Friday, September 18, 2009

New Found Respect for the BMV

Around the first of this month I received a notice from the Indiana BMV. It was letting me know that the two speeding tickets that I earned over the last twelve months had afforded me unique status among my fellow drivers. I was being invited to join the "Indiana Driver Safety Program"! For only $50.00, four hours of online study, fourteen quizzes, and one "final" to ensure that I had mastered the material; get this - I would be allowed to keep my Driver's License! Of course I couldn't say no to such an honor as this.

Actually, once I recovered from my driven sense of personal violation (NPI), I paid the fifty and logged on to The first image to greet me was a dozen Indy cars racing around a track, "OK BMV... rub it in". The next image made up for that one. The beautiful woman relaxing with her laptop and enjoying the coursework made me think, "I can do this" and I dove into the purpose statement.

The purpose of Indiana Online Driver Improvement is to remind you of many factors related to safe driving on the roads and highways of Indiana. Over time, drivers often forget many of the vital ingredients necessary for survival on the roads in our state. This safe driving program will reinforce many concepts you may have learned when first taught to drive, while also teaching you new methods and laws to practice forever.

It already seemed pedantic and overbearing... "teach ME new methods & laws to practice forever, right."

It took about four days to complete the fourteen chapters and review. Somewhere around chapter five I had to admit that this was really some good stuff. I actually found myself trying to be a better driver. The "rules of the road" that before had seemed so arbitrary were beginning to make sense.

Solid and ofttimes sobering statistics lay behind the boundaries placed on our driving freedoms. Road rage in one driver has the potential to set off a chain of destruction affecting numbers of other drivers and their families. Alcohol is involved in over one-third of all driving fatalities and teenage drivers account for well over fifty percent of all accidents. Aggressive driving increases the likelihood of serious accident exponentially, not to mention the death toll, the permanent injuries, the financial cost of driver self-indulgence etc., these gruesome numbers are beginning to awaken me to the importance of this stuff.

OK... now here is the segue.

At times for me and possibly many others the Bible seems to be a sort of spiritual rules of the road. Arbitrary rules from a bored sovereign who has nothing better to do than make life miserable. "Put off this... put on that... never let this be named among you... don't steal, don't lie, don't worship other gods or commit adultery, don't covet and always forgive... even your enemies" - the list goes on and on it seems. But what if we could see the "numbers & statistics" that God sees? What if the cost (to ourselves & others) of ignoring this wisdom far exceeds the temporal benefit we might personally receive from indulging ourselves by "breaking the rules"? What if our actions or inaction have the power to set off a chain of events that bring blessing or curse? What if we could, like Ashton Kutcher in the movie The Butterfly Effect, actually see the long-term consequences of our choices? Would obeying God make more sense? Would the signposts of scripture make more sense?

Thank-you BMV.

Humbled & Challenged,
scott rieger


  1. You can break the speed limit with YOUR car, Scott? or was it the day you used my truck?

  2. Thank you "Admonisher"

    So disappointed to hear that "Aggressive driving increases the likelihood of serious accident exponentially". Is there another way to get out aggression? From a man who uses "boxing in" as a sport on long road trips, this comes as a real wake-up call.

    BTW, I too, had to take a defensive driving course after an accident that I caused. This was back in the days of a 2-hour video tape and mail-in, scantron test.