Saturday, August 2, 2008

Civilizing Cells Bells

While the Galena Summit anti-cell-tower crowd may have a legitimate complaint about the potentially dreadful manners of drivers who might blab on the phone, while distractedly driving over Galena’s slippy slope, when taken in context with the multitude of benefits that a lifesaving tower could provide, they have blown this argument out of proportion.

As with most tools, we can use cell phones for a mix of good and bad purposes. Parents can call to check on their children during extended voyages, to remind them how tenderly they care about them, whereas somebody barreling in the opposite direction might be verbally abusing a victim at the end of their line.

If we become receptive to a Galena cell tower, it will then become drivers choices to use their potentially lifesaving phones in responsible ways - just as in ranges where cell phones already work. Travelers will have the option to ignore their phones if they ring on dangerous curves, or even turn them off, until there is a real emergency.

We can utilize cell phones as lifesaving tools, even on dangerous icy roads. I have worked an abundance of nighttime delivery jobs, where we would sometimes fight the sleepies, driving on mostly barren roads into the wee hours, without much stimulation besides a scratchy AM radio. Soon, my co-workers and I discovered that by simply calling each other to check in and converse for a few minutes, over our hands-free sets, that is was usually stimulating enough, to help keep us safely awake for the remainder of the night.

While some tower-naysayers claim that life-threatening incidents around Galena are exceptionally minimal, readers need simply Google Galena Idaho Crash to discover hundreds of harsh scenarios, which would have likely ended with outcomes that were more fortuitous, had not this zero-reception-bar area, been crippled by non-coverage.

One member of the anti-tower throng claims that if there is an incident, then it’s only ten minutes to the Smiley Creek phones. That zippy statement is shortsighted, as it does not consider one-car rollovers, Forest fires raging over both lanes, head on crashes or avalanches that block both lanes and renders vehicles (and drivers) inoperable, and a dozen of other unfortunate circumstances, “that nobody could have ever foreseen.

When our miracle technology, better blankets the SNRA’s beautiful woodlands, will drivers use their phones responsibly? Perhaps some will not. It’s easy to envision a few who will pay less than full attention on hairpin turns, while stupidly yammering away on cell phones. Often these types are the same oblivious individuals who, while steering with one finger, might munch on a slippery pickle sandwich, sip a cold pop, apply an emergency splotch of eye shadow, or blast the radio too loud to hear an ambulance coming.

How people decide to use or misuse, the great gift that the Campbell’s and Idaho Tower are trying to provide, is a mostly separate issue, from the tower itself. If we discover that people senselessly chattering away while driving, has become an Idaho epidemic, than we should follow other states lead, and mandate hands-free use for travelers in motion. Meanwhile we Idahoans should be more thankful for the potential of this far-reaching miracle technology and for the great mixture of people who make it possible.

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