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Driver Responsibility Verification Program – TexasSure – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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The last time I got pulled over by Johnny Law (and that was his real name…no kidding), he scanned the registration sticker on my windshield. I suppose he did this to see if it was counterfeit. But he didn’t ask me for proof of liability insurance. I had heard that the police can pull that up on their computers now (in between checking their Facebook) so they don’t usually ask you for it. In other words, they know if you have current coverage or not. And, of course, I did. I may be a speeder, by I’m a responsible speeder. This automated database is a joint project of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Most states have a similar program. Here in my state, TexasSure is designed to reduce the number of uninsured drivers and cut costs for those of us responsible Texans, who now pay almost $900 million a year to protect ourselves against those  irresponsible drivers without coverage. According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, 15% to 20% of Texas drivers are uninsured.

You must have auto insurance in Texas…it’s the law. And if you get caught driving without minimum liability coverage to pay for injuries and damages that you cause, you are subject to fines and loss of license. TexasSure relies on a massive database containing the names of all insured drivers and their insurance companies, matched to their license plates and VIN’s. So, when a driver is involved in an accident or stopped by the law, they had better have current minimum liability insurance. If not, the fines are up to $350 on the first offense and up to $1,000 and possible suspension of your license on the second. Plus a state surcharge of $250 per year for three years. And, if you continue to break this law, you can be arrested. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t do well in jail. I don’t like peanut butter or bologna.

Until next week…drive safe, be responsible and drive TexasSure.

Daun Thompson

Comedienne/Writer/ Artist

TexasSure – Comedy Defensive Driving

New Year Resolutions

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It’s a brand new year! And it’s time for a new beginning. I bet you’ve made your new year’s resolution! Mine? No speeding in 2012. No, really. And, just like your new year’s resolution, mine is destined to last until approximately January 31st. Only to be forgotten and then I’ll be back to my old ways. So let’s make a pact. I will promise to watch my speed and you promise to keep running on that boring treadmill. Good luck to both of us. The funny thing, I didn’t even get one ticket in 2011. I got through the entire year without a ticket! Can you say the same? And it wasn’t because I didn’t speed. In fact, I’m almost certain that I did speed. Of course, I was just keeping up with the flow of traffic like everyone else. Even if you’re not typically a speeder, others will push you along to make you go faster… faster… FASTER! For me, it’s just a matter of time before I get a speeding ticket, even if I am just keeping up with the flow of traffic. And when I do get pulled over, the last thing I’m going to do is tell the officer that I teach defensive driving and get a 45 minute lecture in addition to my ticket. After all, I should know better, right? “I’m just keeping up with the flow, ossifer.” And, something you’re not even going to believe, I haven’t gotten a ticket in many, many years. My secret is I drive like a nervous little old lady, looking out for speed traps and taking note of all traffic signs. No, really. Paying attention and not taking your eyes off of the road is the best way to prevent you from getting a ticket or being involved in an accident. And, just so we’re clear about this. I am not bragging about not getting a ticket in years. Another thing I’ve learned over the years is you don’t want to brag about it. If you do brag about it, you get three tickets in a row. Like celebrity deaths. At least there’s one drawback to being a celebrity. Probably more, but I’ve never been one so I wouldn’t know. I was once asked “Didn’t you used to be somebody.” Drunks say the darndest things (wasn’t that an Art Linkletter show back in the 50’s?). This year’s celebrity deaths (a moment of silence, please) were fitness guru Jack LaLanne, movie star Liz Taylor, singer Amy Winehouse (that makes 3), actor Jeff Conaway, saxaphonist Clarence Clemons, jackass Ryan Dunn (that makes 3 more), actor Peter Falk, comic Patrice O’Neal, boy genius Steve Jobs, that cantankerous old fart Andy Rooney, and smokin’ Joe Frazier (and that’s 3 again.. see, I told you).
So, if you haven’t devised your new year’s resolution, not breaking the law is a good start. It will save you time, money, aggravation and self-loathing. Or, perhaps, your resolution will to not become a celebrity in 2012. That way, you won’t have sleepless nights when a fellow celebrity kicks the bucket… worrying that you may be next!
Until next week. Keep it safe. Be kind. And remember to use your signal, and not your finger.
Daun Thompson

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

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You see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road with its lights flashing.  Maybe it’s a police officer writing some poor slob a ticket.  Or, perhaps it’s an ambulance, a fire truck, a courtesy car or even a tow truck (in some states, the law also includes tow truck operators and highway workers).  WHAT SHOULD YOU DO??  You would be amazed at how many people wouldn’t know what to do. In fact, a national poll by Mason Dixon Pollling & Research, sponsored by the National Safety Commission states that 71% of American have not heard of the “Move Over” laws.

