Reckless Driving?

Apr 18, 2005
207
3
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Norman
www.stormgasm.com
Okay, apparently I'm not allowed to name the Tour Company, which illegally and dangerously passed me on the RIGHT in an intersection, while I was already technically speeding a solid 5-10 mph over the speed limit in a small downtown area with an entire line of chasers in front and behind me, so it wasn't like that Tour Van was going to get any farther ahead of me by risking an accident!

What is reckless driving? I've seen plenty of cases of illegal driving, which I think are pretty excusable, but are not reckless; quickly stopping and pulling over in front of other vehicles to get a good view of a storm is bad, but forgivable, speeding down a road with no other nearby vehicles in sight, dangerous only for the speeding car and nobody else. I even complain when it happens, but I quickly forget all those past instances of cars cutting-me-off by switching lanes or turning into my lane from side roads with no warning. I even put up with the chasers who set up there cars to impersonate police vehicles, so they flash their lights behind other chasers in order to get cars to pull over, so they can get into better position (I won't name any names, but I don't appreciate driving behind vehicles that blind me with super bright flashing lights, and I'm sure the public doesn't enjoy it either).

Back to the tour company; their supposed to be the most responsible chasers on the road, because the lives of their clients are in their hands, but whatever...

I'm not suggesting any kind of action besides the advertisement of outrageous illegal activities by the Storm Chasing Tour groups. I have no problem with Storm Chasing Tour Companies with exception of the one, which is not allowed to be listed above, so whatever...
 
I know it has been brought up here before with no success to perhaps create a website/page where chasers could log all these yahoos with pics/description. Not really a way to enforce anything but maybe a sobering alternative/heads up/educational thing. It does not help chaser community to call the cops on other chasers... but in your case Simon, these idiots are not (responsible) storm chasers... they are a bunch of suits that bring people out there and their goal is to please the customers and rake money. I've seen many other tour companies over the years, most are very respectable and could set a great example for any chaser when it comes to safety record, etc... But the behavior you mentioned here is bad.
On 4/24/2007 there were vehicles out there in C KS flashing anything they possibly could, long after the storm gusted out... I also noticed some displaying flashing blue and orange lights - but obviously not LE vehicles. What the heck do you need those things flashing for... attention. That's it. But these lights do the intended trick. When you see them behind you obviously wanna try to get out of the way... just to see a yahoo kid behind the wheel passing by...where is this whole thing going to...
Hopefully not to a day where locals are going to throw rocks at chasers every time they see them approach their town...
Not trying to start another light bars discussions here.
On the other hand, for the shear number of chasers out there, and it seemed like everybody was out there, 99.9% were acting very responsibly, pulling completely off the road, driving slow along side of parked vehicles, etc... it was real good :).
 
Dec 11, 2003
377
0
5
Shelton, CT
stormgasm.com
I, too, was passed by this same chasing tour van in the same town. I was several cars behind Simon. This van was gunning it through a downtown area in a small Kansas town. There is no excuse for this type of reckless driving. At any point a local could have pulled out of a business or their driveway without looking and boom - nasty accident.
 

Joe Nield

EF5
Jul 31, 2004
689
0
5
40
Plainfield, Indiana
Visit site
We were paSsed on a double yellow line while going uphill by a Certain chAse Tour company during the May 24, 2004 southern Nebraska/Northern Kansas tornadofest.

I've seen many things on the road, and I have to say that I was STUNNED by this.
 
Dec 18, 2003
4,138
39
11
Lubbock, TX
daviddrummond.com
If I started posting up all the wonderful pictures and video of "stupid chaser stunts" I have collected over the last several years I could make one hell of a website and call out about 90% of the chasers on the road. The other 10% could probably do the same on me. Every single chaser on the road has had their moments(s) of stupidity on the road and if they say they never have I say they are lying or rarely get on the road. It's part of what happens in the heat of the chase.

In the end all it will do is hurt other people, hurt chasing in general, help continue to foster the ever increasing rift going on right now in the chaser social circles and probably end up in a few lawsuits for slanderous and/or libelous activity.
 
Dec 19, 2005
517
5
11
33
Saltillo, MS
www.facebook.com
im not a reckless driver...i take it very seriously, but usually drive alot faster then the posted speed limits...im well aware that the biggest danger for chasing is road hazards, and i show that respect when out in the field...i dont see any since in wrecking, dying or getting pulled over as your storm moves away...
 
