There must be a cosmic event ocurring in the area regarding cell phones. Two of my favorite bloggers commented about them and one of my friends was injured today by a driver who was talking on his cellphone. Unfortunately, in that case the driver smiled, waved and drove away leaving my injured friend stunned and wondering WTF. He’s banged up but he’ll be ok…This driver is still out there somewhere driving a beige Ford Taurus in North Fargo last seen heading East on 12th Avenue N.
Since The New Forty blogged about Oprah’s "No Phone Zone Campaign", I’ve been thinking about all the near misses I have experienced myself and the dangers of this activity. In a perfect world I would like to see the Fargo City Commissioners draft an ordinance creating a "No Phone Zone" in the school zones. This is NOT to pick on the kids who go to school. I think that it has come to a point of public safety. The public being the kids who walk to and from school everyday — regardless of whether or not they are with their parents.
I’ve been making a point of noticing how many people are on their phones in the morning during the time the kids are going to school. Couple this with the amount of speeding that happens on North Broadway and North University Drive — especially North University Drive — in the morning and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s only a matter of time before one of these speeding drivers; who happen to be talking on their cellphone, hit one of the kids. Add in the the California roll and gos at the stop signs (right turners) who don’t watch for pedestrians and the liklihood of an accident increases.
Fargo has the opportunity to be proactive in the situation instead of reactive. The fine should be hefty — $500 for a first offense – a moving violation. Spring is here and we have a lot of kids starting to ride their bikes to school and more kids are walking. Albeit the ordinance would only protect them in the school zones; it’s better than nothing. A little prevention could go a long ways.
Speaking of school zones, the intersection at North University Drive and 19th Avenue should be made into a school zone of some kind since we have kids from Fargo North attending classes at the Skills and Technology Training Center. I don’t think that drivers on North University realize that there are kids going to and from school there. They drive like crazy people at 7:55 a.m. up there. Maybe even just place a patrol car up there to monitor traffic or better yet a motorcycle cop. Ok, maybe not the motorcycle cop, people speeding and talking on their cellphone probably wouldn’t notice them and then not only would we have an injured cop; but a pretty messed up Harley — both of which would be a travesty. SUV + speed + cellphone = disaster. No, a motorcycle cop probably wouldn’t be in the best interest of the officer.
Just telling people not to drive and talk / text is not enough. People will do it anyway. Give the police a law to enforce and then you have something to work with. As it is they really don’t have anything until after the fact.
Maybe I am alone in my thinking about this, but somehow, I doubt it.
Save a life: Put the Phone Down and Drive.