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Our legal system is far from perfect, as anyone who has had *any* dealings with it will tell you.
That being said, laws cannot be applied effectively on a case by case basis, particularly for the small things. What would be the cost to the citizens if everytime someone complained that "Well, it would have been OK to pull across the street here, I wasn't on a hill!" and a judge or equally qualified person had to go and evaluate that particular case?
How much of a grade was it really? Was it a 0.2% grade or a 3% grade? Did you actually use your emergency brake? Perhaps it was slick? You see how impractical this becomes. Laws are supposed to be uniform. Laws are supposed to be applied equally by justices (although I feel they rarely are. Judges have far too much unaccounted for power, that is frequently misused).
We already complain that we pay too much for local government. Do you want to add to the payroll someone whos job is to go around and see if you intelligently violated a law? And remember, laws (usually) only are created after a few idiots generate a need for it. So all it takes is a couple of people cutting across the street rushing to a parking place to make it unsafe. And, thinking on it a little more, that law is probably designed to prevent gridlock, by holding up traffic behind you as you try to get to that slot across the street.
Most traffic laws are designed as negative reinforcement. You do something, you get a ticket, you get inconvienced, maybe you'll remember not to do that next time. I don't always agree with the laws. Some appear to be nothing more than someones attempt to make a "lasting" mark on society. "Yep, my pappy wrote that law that says you can't back into a parking spot!". The reality is that law was probably written before front wheel drive cars, and was designed so that a car could be towed, either if it wouldn't start, or was abandoned. It's a lot harder to tow a car from the front with the parking brake on than vice versa.
Of course, we're only outraged at laws that personally bother us. Speeding laws are generally ridiculous, especially on highways. On 285 (big loop road around Atlanta), EVERYONE drives 80 in the left lane. You don't, you get run over. The citizens have declared the speed limit to be 80. And I agree with this. But the signs still say 65. Who's right, who's wrong? Most of the accidents on 285 occur in the right lanes as people get on or off the loop. It has not been demonstrated that driving 80 is unsafe in the left lane, and in fact, you're more liable to create an accident at 65 as people go around you. And when someone passes you like that, they clip chrome off your right rear and right front. We don't waste time with getting a few car lengths past you before moving back over. We're gonna get your attention, and the message is "If you can't drive what the traffic is flowing, get the hell out of the lane, because you do NOT have a right to impede traffic flow just because the sign says 65.".
Yes, many laws can be demonstrated to be idiotic. Many laws can be reasonably demonstrated to have been created because of a need. And laws have to be (or are supposed to be) uniformly applied, or the ACLU gets all upset and costs everyone a lot more money. Yes, judges are often unaccountable and arbitrary. It's an imperfect system. But have you actually ever sat in traffic court and listened to the excuses these idiots give? And they're out there on the road, with their K-Mart licences, inability to read/speak English, and piloting a 4000lb cruise missile!
Just learn to park like a normal person.
Update: There are a lot of "silly" laws, like "Prohibited stopping or standing". I believe these laws were added to tightened the net, since some pain in the butt lawyer got someone who was guilty off on a technicality. That's why for the big crimes they always hit these people with 80 gazillion crimes. "Intent to move quantities of controlled substances." Probably the hit them with "Trafficking in controlled substances" and some shyster lawyer for a guy nailed with 200 kilos of coke in his trunk said "Well, your honor, no one actually saw the drugs *move*, so even though they *were* in his car, it's not really trafficking, since that involves the clear movement of materials, and not intent.". So they fixed that.
P.S.: Me, I'd love to see sunset requirements on all new laws, and 3 laws having to be revoked to create a new one. There's too many BS laws on the books, like it being illegal to walk down Main St. on your hands on Sunday morning. Why are we wasting paper with this?
In reply to (jcwren) Re: (3) (OT) japhy gets a ticket (grumble)