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Bookmark and Share | Posted: Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 | Comments (2)

Oklahoma Traffic Laws

By: Steve Byas

You are driving home, late at night. Even worse, your wife, mother, or child is driving home late at night. In the rear view mirror, you or a loved one sees a flashing light. The car has no markings to indicate that it is a police, highway patrol, or sheriff’s car, but thinking it must be an unmarked police car, you or your loved one pull over.

In a few moments, it becomes apparent that the person who “pulled you over,” is not a law enforcement official, but rather a criminal who has stopped you or your loved one, not to write a ticket for some minor traffic infraction, but intends to rob, rape, or kill you.

This scenario plays itself out all too often across the United States. It has happened in Oklahoma. Yet, our lawmakers at Twenty-third and Lincoln seem coldly indifferent to the dangerous situation created by the Unmarked Police Car. Or, perhaps they are ignorant. Whatever the reason, you or a loved one could wind up robbed, raped, or murdered, all to keep the money rolling into the coffers of law enforcement and city governments.

A few years ago, I brought this up with a Republican state Senator, and the senator’s response was that the only calls she had gotten on the issue were from supporters of unmarked police cars. When I asked what the callers did for a living, she replied that they were in law enforcement. It seems that police officers can make a little extra dough working overtime in these unmarked cars.

Unmarked cars have their place in the toolbox of undercover cops investigating crimes like murder, robbery, and rape. They have no place in the enforcement of routine traffic laws, jaywalking, and litter bugging.

The driving force behind the use of unmarked police cars in traffic law enforcement is not public safety – it is revenue enhancement, pure and simple. Why don’t lawmakers at the Capitol put a stop to this? Legislators are afraid of the law enforcement lobby – they don’t want to be branded as “anti-law enforcement.”

Just for the record, I have never been pulled over by a cop in an unmarked car. And, I’m not against cops. Police officers have tough jobs, and I appreciate their being on the front lines against criminals. I just think they need to go after criminals, not drive around in unmarked police cars, getting overtime and increasing revenue for the city government.

Seat belt laws are another achievement of the Nanny Staters. They are another revenue enhancer for local law enforcement, and another excuse to stop a citizen driving down the road minding his own business. Several years ago, I was in a discussion with someone on the topic of seat belt laws. I said that I always wear my seat belt, but it is not the role of government to tell us to wear one. Government is there to protect us from others hurting us, not to protect us from hurting ourselves.

The person countered that not wearing a seat belt and getting hurt in a car wreck “adds to the cost of the health care system.” (And that is how socialized medicine will lead to control over every aspect of our lives, but that is another column). This person liked to go out drinking, and I can guarantee you that alcohol has added to the cost of the health care system far beyond not wearing seat belts has ever done.

Now, we have those who want to ban talking a cell phone while driving. Another law, and another excuse for a law enforcement officer to pull somebody over. The argument is that someone talking on a cell phone is “distracted,” and not paying full attention to driving. This is absurd. A person talking on a cell phone is no more distracted than a driver talking to other passengers in the car. If a person is driving down the road “texting,” then they are probably distracted, but someone driving down the road with a phone in his ear is no more distracted than someone listening to the radio.

We already have laws on the books in which a person can be ticketed for not paying attention to their driving. If someone is truly distracted to the point that they are a danger to others on the road, stop them. Give them a warning, or even a ticket, but let’s don’t add another law to the books which makes a liberal feel better.

Reader Comments:

Name: Richard D
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 09:57:38 PM
Comment: I agree with his article. A seat belt law is just a probible cause to pull you over to try to give you a ticket for revenue. Plus if you fail to produce other document such as license , insurance, or registration there's another ticket possibly you vehicle could be towed costing you more money. I also do not like unmarked police cars for traffic violations. It's a form of entrapment in my book. Here in Tulsa Oklahoma there is a stretch of freeway 169 in Tulsa City limits. While people do speed on this stretch of highway. The city uses unmarked dodge chargers in this area. And they are all different in color and very hard to pick out. And seeing an officer in it? Yeah right. Not with limo tint on the windows so you can't see in. Another thing that's illegal for the average citizen to have on his vehicle. I do not travel this stretch of road very often. I don't mind an officer doing his job. But when it come to a police vehicle can legally have something on it like limo tint that illegal to the public, well it kind of upsets me.

Name: Hector
Date: Saturday, June 11th, 2016 02:00:12 PM
Comment: I have a question about unmarked cop car, well last night i was going to work and i noticed a car in the shoulder. Was a blue crown vic, i know the body style of them, this was around 22:55 pm and i noticed the car to move a little. So, i ended up slowing down a bit thinking it might be a cop and idk how he got me going over the speed limit when i wasnt infront of him was about a car lenght behind. But ive been pulled over before by normal marked cop cars, what was very diffrent about this stop was that the whole time i had passed that car in the shoulder i kept looking back in my rear view mirror the whole time to see if it was a cop and if he was going to turn his blue and red lights on or signal indicate a lane change from the shoulder, but no he didnt do either and he straight up cut off in between two cars to get to the middle lane where i was driving, and again the whole time looking in my rear view mirror waiting to see some lights before he cut that car off or signal indicator to switch lane and nope this cop ended up putting his lights on when he got to the middle lane then switch them on. When the cop came up i responded i know i was speeding and im sorry for that and he failed to identify himself nor asked why he pulled me over, so he came back with the tickett and i asked him sir is it ok for you to not signal indicate a lane change or turn ur lights on before u toom off from the shoulder and cut that other car off. His response was priceless and baffled me all he said was, "OH" then after thinking about it he said he had his emergency lights on and again let me remind u im looking at the rear view mirror the whole time and i notice no lights to even show he was a cop till he was behind me. Is there something i can do in court to fight this cause i dont mind the tix just how he carried out that routine traffic stop in an unmarked police car and was dark and came to the passenger side window and of course at 22:55 pm will be kinda hard to see so woulf like some more info on umarked police cars that had no signal indicator he was a cop or lane change. Thank you any info is preciated. Thanks

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About Steve Byas

Steve Byas is editor of the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper. He may be contacted at: byassteve@yahoo.com

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