster truck rally when they can just set up a lawn chair.
    Wasn’t South Carolina one of the big states for the conservative right? Guess that’s a political bent that doesn’t require brains.

  3. Shame to spoil a story with the truth, but in Australia there is no “youth limit”. Provisional drivers – in their first three years of driving – have a zero alcohol limit.
    There are no such offences as “crashing through a fence” or “rolling a car and crashing”.
    In fact, Australia was one of the first countries in the world to introduce random breath testing – ie the police can pull you over anytime, anywhere, for a breath test – no requirement for suspicion, or commiting another offence.

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