Forty three states have passed “Move Over” laws, which require motorists to “Move Over” and change lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers on roadsides.  One would think that it would be just plain common sense to move over a lane or at least slow down when approaching a scene. But more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1997 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. I have met a few ambulance drivers who have recounted stories of co-workers they have lost to a rubber-necker who not only did not move over a lane or slow down, but drove right into the scene of the accident. Killing the E.M.T.’s trying to save someone and the person they were trying to save. It’s likely the rubber-necker was drunk (a drunker-necker). Apparently drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights. Like blondes are attracted to shiny objects. Diamonds, should anyone ask.

“Move Over America” is the national effort to make drivers aware of the “Move Over” laws, which require motorists to “Move Over” and changes lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers on roadsides.  Equally important is the action of creating attention in those states where there is no such law at present.  Their website has a U.S. map of move over laws by state.  While California and Iowa hit you with a $50 fine, other states dish up more meaty fines.  South Dakota serves up a class 2 misdemeanor, Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor and Arkansas awards you with a $500 fine plus 90 days in jail, 7 days of community service, 90 day license suspension. Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia are runners-up in their penalties. Generally in most states, the fine is a hefty one because you just put a law enforcement officer, emergency medical tech, fireman, courtesy patrol or tow truck drivers life in danger. Fair enough!

I notice when out there in the road rage mobile (that what I call her…every girl has a pet name for their car…that’s mine), some police officers still write tickets on the drivers side of the car, rather than going around to the passenger side where it would seem much safer.  And the shoulder is just wide enough for a car.  Not a car and a cop. You ever pull over on the highway to change drivers, get something out of the trunk, or to dump a body?? It feels like those semi trucks are going to suck you right under them. I’ve watched those t.v. shows where they show cops being hit by cars on the freeway or the car hitting the squad car, causing it to careen into the car being pulled over. Yikes! You ever watch that show COPS?  I watch it just to see if I have any family members on there. And I usually do.  So this is how the Move Over Law works. If you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road with its lights flashing, you need to move over and put an empty lane between you and them for their safety.  Or, if you can’t move over because you’re on a two lane road, or maybe there’s traffic in the next lane and you can’t move over, then you must slow down 20 miles under the posted speed limit. This does not only apply to the highway. If the speed limit is below 25mph, the driver must slow down to 5mph…i.e. school zone)

And if you don’t??  Maybe you think you got away with it because that officer’s standing outside that car writing someone else a ticket. And you think “He’s not going to drop what he’s doing and jump in his car and come after me.”  But cops use a buddy system.  One officer would make an initial stop — for traffic violations — and then another officer would be close by to nab those who didn’t follow the move-over law.  HUGE FINE!

Until next week…look out for others…they may not have 5,141 friends on Facebook, but somebody loves them.

Daun Thompson

(Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas, Texas)

BACK TO SCHOOL KEEP IT COOL

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With schools re-opening within the next few weeks…just a friendly reminder…look out!

Between school zone laws and passing a school bus with its alternating red lights flashing, you could find yourself facing some stiff penalties once school has started.Remember when you were a kid?Summer’s coming to an end.Your Mother takes you school shopping.How exciting was that??Then, the first day of school comes.You have all of your shiny new school supplies and those new pony fur hot pants you just couldn’t live without (o.k…those were a really bad idea).And about a half hour into the first day back, you’re like “Sh*t!She tricked me again.I hate school!!”

I remember my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten.We’d skipped daycare and preschool because she had a nanny at home.So she wasn’t used to the conventional school happenings.When I picked her up that first half day, I asked her “So how was your first day of Kindergarten?”She said “I guess it was o.k.But I got in really big trouble.”“Why? What did you do?”“I don’t know, but they made me take a nap.”I also, with some coaxing on her part, admitted that I was, indeed, the tooth fairy.“Wow! You can fly???” was her unexpected response.

I told her how, when I was her age, my sisters and I would walk to school every day.She said “Why? Didn’t your parents love you??”I guess she had a good point.Now, if you allow your kids to walk anywhere without adult supervision, they may just get supervised by your friendly neighborhood predator.

So, remember, school zones are 20mph, even though in other states this speed varies.Yes, we all know, if you were going any slower, you’d be in reverse.But little ones will dart out right in front of you.They can’t be responsible for their own actions.The law takes child safety very seriously.And, in most cities, active school zones are hands-free.Meaning no hand-held devices.Both are sizeable fines.And most people get the double whammy because they were distracted by the cellphone and missed the flashing school zone light.Another thing to remember, school buses transporting kids to and from school make frequent stops to load and unload those little brats (that’s what the bus drivers call them…why can’t I??).When the bus driver turns on those alternating flashing lights, you must stop behind the bus.Not doing so is considered “Overtaking a School Bus” and is a sizeable fine.If you are on the opposite side of the street, going the opposite direction and there is a true median (grass, gravel, trees, cement or grassy knoll with a president buried there) separating your side from where the bus is, you do not have to stop for the bus.Although, you do have to stop for that bus if there is a divide in that median, or if there is only a painted line separating your side from the side where the bus is.

