August 2, 2023

Just My Opinion - by Mary Kilen

Buckle Up, It’s The Law
The last couple of weeks have been full of news stories about the changes to North Dakota traffic laws, specifically about the new laws regarding seatbelt usage.
Last week, Chief of Police Kevin Litten submitted the following as an explanation of the changes.
“As a Vision Zero partner, Stanley Police Department strongly believes in the importance of seat belt use and is a supporter of the seat belt law moving from a secondary to primary law this summer.
The upcoming change to North Dakota’s seat belt law is a positive change in legislation. Beginning August 1, 2023, the seat belt law becomes a primary enforcement, meaning no other violation is required for a driver to be pulled over by law enforcement and issued a seat belt citation. The law will also require all occupants to wear a seat belt, regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle.
Seat belts save lives. The number one factor in motor vehicle crash deaths in North Dakota is not wearing a seat belt. Preliminary data from the North Dakota Department of Transportation Highway Safety Division for 2022 shows that 69 percent of crash fatalities were unbelted where seat belts were present in the vehicle. That’s a staggering statistic, and one we can lower if everyone buckles up, every seat, every trip, every time.
The goal of zero fatalities on North Dakota roadways is not only attainable, but also vital. When it comes to your life, or the lives of your family and friends, is any other number acceptable? We’re aiming for zero fatalities because every life matters.
The primary seat belt law gets us closer to our goal.”
I will admit that I am one of those people that rarely wears a seatbelt in town. I always put it on when we are on the highway and the same is true when I’m in other bigger cities.
In Stanley, though, it seems like most of my trips are from the house to the office or back, from the office to the post office or back, or some other short jaunt. I don’t think about putting on my seatbelt.
Having had the grandkids here the last couple of weeks, I’ve been better about putting my seatbelt on because the kids are always wearing theirs. I’m hoping that practice will make it easier for me as the law changes on Tuesday. I’m trying really hard. I hope that the rest of you are trying as well. I know it is going to take me some brain retraining. Hopefully it won’t take too long, or I’ll be one of those people getting the ticket.

A Busy Few Days For The Fire Department
The fire siren has been going off much more frequently lately. That means busy times for Stanley’s volunteer fire department. I saw this one of Facebook this weekend and really felt like it was a good one to share this week.
Public Service Announcement - BLUE LIGHTS /BLUE AND WHITE LIGHTS on Vehicles
Have you ever seen someone driving behind you with a blue or blue/white flashing light? What does that blue or blue/white light mean?
In North Dakota, flashing blue or blue/white lights displayed (with no red flashing lights) on a vehicle indicates a volunteer firefighter is responding to a 911 call in their personal vehicle. They are responding to their firehouse, or to the scene to provide the manpower needed for the emergency.
If you see a passenger car with a flashing blue or blue/white light, please consider treating it like any other emergency vehicle; we (your community volunteers) are requesting the right of way - this is a courtesy light. When it is safe to do so, please pull over to the right and come to a complete stop, so that we may travel safely past.
Many people don’t realize what these flashing blue or blue/white lights are for.  Every second counts. Help us help you. You never know, we could be responding to an emergency for a friend,  or one of your loved ones.
Also on Facebook, I saw someone asking about the sirens going off. They were concerned because they did not understand what it meant when they go off. For those of us that have called Stanley home for a long time, we know what they mean. New people in town might not. So just a reminder:
The sirens go off once at noon and 6 p.m. When Amanda was growing up, that was a handy reminder for her to know it was time to head home from wherever she might be. The park used to have a mass clearing each day during the summer when that siren went off.
A repeating siren means there is a fire call. While the firemen have pagers, sometimes it might not be close by, so the siren serves as a notification of the call. For the most part, though, that siren also serves as a notification for the rest of us to watch for the firemen headed to the fire hall and for the trucks to be making their way from the fire hall to wherever the call may be.
The Facebook poster was concerned that what they were hearing was a tornado siren. In Stanley, that notification comes in the form of a long, protracted single siren blast.