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Yvette Maranowski

All of the Above, Mom

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HOW was traffic law developed? Is not taking turns at intersections, yielding to pedestrians, etc......a metaphor for real laws, just laws?

How do we have traffic laws everywhere---which have beauty in their simplicity, logic, and uniformity----yet we can't agree on how we should treat our next door neighbor, or even family members for that matter. What is the secret to traffic law development, and how can that be applied to universal laws governing human relations???

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  • Jan 18 2012: Traffic laws are not really laws. Most laws are just complex variations or clarifications of old common laws: Don't kill, don't harm, don't steal etc. These common laws exist as far back as civilization and are found in the bible etc. These laws are needed to enable a society to function. It would all fall apart very quickly if we were allowed to kill each other or steal each other's stuff. But these common laws do not stray into the areas of things like good manners. There is no law that says you have to be polite, or you must say please and thanks you, or you should queue in line. We don't need laws in this area. But when it comes to cars and roads, we need some codified rules - or else there would be permanent gridlock. Traffic laws are more akin to regulations than laws - they are designed to help things along, rather than to prevent heinous acts. If there is no other traffic, then driving on the wrong side of the road at 120mph and jumping red lights does no one any harm. But it's the fact that there are always other cars about, and each of the drivers has a reasonable expectation that they should be able to drive without the road being blocked by accidents, that means we need to have codified rules that everyone adheres to. The reason these are structured as laws is that there needs to be penalties for not adhering to the rules - because otherwise what's the point in having rules; it only takes one person to break the rules and the journeys of tens of thousands of others can be disrupted.