January 31, 2020 we had our first meeting at the MDT office and Kalispell. We had 31 in attendance at the site and more than double that remotely. We decided we were going to take the problem on in multiple areas:
- clearer laws with stiffer penalties
To date we have written and submitted three proposed legal changes for representatives to start through the grueling process of changing the legal parts. We have done multiple radio and television spots reminding drivers that flashing yellow means slow and proceed with caution flashing red means stop. We have designed and purchased bumper stickers, decals and a billboard banner. These will have to answer for the signage as the MDT has federal mandated guidelines for signs along the highway and in the right of way.
We are in the fourth printing of the bumper stickers and have gotten the Hertz car rentals in the area to put the decals on the instrument panels in their vehicles. We applied for and received a grant to start a pilot program of installing extended arms on buses. We hope to see the extended arms on all the buses in the future, the billboard/banner on all main roads into Flathead and Lincoln Counties. This we will do, but we want to make this a goal across the state and even the nation. My wife and I are disabled and live on Social Security, so spending in excess of $100 a month on bumper stickers is the best we can do. We ask you to help us achieve our goal make the extended arms on all buses a requirement. When legislation comes up, remember that when the current laws were written the traffic numbers were significantly lower as were the number of violations. Wow, we have Fair week traffic all the time. More distractions and faster cars with everyone in a hurry. Safely crossing or even being on the pavement is is risk of life and limb.
We hope to see in the future laws to come, elements of education because violating such basic rules as running bus lights and crosswalks is a failing grade and remedial training is the very least we should expect. Help clear up and define the rules of the road. Lastly, we need to make getting a ticket for violating these basic rules a life-changing experience:
- time out in the form of 24 hours in detention
- fingerprinting and mugshots
- instead of fines
- community service as a crosswalk guard or a bus safety guard