Right turn on red; thank you President Ford

I received my driver's license in 1969 and honestly don't remember a time when I couldn't right turn on red (RTOR). But as I read through tributes to former President Gerald Ford I discovered he pushed for a national law permitting RTOR. Living in a small New Mexico town, I never realized it was an issue elsewhere in the country. The practice still is not allowed in New York City, a lesson I quickly learned the first time I drove into Manhattan.

Ford signed legislation urging states to adopt RTOR as a fuel-saving measure, reducing the time drivers spent idling at a stop light. This came after the country looked for ways to reduce its dependence on foreign oil after the 1973 OPEC embargo. Again, the 1973 oil crisis didn't affect our area. My 1965 K-code Mustang and I never had to wait in line at a gas station, despite the chaos in Los Angeles. We never bothered with odd-even days. And there was never a problem during the 1978 oil crisis either. I was handling PR for a company that depended on tourism, and in every news release I mentioned that the city had plenty of gas during that time. These memories are the primary reason I believe the oil companies can manipulate a shortage to their benefit and still do.

Now I'm getting off the subject. Anyway, Yanek Mieczkowski has authored a book about Gerald Ford and in a recent memorial admires his energy foresight that extended to alternative fuel and conservation. He also notes Ford was behind launching CAFE and labeling of electrical appliances so consumers could make better choices. Basically, because President Ford was more of a statesman and not a politician, he had a long-term view of policies, not a short-term grasp of what will get him elected.

[Source: Yanek Mieczkowski / Newsday]

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