Ross: New road safety campaign doesn’t go flocking far enough

Jul 14, 2022, 6:35 AM

(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)...

(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

As KIRO Newsradio traffic reporter Chris Sullivan reported yesterday, The Seattle and Portland Transportation departments have kicked off a campaign to persuade drivers to slow down on city streets.

And they don’t want to come across as all heavy-handed and authoritarian so the motto they adopted is “Slow The Flock Down” as a way to get through to the expletive-obsessed millennial generation.

The new logo goes all-in on this little pun, featuring a flock of yellow birds flying past a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit sign. (Since they’re using birds, I’m surprised no one suggested “Slow the Cluck Down.”)

Anyway, I know the idea is to educate, not punish – but I just don’t think the lighthearted approach is going to work.

It certainly doesn’t work on the freeways, where I still see drivers trying to achieve escape velocity.

If $6 gas doesn’t lighten the American foot, sanitized swear words probably won’t either.

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And if you can’t get drivers to stay below 65 how do expect to keep them below 25? Speed bumps every ten feet?

I’ve told the story before – all it took for me was a $200 photo ticket for going 5 miles over in a school zone – and now when I see the words “School Zone” I go so slow the other drivers probably wonder why I don’t just get out and push the car to the next block. But the magical part is: since everybody else also wants to avoid that fine, there is no one riding my tail. I think they’re actually grateful.

Punishment works by putting everyone on the same side.

I realize you can’t expect the city to spend money on thousands of speed cameras.

But I’ll bet you could crowd-source it. I live near a school with a number of young males eager to see how fast daddy’s car can go when 3:00 rolls around. I’d go on Amazon right now and buy my own certified, police-approved speed cam if such a thing existed. Can’t find one.

But imagine – if anybody could set up a hidden speed cam that shows the driver, the license plate, and their speed, and uploads it to a city website in real-time.

Oh, the shame! And if shame doesn’t work – then after three public postings, an automatic $200 fine.

I know a lot of you are saying “Dave, what the flock?” But if the goal here is zero injuries – I say no more clucking around.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Ross: New road safety campaign doesn’t go flocking far enough