Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.
Anyone else get a dirty thrill from gently speeding past one of those electronic signs that tell you how fast your car is going? Break the speed limit by even one mile per hour and something cool/guilt-inducing happens, like the numbers turning red or the words SLOW DOWN appearing. Racing past one is like antagonizing C3PO.
That said, you really ought not defy the similar displays that'll be in front of Esperanza High School in Anaheim starting at 12:30 p.m. today. In an effort to capitalize on Oprah's "No Phone Zone" campaign
against driving-while-blabbering-and-texting (a campaign we'll admit we didn't know existed), Fortel Traffic
--manufacturer of the before-mentioned electronic anti-speed demons--will be demonstrating how their devices can be used to discourage phone use behind the wheel.
How will they do it? By making their signs display a no-phone logo for each and every passing car. "The technology to sense whether someone's using a phone is available," says Theresa Maloney, "But we haven't gone there yet."
The idea is to remind people that talking or texting on their cell-phone handset while driving increases the likelihood of getting into an accident. Why not just use regular, static road signs? Dumb question: Everyone knows blinking-light, semi-robots are more persuasive.
Maloney says local officials, including Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, will be at the demonstration. (Update 4:29 p.m.: A representative of the city of Anaheim tells us that Pringle never planned on attending).
"At the end of the day it's really about safety," she says. "We chose the high school because teenagers are always, always on their phones." And also, we imagine, because they're so good at following directions.