It's not the speeding or passing that is what bothers me a lot (probably because I am guilty as sin on both of them), but the parking and standing in the roads that really gets me. On the Protection supercell on Monday I had two jackasses of the highest degree park (and I mean park, not stop) in both of the two lanes, side by side, going through some little town in the far NE Texas panhandle. They were sitting there talking to each other like it was their job to block the road. The really stupid thing was that this was even before the storm went severe warned. I could understand something stupid better in the heat of battle, but there was no heat and there was no battle at this point. It was right in the middle of a town so they saw us approaching from behind for at least a minute because the speed limit was like 30mph and they didn't even bother to move over to only block one lane. I layed on the horn as I went by. It took every ounce of strength I had not to wave with one finger. Later on I saw these same jackasses and took a picture of them. I will put it up on here tonight under the banner of "YOU ARE A JACKASS". I saw them routinely throughout the night and that one incident was not the extent of their jackassery. \
On Tuesday on the McPherson storm I had another moron, which also happend to be a tour group, pull off on a dirt road right off the main road and set up for pictures and video. This would have been fine, but everybody that was in the vans set up their frickin tripods blocking the road that was left open to the left of the van. They acted like they owned the place. This has happened to me before and it is one of my biggest pet peves. I was trying to shoot North on that back road to catch up to where the tornado was going to touch down (if it did). I slowed down and kept heading straight for them as I gradually turned so they would get the idea that they needed to move and they eventually did. I swear I'm going to yell obscenities out the window from now on when it happens.
I know sooner or later a picture of my car is going to end up on here for "reckless driving" so I might as well be honest up front. I really don't feel like I drive recklessly, but the more cars there are around the more reckless my kind of driving can appear. On Tuesday by McPherson there was a long line of cars on the highway in front us going a solid 15mph under the speed limit. I did pass a lot of them, but I did it in passing zones. I will be the first to admit though that I do speed on storms and I will pass you like you're standing still if I feel like it is a safe place to do it, but I would never do anything where I felt like I was jeopardizing anybody elses safety other than my own.
 
What I'm about to say is not going to be very popular with some folks here, but it's blatantly obvious that one or more of the mods are in bed with the tour group under discussion here. While I was not chasing nor did I witness the actions that several folks on this forum described, the driving practices of this tour group clearly pissed off a lot of people on April 24 in KS - this was not just an isolated incident. Many, if not most of us, are guilty of "bending" the laws of the road from time to time. This was clearly different. I am furious that posts relating to this incident were removed from the 4/24 "Reports" thread, and Stormtrack members were threatened against further posts on the matter. As a storm chasing forum, it is essential that we discuss and promote safe driving practices, even if it's not "popular" and it means stepping on someone’s toes. It's a matter of time before we tune into CNN and see something like: "BREAKING NEWS! Tornado chaser plows into minivan on busy Kansas highway, killing family of five." That would spell the end of the hobby for all of us... Enough said. - bill
 
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Dec 18, 2003
4,138
39
11
Lubbock, TX
daviddrummond.com
I wasn't part of the removal, I didn't even see the post because I was out chasing, but I can tell you that anything that is NOT a REPORT about the storms was and will be removed from the REPORTS section if reported by someone or we catch it. The rules on it are very clear on that, I'm not sure why it's so difficult for some people to understand what does and does not go there.
 
I don't know why you shouldn't be allowed to post any pictures or names of a tour group's bad behavior if you have evidence to back it up. Nobody stopped a guy whose name I won't mention from trying to discredit me in the Reports thread. Why would a tour group get protection? That doesn't make any sense to me.
Maybe one of the moderators or Tim if he has time could explain the reasoning behind this if it is in fact true.
 
Mar 2, 2004
25
0
1
O'Fallon, Missouri
I have to agree with David Drummond's post on the matter. The posting of pictures/video of reckless actions will only lead to endless flame wars and lawsuits for years to come. We all at one time or another screw up in the field in the heat of the moment of a chase. The best way is to correct those actions after realizing what you did. Im sure this is much easier said than done for some people. The promotion of safe chasing through videos and correspondance with those new and old on safe chasing practices is essential if we all want the hobby to continue. The assumption and desire to get as close as possible no matter what is likely as I fear lead to one or more deaths of chasers and or innocent bystanders. This will in the plains likely lead to fierce regulation of chasing or banning of chasing in certain states/counties and or cities within the plains.
 
Dec 18, 2003
4,138
39
11
Lubbock, TX
daviddrummond.com
No one is going to ban or regulate chasing for one reason only, THERE IS NO MONEY TO BE MADE FOR DOING SO. Well, two reasons, it would also be nearly impossible to enforce. There are already plenty of traffic laws on the books to take care of any driving concerns out there.

