St. Francis of Assisi would like the cellphone laws prohibiting the use of handsets while driving, I expect. I commute on rural roads, freeways, and city streets. It’s not uncommon for me to see deer, raccoons, squirrels, and the occasional dog or cat, alongside the road. It’s a joy to watch a family of deer grazing by the roadside. This week it was a treat to see a mother duck and her half-grown brood of ducklings huddled in formation, as they waddled down the shoulder of the road. The sight of these wild animals are the highlight of my commute, but their movements are unpredictable, and occasionally they’ll decide to cross. If I’m not following the car ahead too closely, I have room to brake and let them go their way. When my attention is on the road, aware of the surroundings, these creatures are easily spotted, and can be taken into account. But when the animals are moving too quickly, or when I’m distracted, the results are devastating, to the animals, and to those of us who have felt that heart-wrenching thud, or see the bodies left behind.
I know that folks talk about the human lives that will be saved by these new laws, but I’m hoping for another result. Is it just coincidence that I see less roadkill in the part of my commute that doesn’t have cellphone coverage? Perhaps. But I am happy about the new laws, and believe that St. Francis is rejoicing with me.