We’re changing drivers at the Road Warrior blog.

After nearly three years of writing the column — and 29 years at The Press Democrat — I’m retiring on Monday and Linda Castrone, editor of The Press Democrat’s Towns section, will take over Tuesday. She’ll do an excellent job.

The column has grown tremendously since it debuted April 22, 2010, with more than 1,000 columns, a total of 3 million page views and more than 7,400 published comments from readers.

I owe a great deal of thanks to readers who have written in with suggestions for topics and questions and with thoughtful and insightful comments.

And I deeply appreciate local and state officials who regularly took the time to answer questions and provide information for the Road Warrior, especially Phil Frisbie Jr. of Caltrans, CHP Officer Jon Sloat, Christine Gentry of the Sonoma County courts, Sgt. Ken Savano of the Petaluma police, Sgt. Rich Celli of the Santa Rosa police, Chris Cochran of the state Office of Traffic Safety and Tom O’Kane and Rob Silva of the Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works.

I leave with a few requests:

–If you have to use your cellphone while driving, at least go hands-free. Frequently the driver I encounter who’s having trouble maintaining speed or staying in his/her lane is holding a cellphone. And that’s just plain dangerous.

–Shorten carpool-lane hours. The current hours of 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Highway 101 in Sonoma County often leave the carpool lane wide open and the other two lanes jammed. 7 to 8:30 and 3:30 to 6:30 make much more sense. Caltrans sets the hours but with input from local officials, and it’s time for local officials to step up.

–Give other drivers a break. For example, too many drivers just won’t make it easy for others to merge on to 101. This isn’t L.A., New York or Washington, D.C.

–Be nice to bicyclists; give them room when passing. And bicyclists, please stay alert for approaching drivers and move over.

–Don’t drink and drive. I have no sympathy for those arrested for drunken driving, and I support local police who go after these drivers, whether at checkpoints or roving patrols.

It’s been a great ride. Thanks.

Jim Fremgen


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  1. Kathy

    Congratulations! Enjoy your retirement. I’ve appreciated your blog, thank you, and glad to hear it will continue with another “driver.”

    March 3rd, 2013 7:46 pm

  2. Tomas

    Enjoy the good life!

    March 3rd, 2013 8:52 pm

  3. Tim

    Have always enjoyed your blog Jim.Congrats on retirement.Took the plunge myself two months ago.It is truly satisfying Enjoy your new endeavors.

    March 3rd, 2013 9:06 pm

  4. Karen van Boemel

    This blog has been the most reliably informative part of the paper/website. Ms. Castrone has big shoes to fill! Can’t begrudge the retirement however – it’s a great thing to do: enjoy!!

    March 3rd, 2013 9:38 pm

  5. LeeRoy

    Thanks for all you have done for us.
    Linda, big shoes to fill but I’m sure you will follow thru.

    March 3rd, 2013 9:55 pm

  6. DaveR

    Thanks Jim.

    March 3rd, 2013 10:15 pm

  7. Rex Faktor

    Driving off into the sunset…thanks, Jim…the roads ain’t gettin no better anytime soon…

    March 3rd, 2013 10:22 pm

  8. Megan

    I have very much enjoyed reading your blogs, and feel you have provided a real service to readers. Enjoy your well earned retirement!

    March 3rd, 2013 10:44 pm

  9. Ole Kern

    Thank you, Jim. I’ve appreciated your prompt responses.

    March 3rd, 2013 11:43 pm

  10. Safedriver

    Sorry to see you go, Jim, but I understand wanting to retire. You did a great job and kept it balanced, even when I did rant a few times. lol.
    I think it’s great that So. Co. drivers have had a voice here and I hope it continues for a long time to come.


    March 4th, 2013 1:32 am

  11. judi goldberg

    what a great ride indeed! happy trails. and what a great way to have given voice to the roads we travel and how we travel them, trust you will keep on writing and hope we get to read some of it from time to time

    March 4th, 2013 6:41 am

  12. April

    Thanks for providing such a well-written and informative blog. I read it all the time. Enjoy your new life!