What I don't get, everyone is always so worried about the public's perception, the law enforcement perception, the NWS perception, really EVERYONE's perception about storm chasing......then instead of quietly taking their concerns about someone's behavior to that person directly and PRIVATELY, they instead go to a forum/list that is frequented by.... the public, law enforcement, NWS, etc and proceed to draw a huge amount of attention to the matter.

The public slamming of our peers seems to go all the way back to the inception of WXCHASE. Frankly, it got old a long time ago.

Seems a little counter productive, does it not?
 
Feb 26, 2004
813
0
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Tulsa
www.stormdriven.com
I'm all for post on the monetary & media driven reckless driving over the poor judgement reckless driving.
Not saying all are reckless but there is a conscience desicion being made by some to risk safety of others for their paycheck or pride ..... The intent is what makes the difference.

9
 
Dec 18, 2003
4,138
39
11
Lubbock, TX
daviddrummond.com
I'm all for post on the monetary & media driven reckless driving over the poor judgement reckless driving.
Not saying all are reckless but there is a conscience desicion being made by some to risk safety of others for their paycheck or pride ..... The intent is what makes the difference.

9
So who decides which is which? Because a vehicle has labels on it moves them from a lapse in judgement to a conscience decision to risk people's safety for money? Just curious how that works? How does a witness to something peer into the mind of the driver to know their intent?
 

Jay McCoy

EF5
Dec 6, 2003
1,205
11
6
52
Amarillo, Texas
The assumption and desire to get as close as possible no matter what is likely as I fear lead to one or more deaths of chasers and or innocent bystanders. This will in the plains likely lead to fierce regulation of chasing or banning of chasing in certain states/counties and or cities within the plains.
There really is no way to legislate or ban chasing. The roads are open to the public and we as taxpayers have every right to use them.

BUT...

It could lead to law enforcement using existing laws to target and clamp down on chasers in general. No more letting that 5mph over slide without a ticket or stopping on the side of the road unless their is an emergency. Along with many states having laws against thing like scanners or media devices such as a tv or laptop able to be viewed by the driver which would hurt us all. Somebody would have to sit in the backseat with the laptop so the driver couldnt see it.

I worry more about the tour groups causing some major incident than 1 chaser. If a chaser and a farmer have a wreck it wont make national news. But if a van loaded with tourists doing 80mph down the shoulder passing cars on the right (I have seen it) gets killed after plowing into a tractor then it will be all over CNN.

Since they carry passengers they should be held to the highest standards. We all should be held accountable but they are at a much higher risk of multiple fatalities than 2 people in an SUV.

Like I have said we all do stupid things and 1 incident shouldnt be blasted all over the net. (I have sped myself and not only while chasing but I dont pass people on the right or stop in the road or pass going up a blind hill). They should be talked to in PM form so they can respond and maybe learn from it. But when the same people do this stuff over and over it becomes an issue we all need to talk about and if it takes posting pictures showing them repeatedly then so be it.
 
Dec 10, 2003
711
0
0
Great Plains
A vehicle that is labeled indicates that they are "professionals" - it gives the perception that they should know what they are doing and they should know better. That is in the very least the perception it gives.

Imagine a car, unmarked, and unlabeled speeding by a chaser. Now imagine a labeled chase vehicle with mesonet, skywarn stickers, flashing amber lights and strobes speeding by the same chaser. The reaction is different internally because the preception is different. The first car may be labeled a "local yahoo" because unless it is a well known chaser, you dont know who they are, and besides, they aren't advertising themselves.

Bottom line is a labeled, marked chase car - or worse yet a labeled, marked TOUR OPERATOR - not only is advertising themselves as chasers - they are also advertising their reputation as chasers AND OTHER CHASERS BY PERCEPTION with how they drive and how they, unintentionally or not, endanger others. If someone is going to advertise themselves as chasers, complete with all the stickers, magnets, lightbars, antennae, and weather equipment, and be reckless, then they should accept the consequences of being called out on their actions. They brought it on themselves - and they, more than any other group of people, reflect more on the chase community because of their visibility.

A school bus that carries people is no different than a tour operator that carries people. People are people. How many of you would call out a school bus operator driving recklessly? How many would pick up the phone and immediately call the district and have the driver suspended or fired? Bottom line is, if ANYONE put in charge of transporting people for any reason - school bus driver, taxi driver, limo driver, shuttle operator - bus driver, and chase tour operator - is, while transporting others, driving recklessly, they should absolutely be called out - that is just common sense and anything else is just not right.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
2,202
705
11
41
Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
I agree that complaining about specific groups or individuals directly on a message board will do little good. You would have more influence speaking directly to the person, but it can also be hard convincing someone who is acting in his or her own self-interest that their actions or behavior pose an issue of some sort.

