- The Washington Times - Friday, January 19, 2001

Speeding may soon get you more than a simple traffic ticket. How about a warm and fuzzy stint at an "anger management" clinic?

In Arlington County, traffic offenders identified as "aggressive drivers" are being sent to the couch instead of traffic school (which was bad enough). This has been an option for traffic court judges since December, when the program first went into effect.

In essence, you're clearly not well in the head if you ignore or disobey the traffic edicts laid down by politicians. Arlington is famous for its radar traps and relentless enforcement of HOV lane restrictions. You need soothing voices. Perhaps a quiet talk about your childhood. Please, tell us about your mother…

Supposedly, of course, the anger management claptrap is intended only for "aggressive" drivers. The implication, of course, is that we're dealing only with dangerous, even homicidal motorists who are on the verge of "going Postal" behind the wheel. But no one has ever defined "aggressive driving" in anything other than absurdly vague generalities. The term is highly fluid and has been used by self-appointed "safety" advocates to encompass everything from simple speeding to vehicular jousting matches. It is often a judgment call on the part of the police officer, or, later, a judge.

The concept of "aggressive driving" is very clever and potentially quite ominous. For now, the term is taken to mean only those motorists who have come unhinged, who are deliberately reckless, looking to create mayhem. But given the absence of a clear definition, it's no great leap to imagine that the term "aggressive driving" will shift to encompass merely technical violations.

And instead of simply fining you and assessing points, a judge may send you to the shrink to deal with your "anger." People who run afoul of the safety lobby's edicts are not merely scofflaws they are considered in need of "treatment."

It's a brave new world, indeed.


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