A couple of weeks ago I was driving up to Lowell, MA from our home in Boston. Just before arriving at my destination in downtown Lowell, I entered the last leg of my journey on the highway. This last stretch of highway is well-known for its status as a speed trap. Sure enough, there was a local police officer standing beside his cruiser on the opposite side of the road from me pointing his radar gun at passing cars. I think it is funny to see these guys with the radar guns. Their posture suggests they have an actual gun and they are aiming to shoot at oncoming traffic. For those of you thinking that you know where this is going…No. I was not his target. As I approached, I saw something I couldn’t believe. The police officer stepped out into the middle lane of traffic. The issue with this is that there were three or four cars approaching (at 60 or so mph). I can only assume that he perceived himself to be invulnerable at that moment. Or maybe he had a momentary lapse in judgment. I’m not sure which is the case. As he paused from his stroll out into the middle of the road, he held up his hand signaling the rapidly approaching car to stop. Then he motioned for them to pull over to the side of the highway.
Obviously there are a couple of problems with this. First, as I said, there were a few cars approaching. All of them slammed on brakes as the policeman stepped in their path. Not only could the police officer have been hit by the car he stepped in front of, he also could have caused an accident among the other cars as he crossed into oncoming traffic.
The question I kept thinking was, “at what point does issuing a speeding ticket become so important that it is worth risking your life over?” I know the economy is bad, but is the city of Lowell in that dire of need of revenue? To quote my friend CJ, “at what point did he think that was a good idea?” So, to the police officer who boldly stepped out into traffic…please know that your zealousness in upholding the law bordered on the criminal today. From now on, I will not only drive slower in Lowell for my sake and the sake of the other drivers around me. I will also drive slower as not to endanger the local police officers.