ROADS REPORT: Learning the hard way

They say that advice is like castor oil: it is easy enough to give but much more difficult to take

Blog Entry March 06, 2013

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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Better safe than sorry
Some people go to great lengths to protect their car, investing in the latest technology like remote kill switches and GPS tracking systems. (Remember when all we needed was the Club?)


Now comes a uniquely lo-fi solution from a 20-year-old man in Chicago who just clamps a yellow boot on the front wheel of his car each time he parks.


Most drivers do their best to avoid the notorious “Denver Boot,” which is usually associated with traffic cops and repo men.


Not this guy, who declined to reveal his name to Chicago’s CBS 2, but told them that he bought his boot on eBay for around $100 and uses it to prevent his 1994 Acura Integra from being swiped.


That might sound extreme until you consider that 16,000 cars were stolen in Chicago in 2012, a year that the National Insurance Crime Bureau ranked the 1994 Integra as the sixth most stolen car in the country.


Best of all, in Chicago it is completely legal to boot your own car.


So that is what this man does, saying that he goes so far as to even boot his car at night inside his own garage.


It’s the little things that count
Police in Edina, Minn., are taking a break from ticketing to focus on teachable moments.


Throughout 2013, officers will be stopping drivers to educate them about common safety violations as part of their new “Focus In” initiative.


Each month officers are focusing on a different infraction, beginning with the risks of driving with a snow-obstructed windshield, and moving on to recurring issues like failing to turn on headlights in the evening or in the rain, failing to properly secure child restraints and seat belts and not using turn signals for their intended purpose.


Citations could be issued in extenuating circumstances, but Edina Police Chief Jeff Long said the goal of the program is to educate drivers and avoid preventable accidents, not to give out more tickets.


Edina police are confident that drivers will respond positively to being pulled over and made late for work in order to hear the same lecture that their wife has been giving them for years.


Slow down on the fast food
A Pennsylvania man’s family gave him a whopper of a send-off in January when they arranged for his entire funeral procession to file through a Burger King drive-thru en route to his final resting place.


As a tribute to a man who loved fast food, David Kime Jr.’s friends and family all purchased Whopper Jr.’s in his honor, along with an extra that was buried with Kime.
Kime’s daughter Linda Phiel said that the display was not a joke, but rather a way to honor her father and the things that brought him joy. And a healthy diet was not one.
“His version of eating healthy was the lettuce on the Whopper Jr.,” she told the York Daily Record.


Phiel said her father, an 88-year-old World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient, did and ate what he wanted after his wife passed away.


“My mother kind of kept him in check,” Phiel said. “When she died, for a while, he would eat with us. But he considered us health freaks because we ate things that were green, like broccoli.”  


The funeral home made arrangements in advance with the Manchester Township Burger King, which was more than happy to honor a loyal customer. Kime frequented the restaurant several times each week and was well known by the staff for his love of Whopper Jr.’s.


Perhaps not surprisingly, Kime died of heart complications.


But at least he had it his way. R&B

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