First of many no-texting signs unveiled in St. George

The anti-text/distracted driver sign on Dixie Drive. The first of many new signs bound for St. George streets, St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The first of many new street signs warning drivers of distracted driving was unveiled on Dixie Drive at the former site of a fatal accident.

This sign is placed in memory of David Henson,” a smaller sign reads underneath the large one with a phone crossed out inside a big red circle. David Henson, and his wife, Leslee Henson, were involved in an accident on Dixie Drive on March 4 that killed David and left his wife severely injured. Since then, Leslie Henson and her family have made public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving a crusade throughout the state.

Leslee Hensen (left) and her daughter Haley Warner (right), St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Leslee Hensen (left) and her daughter Haley Warner (right), St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Our ultimate goal is to make Utah a hand’s free state,” Leslee Henson said during a brief unveiling of the anti-texting sign hosted by St. George officials.

A small crowd of family and friends attended the unveiling. Mayor Dan McArthur and the St. George City Council were also at the event, as were St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton and other members of the police department.

Everyone one of us has been distracted in driving,” McArthur said, whether it was by putting on makeup, a tie, eating, texting, or just using the phone in general, everyone has been distracted at one point or another, and it needs to stop.

We feel like it’s such an important topic right now,” Leslee Henson said. “We want to make this city and every city in Utah a safer place to live.”

Stratton said the sign, which will be put up everywhere the city feels there is a need, is only one part of what the police hope to do about distracted drivers.

Along with stricter enforcement around town, Stratton said public awareness is a big goal. He said he would rather see people choose to drive safer rather than be issued a ticket because they somehow think they are immune to the possibility of an accident.

A reef laid at the site of the March 4 crash that claimed the life of David Henson, St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A wreath laid at the site of the March 4 crash that claimed the life of David Henson, St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Just because people see an accident in the paper and it doesn’t directly affect them, people tend to think it doesn’t apply to them, Stratton said.

People need to step back and realize: “Because of me using my phone I am endangering other people,” Stratton said.

I hope for their sakes they don’t have an accident because it can really change their lives and someone else’s,” Leslee Henson said.

She said being back at the spot where the accident occurred was “a little tough because it brings back memories,” but that it was also good. She was grateful to the City of St. George and its Police Department for supporting the idea of the signs and helping to move the “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks” campaign forward in the city.

Leslee Henson and her daughter, Haley Warner, approached the St. George City Council on June 20 to ask the city to post the signs around town. The council was unanimously in favor of the idea.

St. George now joins Ivins, Santa Clara and various high school parking lots in posting the anti-texting signs. Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson also indicated a strong interest in having the signs in his city.

Distracted driving and child safety will be the focus of an upcoming Community Action Team meeting to be held at the Dixie Center at 6 p.m., Tuesday, August 5. Leslee Henson and Warner, will be sharing a presentation on the matter.

Left to right: Sgt. Sam Despain, Capt. Rich Farnsworth, Leslee Henson, Chief Marlon Stratton, Mayor Dan McArthur, St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Left to right: Sgt. Sam Despain, Capt. Rich Farnsworth, Leslee Henson, Chief Marlon Stratton, Mayor Dan McArthur, St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com
Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

The anti-text/distracted driver sign on Dixie Drive. The first of many new signs bound for St. George streets, St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The anti-text/distracted driver sign on Dixie Drive. The first of many new signs bound for St. George streets, St. George, Utah, July 25, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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6 Comments

  • Dr Andrew White July 26, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Is it still a 2° offence? If so police cannot enforce it until the driver commits a 1° offence.

  • Big Bob July 26, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Now hopefully the signs themselves aren’t a distraction..

    • Dale July 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Bob, as far as I can tell, the only signs drivers are reading on Dixie Drive are the 55 mph signs.

  • Rickine July 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I pray for you and your family every day on my way to work.. I am so sorry for your loss

  • JOSH DALTON August 7, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Anybody who text….should be punished on the same level as somebody who gets a DUI. Atleast I was looking at the road when I got a DUI. I learned and now I don’t drive drunk anymore. Well i don’t drive with a BAC. of 0.09 anymore. I also don’t text anymore….I don’t even have a cell phone anymore. I was once considered “The Phone Whisperer.” Now I feel that texting has taken away from interpersonel relationships, nobody talks face to face anymore. Nobody is on time anymore. Nobody can even lie to my face anymore its via text. IF YOU DRIVE AND TEXT YOU SHOUD HAVE YOUR THUMBS REMOVED. GO FALCONS!!!!

  • J November 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Texting and driving – Fact vs here say

    Yesterday my wife was driving over to the grocery store when her phone rang and so she naturally picked it up, glanced for a minute and then handed it to her daughter to text a person she was meeting at that grocery store to buy something from an online sales site. My wife then went into the store and after about 30-45 minutes she leaves ad goes to her car where a St. George police officer is waiting for her on a bicycle. He asks to talk to her and see her license and registration and states that another motorist saw her “texting while driving” She explained to the officer in a written statement that she handed the phone to her daughter. The officer then received the same exact witness statement from our daughter yet the police officer wrote her a citation for texting while driving and said the other motorist is willing to testify in court.

    Is this a violation of a persons rights?

    Here is an excerpt from STG News……

    “It is against Utah law to text while driving, but in order to enforce that law an officer has to see the driver actually texting,” St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton said. “If the driver is making a phone call or checking a GPS app for example, the law doesn’t apply. The texting while driving law is difficult to enforce.”

    While I do believe something gets to be done about texting and driving because it caused a terrible accident last year where a person was killed and his wife severely injured. My heart goes out to that family. I’ve seen many instances where accidents are caused from texting and there is a definite need for some regulations as people aren’t responsible while driving. My only concern with the situation my wife is in is where is the line drawn between violating a persons rights based on here say. A person can just say whatever they want and have their statement brought to court and possibly charge the person they saw with a crime and that seems to violate a persons constitutional rights. It is a waste of the courts time as well as all parties involved. There has to be substantial evidence to prove somebody guilty of a crime and according to the conduct of the St. George police department under what has transpired, anyone can say anything about anyone even if it isn’t true and get them in trouble with the law and possibly convict them of something they didn’t do. I say that this is a violation of somebody’s rights.

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