No stop signs, speed limit, nobody's gonna slow me down
December 20, 2006 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Are you annoyed with careless, rude, or stupid drivers? Instead of obscene gestures, obscenities, and aggressive tailgating, now you can snitch on them at, a site where you can enter the license plate, vehicle make & model, and a description of the offensive behavior. Members can search for repeat offenders' license plates and contribute to the blogs.
posted by fandango_matt (37 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wow, what a terrible idea.
posted by tula at 11:02 AM on December 20, 2006

I've been mulling over the idea of building something like this for years, mostly because every day while commuting home I die a little inside and wish to transfer my wrath somewhere else rather than just shouting out the window. But it's just so open to abuse... Anonymity of submission ain't such a great idea, and realistically, this is only going to attract submissions from people who feel wronged (I didn't see any positive accolades up there; have you ever been on the road and noted down a license plate from someone who let you into a line of traffic? Not so much) and want to vent.

Now, what I'm thinking of is a way to get a cell phone number from a license plate. All the immediacy, none of the anonymity. Just think of the glorious melée that would ensue if you could call up the asshole who cut you off on the way to work...
posted by Mayor West at 11:07 AM on December 20, 2006

I'm all for anything to temper (or seek righteous vengeance upon) some of the insane drivers we have here in DC, but this is just dumb.
posted by JWright at 11:09 AM on December 20, 2006

Forget all that, just give me bumper-mounted nuclear weapons.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:09 AM on December 20, 2006

And it links to one for Canada, too.

Great, now we can all spy on each other. It would be nice if it was done more objectively, but it's all-out venting, kind of like this one for women who don't like catcalls and more, though I can understand where they're coming from.
posted by Listener at 11:10 AM on December 20, 2006

The state of California has an officially-sanctioned hotline where offended drivers can rat out in license plates anonymously. I learned about this hotline when I read an article in the LA Times about its abuse.

This is yet another of the many state services that cannot be improved by privatization.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:14 AM on December 20, 2006

via katg?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:14 AM on December 20, 2006

I'm sure many people will use this to vent, but I'm not sure how effective it's going to be at getting the message to the person(s) being reported.

I mean, doesn't a photocopy of Mickey Mouse flipping the bird still do the trick?
posted by itchylick at 11:15 AM on December 20, 2006

"Planet Wire" is a good name...
posted by delmoi at 11:17 AM on December 20, 2006

Mickey Mouse does tricks?

It's been all downhill since Walt died.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:18 AM on December 20, 2006

I'm going to report myself repeatedly, wait for pocket vigilantes to start ramming my beater caddy out of pent up rage and boredom, and roll in the insurance money.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:24 AM on December 20, 2006

Passive aggressive road rage.
posted by JamesToast at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2006

Now they just need to take the next step and implement distributed honking, bird-flipping, and swearing. An OCR device (periodically updated) will keep an eye out for known poor drivers and all participants around the country can abuse them upon detection.

Going away for a week to relax, jerk? Not likely.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:36 AM on December 20, 2006

Hey man you know I'm really okay

The gun in my hand will tell you the same

But when I'm in my car

Don't give me no crap

Cause the slightest thing and I just might snap

posted by quin at 11:42 AM on December 20, 2006

Why not just open a site called "FlameAway"? Or "InterWeb"? will not end well.
posted by GuyZero at 11:45 AM on December 20, 2006

The morons don't know that I only drive rentals cars because I travel for work. Heh heh heh.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:47 AM on December 20, 2006

I think I looked at this the other day after a seeing a TV news story about it and even started registering...and unless I'm misremembering this, they wanted my license plate number. Whuffo? I could always lie, I suppose, but I'm trying to economize on dishonesties, anymore, so I just blew the whole thing off.
posted by pax digita at 11:47 AM on December 20, 2006

guin: Cause the slightest thing and I just might snap

Best song to sing at the top of your lungs with the windows down at a stoplight. Particularly the middle part where the music cuts out. Sure, you get some frightened looks, but when is that a bad thing?
posted by thanotopsis at 11:48 AM on December 20, 2006

I considered this too, after several years commuting. I mentioned it to a friend, like hey, wouldn't it be cool if?

The friend said, "Yeah, and then you could figure out where they work and their names and post that. Or what they do for a hobby. Or their phone numbers."

Took me a second to pick up on the sarcasm. Then I decided it probably wasn't such a great idea after all.

But infinitewindow: I'd like that number. You have it? Shoot me an email.
posted by routergirl at 11:52 AM on December 20, 2006

on non-preview: Grr, sorry about all the line breaks.
posted by routergirl at 11:52 AM on December 20, 2006

Boy, this thing will fly like a lead Zeppelin (or a concrete glider). Although I understand the kind of frustration behind the idea, I doubt it will provide satisfatory catharsis. (Now if if I could only remeber the plate of that annoying Jeep driver tailgating me on I-95 a couple years ago.......)
posted by bluefrog at 12:03 PM on December 20, 2006

So just how is this supposed to modify anyone's behavior? If the offending drivers don't particpate (and it's likely they won't), how will they know they've been called out? This whole idea just doesn't make sense to me.
posted by Doohickie at 12:12 PM on December 20, 2006

Doohickie, it's like a support group.
posted by hellphish at 12:15 PM on December 20, 2006



posted by Greg Nog at 12:16 PM on December 20, 2006 [1 favorite]
posted by boo_radley at 12:49 PM on December 20, 2006

Hey, passive-aggressive is better than regular aggressive, ain't it? I once had a guy who was tailgating me in the carpool lane* race up past me on the left shoulder and swerve directly into me, forcing me into the next lane, as if he thought we were having some kind of chariot race or something. I'd much rather have had him go home and bitch about me on some website...

