For those regularly riding the public streets of Salt Lake, a recent news story worth noting:
County in Utah on the Cutting Edge of Communication
By LARRY THUNK (Reuters)
SALT LAKE CITY, Ut. — After being in force for only a few weeks, Salt Lake County's new ordinance, mandating cell phone use while driving any motorized vehicle inside county boundaries, is having a definite impact.
Teenage driver Melissa Bliss - 18 - is, well, blissful. "I was on my phone all the time, really, every waking minute - so I am having absolutely no problems in any way. Spending time in the car is so boring," she adds. "There's hours and hours when there's nothing happening, really. So much better to get to talk, you know, while the world and everything goes by."
A contrarian point of view comes from Ruth Troutslap - 57 - who previously avoided using her cell phone while her car was in motion. "I guess I understand why the County is doing this ... to make people seem busier and more engaged. But it's been costing me some money."
She sees the fact that she has already received five citations at the intersection of Ninth East and Van Winkle as more than just coincidence. "Those motorcycle cops wait for me there," she declares. "I go through on my way to work, about the same time every day, and - if I haven't remembered to put my cell phone to my ear - they pull me over right away. I'm a sitting duck."
Will she appeal the citations? "What's to appeal?" she responds. "I'm supposed to be using my phone, and I wasn't. That's all there is to it."
Although the ordinance specifies that all drivers be on a "live call" while in motion, sometimes it is just the letter of the law which is observed.
Construction foreman Hatchet Roach - 41 - admits: "Even before the County started this, I would ride around in the truck with a phone to my ear - even if I wasn't on a call. Being in construction, you like to look busy. Driving around without the phone open, the other guys in their trucks think you're jacking off or something. It's good to look harrassed and overbooked - like you're a man on a mission. Know what I mean?"
Citizens of the County who have a limited social circle are encouraged to visit the County's web site, to register for the free Drive and Drawl Campaign - which was introduced as part of the new ordinance. This effort matches compatible strangers, to increase the pool of potential callers for motorists who have an inadequate number of acquaintances.
And it's not even April yet.