When it comes to public safety it sometimes seems as though the government works at a snail’s pace. It’s the nature of the beast though, as regulations and laws take a long time to develop and even longer before the public starts to respect them. Nobody is ever really happy about having to change their habits but when it comes to driver safety no compromise is too insignificant.

When I started working my first job after college I drove this one road every day. It’s a long one, with smooth curves and some not too gentle hills, that winds its way down the valley before reaching the city. It’s rarely busy, except during rush hour, and then of course you’ve got a few bottlenecks, but then, every road coming out of this city is backed up during rush hour. But that’s just one of the many distresses of traveling by car.

There are only a few drawbacks to this drive. It can get a little scary in rough weather and it’s always got at least one cop hidden somewhere on it – so you can’t speed when it’s nice out.

Did you have your emission test?

One night, I’m driving home with my girlfriend after a party and we get stopped by a roadside check. As we slowed to a stop, the officer leaned forward, in through the driver’s side window.

“How’re you kids doing tonight?” he said.

After asking us whether or not we’d had anything to drink (to which, thanks to good planning, I hadn’t) he began to examine the lower corner of my windshield. I realized he must be looking for the annual safety test sticker. I relaxed a bit with the knowledge that I had just gotten my safety test done the day before.

He stood up and asked, “Ever had your emissions test done, son?”

“My what?” I asked.

He proceeded to explain to me what an emissions test was and how not having one was breaking the law.

“Public safety, you know?” he said as he ripped the yellow sheet of paper, worth hundreds of dollars, off his little metal notepad, and handed it to me through the window.

Of course, I paid the ticket and got the test done. Fortunately, the car was up to standard and didn’t need anything replaced or repaired in order to get it back on the road. I was worried because I had heard that some of my buddies paid an arm and a leg just to make sure their car was safe to drive after they got their emissions test done.

Government works towards sustaining the environment

The funny thing was I never got mad. How could I? The government was finally reacting to public demand for cars to be less harmful on the environment like some of these top fuel efficient cars. The government had succeeded in reducing pollution by making the air quality safer. It’s not something that most of us would do on our own: we don’t have the money to get a hybrid, and most guys my age wouldn’t be caught dead driving any of the newer compacts.

Now that I know about emissions testing, and how often I need to get it done, I’ll avoid getting dinged with a fine in the future. Plus, I can sleep a little bit better knowing that I’m not contributing as much to pollution and helping improve the health of others all at the same time. It’s just one more example of how a driver’s knowledge about safety regulations can keep everyone much safer.