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David Matthews

David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.

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No laughing matter Two women being chased by a deranged man in Toronto found help in an unlikely place: a clown car.   Needless to say, there was plenty of room inside.   On a Sunday afternoon in November, an apparently disturbed man shoved a woman walking toward him, and then began chasing her and...
High-grade savings One of the biggest news stories of this past year was the dramatic drop in gas prices. At the time of this writing, the national average for regular gas was $2.20, down from $3 at the same time last year.  What’s really crazy, though, is what drivers do with all that money they’...
Random act of kindness Southern hospitality is alive and well in Texas, even among car thieves.    Take the guys who stole the Peters family’s 2004 Dodge Durango off the side of the road. It had already suffered deer damage, was missing a window and required a screwdriver to start the ignition.   ...
In’text’icated driving We all know how distracting smartphones can be in cars, especially after an AT&T study this past May showed that drivers are doing more than texting behind the wheel—they’re also browsing the web, checking email, and even video chatting.   Well, police in Marietta, Ga.,...
Ruff justice On a sunny Sunday this past spring, a police officer responded to a call at a Walmart parking lot in Strongsville, Ohio, where a concerned shopper discovered a dog locked inside a Nissan Sentra.   When the owner returned, she blew off the officer’s warnings, showing him that her dog...
Bridge over buggy water Last year the city of Columbia, Pa., installed new lighting across the Veterans Memorial Bridge as part of a $2.1 million renovation project.    In order to improve visitors’ first impression of the area, the city removed the standard gray 25-ft-tall street lights that lined...
Summer driving not so hot There’s nothing like hitting the open road in the summer with the windows down and the music up.    But driving in summer can actually be more treacherous than winter. In fact, the Institute for Highway Safety found that July, August and September are the most dangerous...
Honoring dads For many of us, our earliest memories of cars also involve our dads.    When we were little, Dad would let us hold the flashlight while he tinkered under the hood.   Later on it was our Dad who taught us to drive, bravely riding shotgun for those early attempts at driving a stick...
On the rocks A road construction project in Iceland has been held up for over a year by the Supreme Court after protestors warned that it would disturb the elves living in its path.   The road was to provide a direct route from the Alf-tanes penin-sula (where, coincidentally, Iceland’s pres-i-dent...
Aww, jeez Hockey, alcohol, a Zamboni and the police—all the makings of a typical winter Friday night in Fargo, N.D.    But this was no NHL game, or even a Coen brothers’ movie. This was a high school girls’ hockey game, and Steve Anderson, part-time Zamboni driver for the Fargo Park District, had...
A likely story Not much compares to the sinking feeling in your stomach when you see the flashing lights of a patrol car in your rearview mirror and realize you’ve been caught speeding.   How much will the ticket cost? How much is my insurance going to go up? Where the heck is my registration?!  ...
Getting the boot If you’re an officer trying to enforce parking laws outside an audition for a show called “Bad Girls Club,” you have to know your day isn’t going to go smoothly. Sure enough, this past December a would-be contestant for the long-running Oxygen TV reality show exited the audition...
The fire-breathing school bus Kids in Indianapolis no longer have an excuse to be late for school now that adrenaline junkie Paul Stender has created a jet-powered school bus.  Equipped with a 42,000-hp fighter jet engine and an exhaust that shoots out 80-ft flames, the “School Time” can reach...
  The future is now The Jetsons might possibly be the most influential TV show that only aired for one season.  Debuting in 1962 as a primetime spin-off to The Flintstones, the show was canceled after just 24 episodes. While two more seasons were produced in the mid-80s followed by TV specials and...
Singing road   The state of New Mexico is teaming up with National Geographic to make speeders sing a different tune. On a stretch of historic Rte. 66 between Albuquerque and Tijeras, drivers who obey the posted speed limit will now be serenaded with “America the Beautiful.”   The effect is...
Trip the lights fantastic   As we’ve learned from the recent Hollywood nude photo scandal, any kind of digital device can be hacked. With all the technology integrated into modern transportation, hacking may soon become a reality for drivers as well. And not just the naked ones.   For example,...
The best laid plans   One man’s attempt to get out of a traffic ticket may land him in jail for five years.   Julius Lupowitz was driving through West Melbourne, Fla., this past July when he was pulled over for speeding. While the officer was preparing his ticket, Lupowitz came up with a...
Here’s to your health   The luck of the Irish was with a 22-year-old Bronx woman who survived being run over by three Manhattan subway trains this past spring and walked away with only an injured shoulder.   According to authorities, Mary Downey, a native of Belfast, staggered into the Midtown...
Right to free speech   This month we celebrate our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain some 238 years ago, as well as the rights and freedoms that independence affords us.   One of the rights that we hold most dear is the freedom of expression, and a recent survey shows that many of us...
Leap of faith What better way to celebrate dad this year than to re-create his all-time favorite TV show on the crumbling bridges of South Carolina? That’s what a man was forced to do recently when a bridge he was crossing near Charleston began to cave in. When a 15-ft section of the bridge in...

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