Gary Constans considers himself a careful driver. “I don’t drink. I don’t smoke,” said the 59-year-old resident of Prairie, Minnesota. “I’m just different.”
But the Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed. This week, after nine warnings, Constans lost his license for driving too slowly on two-lane highways, according to the Pioneer Press. “Constans has repeatedly disregarded warnings from law enforcement officers that his driving creates dangerous driving conditions for everyone on these two-lane roads,” the court ruled. “[He] knows the rules of the road, but he chooses to ignore them, despite increased risk to the public.”
Minnesota state law states that no person “shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.”
According to Constans—a U.S. Postal Serviceman-turned-disc jockey—he usually “runs into trouble” while driving home from DJing weddings late at night on weekends. He claimed that he drives slowly for economic and green reasons. “I do all those gas-saving techniques that aren’t against the law,” he said. “It sends a red flag to these people who call the cops and say, ‘This guy’s a nut.’”
Constans told a lower court judge that 48 mph is his Ford Ranger pickup truck’s “sweet spot” for gas mileage.
He added that he also exercises caution to avoid hitting animals. “With a truck like that, it isn’t worth anything,” he said. (He bought the truck in 2000 and has driven it 278,000 miles.) “So if I hit a critter, guess who’s buying the truck? I am. I go really, really slow so I have time to brake.”
But several witnesses have reported that Constans tends to drive erratically. In 2008, Constans was stopped after reportedly swerving over the centerline. And in May 2011, a policeman pulled Constans over for reckless driving at a “very low speed” on the Minnesota 7. The police officer followed Cosntancs home after speaking with him, and saw that Constans continued to drive 30 to 45 mph on a 55 mph limit road.
“The officer again pulled Constans over and explained that he could not drive that slowly because it was unsafe for other motorists and he could potentially cause an accident,” the court opinion said. “The officer drove Constans the rest of the way home and noted that it ‘didn’t seem like (he) understood’ safe driving conduct.”
Constans was caught driving 40 mph on the highway with all four tires over the fog line in June 2012, and his license was revoked the next month.
“It’s total communism,” he told the Pioneer Press. “There’s no freedom anymore.”
Constans has vowed to fight to get his license back. The court said he will have to acquire letters from doctors certifying him as a safe driver. “I just thank the Lord I’m retired from all my jobs, and I think the Lord, I don’t have a wife,” he said. “Because could you see her yelling at me?”