If you’re taking other people’s kiddos to school, you must have all children under the age of 5 years old or under 4’9” in a booster seat and all other kids must be seat belted.Thank God for that.Because, I don’t care what you say…kids are a major distraction.When I was a kid, we didn’t have cell phones or GPS and crap like that.The biggest distraction in the car when I was a kid…was kids!My Mom would have one hand on the wheel and the other just swinging away at us in the back seat.There is one advantage to taking other people’s kids to school though. You can get on the H.O.V. lane and use the kid as the second passenger.Brilliant?I think so.You may have just found your commuting partner.And it may just get you to work faster.

Until next week…watch out for kiddos.

Daun Thompson

( Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas, Texas )

FUEL, DO NOT FAIL ME NOW! HOW TO SAVE ON GAS THIS SUMMER

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With gas prices at their all time high, here are some tips that will help you to reduce fuel costs and get better mileage while out there on that Summer road trip.

· Check your tire pressure often (great time to check for nails and/or an ex-girlfriend’s nail file jammed in the grooves).

· Avoid idling (fact: bank robbers may be single-handedly causing a fuel crisis)

· Keep your engine tuned regularly (keep it purring like a kitten…kittens eat less than a full grown cat)

· Check for extra junk in the trunk (d.i.v.o.r.c.e.)

· Be certain to use your manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil

· Keep it close to the speed limit on the highway. It will also save you from a ticket from Johnny Law.

· Try to coast to a stop. This will surely piss other people off  (check…and check).

· Avoid slowly crawling up to a speed. 15 seconds to accellerate to 50 mph uses less fuel than taking 30 seconds to reach the same speed (this will also save you from a stray bullet from the guy in the dually).

· Close the car windows and run the A/C. Conserving on A/C does not really help. Especially at high speeds. Be comfortable on your journey…you cheapo!

Some refer to these driving techniques as hypermiling. Most of these techniques improve your car’s fuel efficiency by reducing the demands placed on the engine.So, it’s possible to improve fuel economy by 37% just by changing the way your drive. But, there are also some hypermiling methods that are controversial and could pose an element of danger…such as riding in a tractor trailer’s draft.Not cool, dude.

So, use your noodle.Also… Check out my April 19 blog if you’re really serious about conserving on fuel.

Until next week… Cool it on the fuel.

Daun Thompson

(Daun is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas)

The Information Super Highway

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We have come a long way since our automobiles just took us from point A to point B or a cellular phone just made phone calls, now both can do so much more.Come to think of it, when was the last time you heard a car referred to as an “automobile?”Grandpa’s drunken stories of when he lost his virginity in the back of a Studebaker and those images can send you to therapy.

The information super highway in this day and age is all too real for drivers everywhere.Back in the day we had to rely on maps and directions given to us by half nitwits who had no idea what they were talking about, kinda like the writer of this blog.Now with GPS, a nice un-sexy half female, half robot voice tells you where and when to turn.You can even ask your car where’s the nearest pizza joint to your current location.Now if your car can tell you where that cop shooting radar is hiding, then we will have made progress!

All this information can be very useful but when is it too much?It seems like no one is “right here, right now” anymore.We are off into cyberspace, living life bi-curiously through our Facebook and Twitter profiles, projecting to the world what we think our lives should be rather than what they really are.Our future generations will not have to know the concept of north, south, east and west, because GPS systems will tell them where to go, OK, maybe not to that extreme!

I think progress is a good thing but all I’m saying is, every now and then pull off the information super highway and take the scenic route, stop and smell the litter off the road.Appreciate your gift of life because we are only here for a short time, live in the here and now and put away your cell phone/life line and drive.

Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

I do NOT like road rage!

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“Everything is bigger and better in Texas!”That’s pretty much the un-official slogan of the lone star state but there is one more slogan you can add to the list; “Piss us off on the road and we’ll shoot you!”Road rage is an infectious psychotic pandemic that has swept across America since the 19—‘s and has grown with the change of pop culture and the so-called “advancement of society.”Long gone are the days of human decency and kindness to your fellow man…and woman.Even in Texas, that is referred to as the “Friendly State” has its fair share of Wild West shoot outs on our freeways.Now I know I have wrote on the subject of road rage more times than any other topic even more than the number of sexual innuendos…OK, sexual innuendos is leading by one. But road rage seems to be on the rise or maybe it’s just me lately feeling like I want to shot the a$$(-)*!% who just cut me off on the freeway!I’m afraid living in a big city like Dallas and all the freeway gridlock is turning me into the kind of person I do not like;some pretentious jerk who thinks it’s all about him and “screw everybody else.”I don’t want to be that person!I don’t want to tailgate an elderly person who might be driving too slowly like George Costanza shoving old people and children out of the way to escape a burning building.

