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  • Driving while Spanish nets trucker $500 fine

Comments Jul 21, 2008 5:29 am

It's truly horrendous. In the EU a Spanish truck driver who speaks no French or English will drive oranges from Valencia to Manchester with no problem. German truck drivers rarely speak French and the reverse is true but they still go from one country to the other regularly.


Everything to do with jingoistic nationalism and nothing to do with road safety.

Reply to at 5:29 am Jul 29, 2008 11:36 am the EU, there are standardized road signs that are readable without language knowledge, whereas the USA has many signs that require reading in English ("Road Closed",  "All trucks commercial vehicles next right", "road narrows", "right lane ends")

(see )

So at least part of the problem is not CARING about the needs of people speaking other languages rather than activive jingoism.

That does not mean I am not appalled.  $500 is a large fine to be arbitrarily inflicted.

Reply to at 11:36 am Aug 27, 2008 6:10 pm

If this was such a big deal, then the cab drivers like in NYC would be POOR!  This is typical of our authorities to bully people instead of using both common sense and decency.  I will investigate how many tickets are issued to other ethinicities besides hispanic.  I will post my results later.  If I were this guy, I would fight the ticket in court in........ENGLISH!!!   One last inportant piece of info I would like to get is what was it that made the officer feel convinced that this guy didn't know sufficient English?

Reply to at 6:10 pm Jan 10, 2009 10:38 pm

Exactly (post of 4 Sept). When I moved from northern California to North Carolina in the late 1980s, I had occassions on which I could not understand the locals. During the first week of my relocation, I asked a North Carolinean to repeat what she had said 7 (that's right, seven) times, and still unable to catch it, I was too embarrassed to ask again. Some months later, I met my landlord in the yard of our duplex; she told me she'd seen me in the garage the previous day. I was confused, since I had no key to the garage.... Only when she mentioned "Winn-Dixie" did it dawn on me that she hadn't said "garage," she'd said "grocery." So here's the question: how is it that I heard a two-syllable word when she had enunciated a (supposedly) three-syllable word?

And that's me - as you probably can tell from this post, I'm a native speaker of English.  I can imagine the incomprehension of a non-native speaker when confronted by a thick Alabama accent. The cop should be asked to dictate a short paragraph to a panel of native speakers located in California and (say) Ohio, and if there's not perfect comprehension among them, the fine should be refunded.

Reply to at 10:38 pm