Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Cardboard cutouts of kids? You kiddin’ me?

We see stories like this one all the time. People in neighborhoods, cities, heck, even on highways who are tired of speeding traffic take matters into their own hands to slow things down.

Usually, the Land Line crew finds more humor than ingenuity in their tactics. Take for example a case a while back where an individual hired scantily clad men and women to stand alongside the roadside holding signs encouraging motorists to drive with care. Talk about distracted driving!

But, the most recent efforts were far more worrisome to me than funny. Click here to read the report.

I fully appreciate being worried about traffic speeds on residential streets where children live and play. I live that life every day. I’ll even acknowledge that this tactic will be effective – for a little bit.

The problem is that he’s dismissing human nature.

Speed trap scams only work for a time. Eventually motorists wise up to the farce and proceed as usual – maybe even a little faster in retaliation. I used to live near a Podunk speed trap town in Oklahoma. When the one cop was off duty, he would park his cruiser along the side of the highway with a dummy in it to slow people down. Didn’t take long for everyone to figure out his work schedule and know when his stand-in was watching the roadways.

Back to the newest tactic – cardboard cutouts of children. That scares me.

No sooner will motorists wise up to the situation and begin ignoring the cutouts, will a real, live child dart into the road chasing a ball or a dog. While his concern and attempt at a creative solution can be commended to an extent, common sense has to kick in. He has to realize that he may very well be creating a deadly scenario right before his own eyes.

The cardboard cutouts aren’t an all-bad idea. Desensitizing motorists to children playing alongside a road is just bad form. He needs to stick with one of Barney Fife holding a radar or maybe even hire the scantily clad crew.

Let’s hope this obvious reality is pointed out before it’s too late.