That being said, I think we should be concerned about perception to some degree. Perception often becomes reality, and perceptions can affect how everyone in the group is treated by others who hold said perceptions (public, law enforcement, NWS, etc.). This scenario is really no different than someone with a prestigious role in a community who becomes the source of controversy and gets a bum rap..perceptions and reputations can have negative consequences too.
 
Feb 26, 2004
813
0
0
Tulsa
www.stormdriven.com
So who decides which is which? Because a vehicle has labels on it moves them from a lapse in judgement to a conscience decision to risk people's safety for money? Just curious how that works? How does a witness to something peer into the mind of the driver to know their intent?
I don't know the intent of the guy walking down the street with a gun but I might just call someone to find out .

Action could show intent, their experiance could show intent and how many times they've been seen doing it. I guess though that could be left to their employer if it's a media outlet and done with phone calls by the public.

Ones that do it for their own production , there is not much you can do but not buy their product or call them and maybe they well see the light.

I really would rather worry about others things personally though but there is a few certain ones who go too far.
But I see how any type of posting can be abused . Especially if someone has a greivance towards someone ( something that happens a lot on here alone)
 
Jun 19, 2005
883
144
6
New Mexico
It has been done before on storm track before where people have been called out for pirating photos. I believe that that we should be allowed to call people out for being reckless drivers, which is certainly a more serious matter.





Although we all may not be perfect angels when driving, it is clear when others are over the top and reckless. I’ve seen plenty of storm chasers drive beyond what I would feel comfortable doing, but I have yet to see someone be reckless. However, if I did I would certainly want to call them out. Also, if I was reckless I would want someone to tell me, because that should be a warning to me that I need to change my driving habits. With a tour company, they should almost be role models for storm chasing and go beyond the norm to be good storm chasers.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
7,448
1,006
21
52
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
What good does calling someone out do? Think about it - if you drive like a madman, will seeing your picture on here make you stop? No way... This is just a way to get people ticked off.
 
Jun 19, 2005
883
144
6
New Mexico
What good does calling someone out do? Think about it - if you drive like a madman, will seeing your picture on here make you stop? No way... This is just a way to get people ticked off.
I believe it would affect the way an individual would drive. If it becomes well known you drive recklessly, you will recieve less help from others, and perhaps you need that little wake up call. With a tour company I believe it would force you to quickly change your driving actions. If it is known some tour company drives recklessly I believe less individuals will then use that tour company.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
7,448
1,006
21
52
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
People that use tour companies are probably not readers of this forum... People that drive extreme to get to a storm, are not going to hear of a monster wedge 15 miles away and say "wait, what if ST users find out about it, so I'll slow down."
 
Dec 30, 2003
246
1
6
Oklahoma City
ussfletcher.org
The legal definition of reckless driving may vary from one jurisdiction to another but generally it's defined as, "a wanton disregard for life and property" or something similar. The elements of the offense may involve several moving violations occurring at or near the same time, or a single violation committed in an extraordinarily dangerous manner.

Those who witness reckless driving and want something done about it need to contact someone who is in a position to do that, meaning law enforcement, the employer or the driver himself. If that's not done it's almost a certainty the poor driving will continue. Maybe your complaint will fall on deaf ears but at least you'll know you tried.

As for banning chasing, I don't think it'll happen because it'd undoubtedly be found unconstitutional. There are already ample traffic laws on the books to deal with this kind of thing and if there's not a LEO handy to observe the violation firsthand and take enforcement action, then it's up to those who did see it to step up to the plate and take action. Public discussion might be okay insofar as trying to find out if others saw the same thing but after that I think it's pointless.
 
Oct 10, 2005
123
0
6
Tulsa
hotmail.com
Speaking of reckless driving, there was an email sent to every mass media group in Tulsa today complaining about a RED FORD RANGER (tag numbers were given) that was passing people at way over the speed limit yesterday. The complaint also stated that they were passing on the shoulder and in no passing zones. The person who wrote an email that stated that the driver was flashing his lights, honking at others on the road as he flew by. This really makes us look bad especially when there are SKYWARN stickers pasted all over the place....
This needs to stop as these people are putting the public at more risk than the storms in their area....
 
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