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September 20, 2006

Driving while Bostonian

Some people use the acronym "DWB" to refer to "driving while black." The argument is that police often stop black drivers for no good reason, just because they're black and the officer is suspicious.

But I think DWB could equally refer to "driving while Bostonian," and in that case, there's a damned good reason to be suspicious of Bostonian drivers. I spent some time living in the Boston area when I was younger and didn't need a car. But I observed just how horrible Boston drivers could be. I saw at least one driving the wrong way down a one-way street. I saw another making an illegal U-turn . . . around a police car. And not long afterwards, I read an article in the New York Times about New Yorkers living in Boston. One would assume that New Yorkers would already have encountered basically everything that's even remotely possible on the roads. But the people interviewed for the article admitted their utter fear of driving in Boston. I recall that one woman said that she'd never before seen five-way intersections that had no traffic light. She said her strategy at those intersections was to put her foot on the accelerator and close her eyes.

And now, here's an interesting story (via Fark) about a Boston-area driver from Attleboro, about 40 miles south, who was driving in the Boston suburb of Newton. The teenaged driver was at a stop light in Newton in the early hours of the morning, with his foot on the brake, and didn't move when the light turned green. A police officer got out of his car, shouted at him, and then banged his flashlight on the car until the driver woke up. At this point, the story gets better:

The report states Bordne [the teenager] looked at the officer after several minutes, but drove away through the red light.

The officer followed Bordne's car, and watched as it crashed into the same telephone pole on Glenmore Terrace three times, according to the report.

"(I) observed the vehicle drive into the telephone pole located at the end of the street. I then observed the vehicle reverse approximately 3 to 4 feet and then again drive straight into the telephone pole. The vehicle then reversed a second time and then a third time drove into the pole," the officer wrote.
The teenager tried to elude police but was trapped on someone's yard. The police got him out of the car and -- get ready for a surprise -- he failed sobriety tests.

If the guy weren't so young, I'd swear I saw him drive when I was living up there.