I will have to do something different if I want to make a difference in my world, a world with no road rage and not so much stress when I drive.It seems like when I start my day everything is fine at first but after 2 miles on 635 I turn into Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome!I will have to keep a sign on my bath room mirror to remind me;“Today I will not get road rage and I will NOT shoot anyone!”Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

Why Take a Defensive Driving Course?

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Even if you consider yourself to be a cautious driver, there is no accounting for the behavior of other road users. You can greatly reduce your chance of being in an accident, however, by taking a defensive driving course, which will teach you how to drive in such a way that you are always prepared to act fast. A defensive driving course is also useful for removing points against your driving record, in some states.

Why Use an Online Defensive Driving Course?

It can be an inconvenience to have to drive to a defensive driving course, and to be bound by instructors’ teaching hours. An online defensive driving course consisting of informative and clear instructional videos can provide you with a simpler solution, and you can complete an online, video-based course during hours which suit your own schedule. Attending an online driving school that is recognized by the state might help you to have outstanding traffic tickets dismissed in court, too.

Signs, signs everywhere there’s signs

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OK, this one’s for my counter culture, artists, renegades and rouges.  It’s in our basic nature to defy authority and signs that warns us of danger.  You know the Scorpion and the Frog?  “… It’s our character!”  We will never change.  Everything from cigarette warning labels to speed limit signs, we give the one finger salute!  Why is that?  I smoke… (cigarettes) I know the dangers, yet I still light a stogie and toss down a few brews at the local neighborhood bars in Dallas.  The cigarette warning label didn’t even faze me.  And as for the beer bottle warning, well..I’m not pregnant and I’m not gonna be a man whore anymore.  When I see a stop sign and there is no one around, do I come to a complete stop, well…maybe.  Now some would say “Yes, I obey all signs and rules.”   These people I call bible beaters, hypocrites and politicians.   I’m not afraid to piss anybody off!  Besides those people don’t read me anyway, only you the cool people read me.  OK, enough kissing ass.

What I am trying to say is, certain signs are good…(Oh shit, I’m selling out so I can get paid!)  I mean if we didn’t have signs that direct traffic and regulate the speed of our vehicles, it wouldn’t be a Wonderful World, sorry Louie!  I think the next time I see a warning sign, I will heed that warning…(Oh no, the man’s got me!)  Next time I see a stop sign, I will stop behind the stop line until the car has come to a complete stop…( Oh man, I’m turning to the dark side of conformity!)  Just kidding, there is nothing wrong with following the rules of the road.  You can still stick to the man in other ways, like…Oh hell, I don’t know, watch Fight Club.  I’m sure you could be inspired to come up of some of your own. 

As far as the Scorpion and the Frog story, watch the movie Skin Deep (John Ritter, 1989) for the explanation on that one.  Besides, the man doesn’t pay me to waste words on that gem of a story.  And if you are reading this blog 3 weeks after the post date, than means my boss must be a rebel too.

Join me again next Monday, thanks for all the comments and e-mails!

 

Take care and be safe!-

Danny Keaton

www.myspace.com/comicdemexican

Welcome to the Main Event, The Old Driver vs. The Young Driver!

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OK, this one is going to raise some eyebrows, elderly drivers vs. teenage drivers, who’s the worst?  The little old lady who can barely look over the steering wheel wearing those giant sunglasses strong enough for a welder or the pimple face wearing his Hollister Dude gear texting his Betty without even having to look at the keys on the phone?  Which is more likely to slam into you?

 

Yes, there are some eighty and even ninety year olds who are good drivers and there are teenage drivers who don’t text message while driving; they probably had it taken away by their parents as punishment.  On average, which of the two do you think would be most likely to cause a ten car pile up on the freeway?

 

Let’s compare the two age groups in question: 16-20 and the 65+

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration in 2007, the driver involvement rates for fatal crashes per 100,000 of the population showed the 16-20 year age group as the second highest out of all the age groups with 21-24 being the highest.   Young drivers tend to take more chances and are less experienced behind the wheel.  The 65+ age group had the fewest fatalities; yes, with time comes wisdom, for some anyway.  So next time you see a Hummer full of high school cheerleaders or a Cadillac full of Bingo ladies, beware of the other drivers, you should drive as though you are the only sane one out there.

 

Let me know what you think and next week we will have round two:  the male driver vs. the female driver, who will win?

 

Take care-

Danny Keaton