*said tailgater did not seem to care that I was going the exact same speed as the GIANT FUCKING BUS directly in front of me
posted by equalpants at 1:07 PM on December 20, 2006

...quitely covers vanity plate with duct tape...
posted by fixedgear at 1:15 PM on December 20, 2006

posted by Partial Law at 1:35 PM on December 20, 2006

Heck, one could fill up their entire database with the bad drivers in the Silicon Valley alone.
posted by drstein at 2:20 PM on December 20, 2006

If I were to actually try to take part in this fink-fest, I'd be spending my entire friggin' day (save the part when I'm on the road) logging the idiots.

I don't know what's going on around the Okanagan lately, but the quality of driver has just plummeted. Every. Freakin. Day. I see some dumbass do something so abysmally stupid on the road that ... oh, my blood pressure starts rising even as I write about it.

Suffice to say the single best improvement to the quality of driving in this valley would be to drop a nuke on it. It is well beyond all salvation.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:23 PM on December 20, 2006

posted by drstein Heck, one could fill up their entire database with the bad drivers in the Silicon Valley alone.

Word. The worst offenders are the people who are reading books or tech manuals while driving.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:29 PM on December 20, 2006

They do that out there, too, huh? Here, it's usually the Wall Street Urinal. Makes me want to do something to wake them up, so they'll maybe keep up with traffic.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:07 PM on December 20, 2006

I think the important thing to remember is that we've all pulled some dumbass move in a car (or just walking, i.e. stopping short to tie one's shoes) and thought nothing of it. It's all about perspective. If you're super late for a very important meeting, or rushing to the hospital for some reason, your actions as a driver quickly fade from memory. Just remember, the next asswipe that cuts you off is probably just as likely a freakin' moron as he/she is someone in a genuine rush. We've all been there, it's the whole "I'm more important than you" syndrome.

Don't get me wrong, there are people who don't belong behind the wheel, that somehow got licensed, but don't get incensed at activity you probably have participated in in the past.

For the record, I'm a very safe driver, but every (minor) accident I've been involved in has been my fault. I have, however, avoided several potentially serious accidents using defensive driving. It's just that everyone slips once and again, and everyone needs to get from point a to point b at lightspeed at some point.
posted by Debaser626 at 6:10 PM on December 20, 2006

"Word. The worst offenders are the people who are reading books or tech manuals while driving."

Especially when they're fiddling around with their Bluetooth headsets!
posted by drstein at 9:44 PM on December 20, 2006

Actually drstein, I'm going to tacitly disagree with you on the headset front, but hear me out.

Under some sort of strange circumstance where you must be using a phone while driving, a headset is the only way to go. It allows you to keep both hands on the wheel and gives you the ability to do basic necessities like turning and shifting, and the like.

I have worked in a call center for many years, and I have read the studies about how the average cell phone user is as bad as a drunk driver because they get into their 'phone space'. I would love to see the experiments retested using call center personnel, simply because they have trained themselves to talk on a phone while operating a computer, an act which forces them out of the phone-space mindset; which is to say, they are able to push the call to the background while operating a piece of equipment.

That said, I was an early bluetooth headset adopter. I quickly realized a couple of things about it. 1.) I had to fiddle with it waaay to much, and 2.) whenever I used it, people thought I was talking to myself.

I hate the fact that they have become ubiquitous in my workplace. People with long hair frequently engage me in conversations when stepping onto the elevator only to have me realize that they are not even aware that I am there.

Someone once likened the idea of invisible wireless headsets to forms of mental illness and pointed out that it has become increasingly difficult to tell the two apart.

They were right.
posted by quin at 10:48 PM on December 20, 2006

routergirl, apparently it wasn't a telephone hotline (I must have mis-remembered the LA Times article). Here is a link to the relevant DMV form for requesting a reexamination for a driver.

One thing I do remember clearly from the article is that the DMV acts even on skimpy information, like license plate plus approximate age of driver.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:22 PM on December 21, 2006

quin: I was referring to the Bluetooth headset n00b that's constantly re-adjusting it. :)

Just for fun, I've been paying attention to bad drivers around here. I've seen:
* Someone reading a magazine while driving. I've also seen people applying makeup, shaving, and eating a bowl of cereal.
* Cell phone users (men & women are equally bad) slowing down on the freeway because they're babbling away on their phones. Going 45 on Hwy 101 is a bad thing.
* Countless folks just blowing through red lights. Really, I was astonished at how brazen some folks are.
* Folks with no lights on, despite the new "wipers on? lights on!" law that's been in effect for a couple years
* People are oblivious to speed limits. They're either WAY over it or WAY under it. The speed limit on the Lawrence Expressway is 50mph. People drive along at 35mph all the time.

I still think that the bar to getting a license needs to be raised. Hell, even if there was a "Take this safe driving course and get a 10% discount on your insurance" deal going on, I'd be happy. People really don't know how to drive!
posted by drstein at 8:15 PM on December 21, 2006

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