    March 4th, 2013 6:58 am

  13. Jimonious

    I’m definitely going to miss the original Road Warrior. It’s been absolutely fascinating and I continued to follow even after I moved away from the Sonoma County Area. We are really lucky that someone at the PD decided to spend the time to bring this info to the public, its an example of journalism for the people.

    Enjoy your retirement Road Warrior, it wont be the same without you!

    March 4th, 2013 7:05 am

  14. smurf

    Thanks for all of your hard work! Enjoy your retirement! :)

    March 4th, 2013 8:13 am


    Thank you!

    March 4th, 2013 8:23 am

  16. none

    Congrats and thanks for all you’ve done.

    March 4th, 2013 8:55 am

  17. Dar

    Thanks Jim! Congrats!!

    March 4th, 2013 9:05 am


    Jim, people bob and weave whilst on cellphones because they’re stressing—–a couple of beers first makes you more relaxed so you can stay in your lane and not weave while on the cellphone.
    Not funny—–DUI is a no-brainer, toss-em-in-jail. Don’t let me catch you cruising down the highway with a beer in one hand and cellphone in the other. Even if you’re enjoying retirement. Great column.

    March 4th, 2013 9:59 am

  19. Paui I

    Great information over the years. Reminds me of growing up in a house full of SFPD that would recount the laws and the angles..more on the angles would be nice. Like being able to park in a Fire Lane or in front of a hydrant if you are still in the car…

    March 4th, 2013 10:11 am

  20. Brian

    You will be missed Jim – you’ve always been prompt to my questions and honestly, this is the only interaction I have with the Press. Thanks for all you have done with this blog & good luck in retirement!

    March 4th, 2013 10:11 am

  21. devildog

    I, too, followed the Road Warrior after I moved away from Sonoma County. This blog gave people in Sonoma County a voice in what they wanted to see change and an insight on what was going on with the mundane roads they drive every day. I often catch myself driving and thinking if something is illegal to do while driving and often I can quote the Road Warrior blog and I know if it is or not! Something I never did until this blog started.

    I hope you get a huge bonus for doing this blog and how successful it’s been! Enjoy retirement I know you deserve it!

    March 4th, 2013 1:25 pm

  22. Boy-1

    This blog is the best part of the Press Democrat. Jim has done an excellent job developing the blog into what it has become and I will miss his journalism. Go road warrior!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 4th, 2013 3:19 pm

  23. Road.Warrior

    I appreciate the encouragement LeeRoy. I’m going to enjoy myself.

    March 4th, 2013 3:56 pm

  24. Brooke Clyde

    Congrats and thanks. I especially appreciate the sentiment that we all just give each other a break …

    March 4th, 2013 4:32 pm

  25. Jake Marble

    Thanks for the great job. Enjoy your retirement.

    Especially thank you for the comment on drunk drivers. I have no sympathy as well…..

    March 4th, 2013 5:10 pm

  26. Oski

    Great, informative column. We’ll miss you, but you EARNED it! Enjoy…..Oski

    March 4th, 2013 6:54 pm

  27. Matthew S

    Dear Jim,
    We’ve never met (maybe now we will?) I’ve appreciated your column ever since I began instructing Traffic Violators School. Your insight/interviews/Q&Q with many of the people you’ve thanked are a part of my curriculum. Teach Local – as in use local examples.

    Thanks for all of your hard work & dedication. You’ve got my email somewhere in your Inbox. Hang onto it….and if you’re ever looking for a few laughs – look me up and drop into a class.

    All the best in retirement and the next stage of your life!


    March 5th, 2013 12:18 am

  28. Phil Frisbie, Jr.


    It was always a pleasure to answer your questions, and I am honored to be mentioned in your final post.

    Phil Frisbie, Jr.

    March 7th, 2013 12:55 pm

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