Driven to Distraction

Driven to Distraction

David Burton 2008

campaign signs

Here in Massachusetts, there has been activity at the state house to prohibit signs on overpasses above major highways that welcome home returning servicemen from Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not sure of the motivation for this effort. Maybe it's to a political issue (for or against the wars in the mid-east) or an aesthetic issue, or maybe it's to remove distractions that can lead to traffic accidents. If the reason is the latter, then I think those concerned with these signs are barking up the wrong tree.

For me, signs on overpasses are no more distracting than any roadside sign. If the politicians want to eliminate overpass signs to remove distractions, then they had better consider eliminating all roadside advertising, all traffic signs, all signs providing directions, etc.

What distracts me when I am driving is someone waving a sign at the side of the road, at a major intersection or on an interstate overpass in order to deliberately get my attentions. Who, you may ask, would do something so stupid? Such irresponsible actions could cause a major traffic accident leading to significant property damage, serious injuries and even to the deaths of motorists and pedestrians.

The persons who are dumb enough to take such dangerous actions are people waving political campaign signs around the times of local, state and federal elections. Such activities should be banned nationwide. We debate the issue of prohibiting cell phones and text messaging in moving vehicles because they cause distractions to drivers. I don't text message while driving and I use my cell phone in a moving vehicle as sparingly as possible because I want to focus on my driving. I don't need to have a distracting campaign sign waved in my face as I drive by a street corner or under an overpass.

Rather than trying to specify and outlaw each and every activity that causes a distraction to automobile drivers, maybe the law(s) should be written that simply say that any action that distracts a driver is illegal and punishable by law. That ought to cover campaign signs waving in the breeze, reading the morning paper while driving to work or putting on makeup while heading out on a date.

  3 April 2008 {Article 37; Whatever_08}    
Go back to the top of the page