Every day on my really short trip to the office at TÜV Rheinland I see so many traffic violations that if I had one euro for each violation, I could turn around and drive home again – and take the day off. If you pay attention to it just once and don’t just shrug your shoulders saying “C’mon, it’s no big deal”, you notice a lot of rule violations really quickly. Granted, they’re all just little transgressions. Pushing the pedal just before the traffic light changes from amber to red. Going over the speed limit just once. Or crossing the double white line without giving it much thought. I could list many such examples. And one thing becomes clear: a supposedly small issue can quickly turn into a big deal. Because all of these small rule violations only work if other road users take them into consideration and do the thinking for the rule breaker as well. If you do not brake your vehicle because another road user crosses the double white line, you are likely to have a traffic accident.
Regulations – not exactly trendy
It’s a similar story when your wannabe masters of the art of driving stand together at a party and talk about having been “caught”. In other words, they were filmed by a speed camera. That’s when you hear the ever popular statement: “This is all just a big rip-off!” Up to this point I often just listen and nod friendly. But then I have to say something and reveal myself as someone who doesn’t take it easy with rules: “Why don’t you stick to the speed limit? Then you won’t be caught by the speed camera.” This is the point at which the conversation usually ends rather quickly.
Or at another party where they don’t know me yet, you can hear such clever sentences as: “I just went that way (turned left where it’s forbidden).” Then it’s my turn again: “That’s not allowed.” Silence. The conversation is almost finished again. But sometimes even the guy who believes he is the best driver in the world will talk to me although I probably don’t know any better because I seem to have very little experience in road traffic. “If you drive a lot, you do it once in a while.” Or: “I do it all the time. It’s no big deal.”
“The other guy’s got brakes, too”
The best thing is when the King of the Road shows me why he’s king: “The other guy’s got brakes, too” Silence. But this time it’s me who is silent. Because I’m speechless. Speechless because some people actually expect others to brake when they violate the rules. After a little pause, I finally say: “It’s still not allowed.” End of conversation.
Is that right? Is there actually an expectation that some people should just forego their right of way to keep the traffic moving? Did I fundamentally misunderstand something in driving school and in daily driving practice? Am I doing something wrong if I really go 30 km/h in a 30 km/h zone (because there is a kindergarten there)? This is when I often experience that the person behind me seems to perform a physical experiment by trying to crush the atoms between his bumper and my bumper. I made a mistake again there. And I know which one: I should have gone at least 40 km/h in the 30 km/h zone.
Rules and regulations are there for our safety
There are many more such examples: In a living street, for example, where cars are not allowed to go faster than walking pace. Walking pace means a pedestrian could walk next to the car, right? As long as I think that way, I’ll never be the hub of the party talking about the coolest (unpunished) traffic violations. And it’s not what I want, either. Even if it means that I will stand by myself at a table. I work at TÜV Rheinland. And I’m proud of that. Perhaps such conversations would take a little longer among colleagues. I’m not sure yet.
One thing is certain though: TÜV Rheinland stands for safety. Safety that contributes to fewer accidents. Safety means reliability, a good feeling – and also longer life. Let’s face it: When you enter an elevator and you see the sticker on the side which clearly indicates that the elevator has been inspected and will not have to be inspected again for another year or two, it gives you a sense of safety and security. Right? Maybe a freshly inspected elevator would be too boring for the people whose valuable time I stole with my “that’s-not-allowed” mantra.
Yes, many things are not allowed. But for good reason, too. Somebody’s thought about that before. It’s likely that fatal accidents have already occurred. Then you don’t have to make the same mistake again. Or do you? Do the rule violators of this world believe they know better? Do these people refuse to be patronized? Is this about individual decisions you insist on making yourself?
Not being more papal than the pope …
Leaving aside the fact that you violate the law every time you break the rules – rules help us lead a safe life. TÜV Rheinland ensures compliance with these rules. We don’t want to patronize anyone or pretend to know better. We test according to legal requirements until the level of safety required to affix a seal to the elevator is reached. Or to a motor vehicle. And I am sure that this is also welcomed by people who like to disregard rules sometimes.
You don’t have to be more papal than the pope, do you? Yes, you do. At least that’s what I believe. When it comes to human life, one should really do everything possible to ensure maximum safety. I’m convinced that if everyone really followed the rules, there would be significantly fewer accidents and fewer deaths on the roads, for example. And that’s something we’d all benefit from.