Should we thank drivers for stopping and not killing us at pedestrian crossings?

Thank You
via Twitter

This photo of a sign in Miami, Florida was making the rounds of Twitter last week, thanks to the MiamiUrbanist. Most readers are appalled at the last line, "Thank the driver" for actually stopping and obeying the law. But the story behind this sign makes it even worse.

The sign is from The Stop Experts, a company that makes big electric warning signs for cars approaching pedestrian crossings. And I mean BIG. They have to be; R. D. Jones, who invented and sells the things, writes on his website:

Everybody, while driving now, is either on their cell phone, reading the paper, listening to satellite stereo systems with surround sound, yelling at the kids, putting on makeup, looking at the GPS system, watching a DVD, or just plain not paying attention to the roadway - because they’re ‘relaxing’ or in a big hurry to get to their next destination.

Now these are big, expensive signs, with lights, electronics and often even with solar power. And when you look at the examples, they are often installed on dinky little residential streets. You have to wonder why such fancy things are needed. But as R. D. continues,

We can all relate to at least one of the above. Our world is fast paced, and we’re always late. It’s my belief that the motorists are just not paying attention to our nation’s roadway signage anymore due to the comfortable environment they’re in. I also believe that we can almost all agree that our nation’s roadway signs are clear and concise in their meaning and message - but they’re losing their impact when they are up against the cell phone usage of today's drivers.

patent drawingR D Jones/Public Domain

So instead, communities have to use tax dollars, a couple of grand each time probably, to put big honking electric signs with wireless controls on traffic guards to tell drivers to do what they are legally obligated to do, which is keep their eyes on the road and not run over pedestrians. Somehow I don't think they have their priorities right. We shouldn't have to rely on R. D. Jones' invention to keep us safe. It's totally bizarre.

And we shouldn't have to thank the driver for not killing us.

Should we thank drivers for stopping and not killing us at pedestrian crossings?
A little politeness in modern society is a good thing, but this sends totally the wrong message.

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